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Poll gives glimmer of hope to Democrats in midterm elections

One thing nearly all poll respondents agree on: Congress stinks.

(CN) — Democrats appear to have gotten a boost in the polls after the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, and that’s despite President Joe Biden’s continued low approval ratings.

According to a poll from Monmouth University released Wednesday, 38% of Americans want to see the Democratic Party in charge of Congress after the November midterms while 34% prefer Republican control. Of the undecideds, 12% lean toward Democratic control and 9% lean toward the GOP.

Moreover, 57% of survey participants believe it’s important to have their preferred party in control of Congress. “The congressional control importance metric is slightly higher among those who want Democrats (63%) than those who want Republicans (59%) leading Congress,” according to a statement accompanying the survey.

Monmouth’s August poll arrives amid a turbulent midterm election season where Biden’s approval rating inched up to 38% from 36% in June.

“It is kind of odd to see a president’s approval in the high thirties,” said Dr. Michael Bitzer, professor of political science at Catawba College. “But this party is pretty much dead-even, if not a little bit ahead, in the generic poll results. So that, to me, may be saying there may be a split between how Americans view the president and how they view his party controlling Congress.”

The split holds to midterm priorities as well. When it comes to voting for congressional leadership by policy agreement, Democrats were more likely to prioritize health care, abortion access, climate change and gun control. Republicans expressed interest in gun control, which jumped 10% in importance up from May, yet they were also more likely to prioritize immigration, economic issues and tax policy. And they hold more optimistic views about creating change through Congress.

According to the survey, those who support a Republican-led Congress are more likely to believe Congress can make substantial progress on the issues important to them. Only 28% of those who support Democrats believe retaining their party’s control will allow Congress to make substantial progress.

But if there’s one thing Americans can agree on, it’s the overwhelming disapproval of the current Congress. According to the survey, 74% of Americans disapprove of Congress, “which is in line with the range for this rating over the past year.” Eighty-two percent of participants believe the country is on the wrong track. Just 17% of respondents approve of the job Congress is doing.

Of all issues listed, economic policy is the top concern for midterm survey participants followed by abortion access, gun control and health care. Climate change, immigration, and tax policy followed suit.

Surprisingly, the importance of abortion access dropped 8% from May’s poll, but the topic remains more important for this midterm than Monmouth’s May survey in 2018. This follows Tuesday’s windfall election results in Kansas, where 58.8% of voters rejected efforts to restrict or ban abortion via constitutional amendment.

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