2008 record      


If voter intensity is the key to who controls the Senate next year, Republicans appear to have a big edge, according to the latest IBD/TIPP Poll.

When asked to gauge their interest in the November midterms compared with prior elections, 59% of Republicans said it was higher, against just 41% of Democrats and 39% of independents.

President Obama also continues to weigh on candidates' prospects. The poll found there were nearly twice as many who said they were less likely to vote for a candidate who backs Obama as those who said they're more likely to do so (40% vs. 23%).

Among self-identified independents, nearly half (46%) say they are less likely to support such a candidate, compared with just 10% who say they're more likely.

And 74% of voters say that ObamaCare will be important in making their decision about which candidate they'll support.

The poll broke down results by "red" and "blue" states, depending on how those states voted in past presidential elections.

Here, too, there are some troubling signs for Democrats in competitive Senate races, since several are running in red states.

When asked who should control Congress, for example, 55% of those from red states say Republicans. On the other hand, just 48% of those from blue states say Democrats should hold power.

Among independents, 43% say they'd prefer GOP control of Congress, while just 34% want Democrats in charge next year.

Half of voters in red states say they're less likely to vote for an Obama-backed candidate. Just 26% of blue-staters say Obama's backing would make them more likely to vote for a candidate.

Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., recently campaigned as the "most independent senator," stressing that he doesn't "represent" Obama.

However, other IBD/TIPP Poll findings show that the public isn't sold on the GOP agenda either.

ObamaCare support, for example, increased somewhat in May, after Obama and numerous press reports hailed the 8 million exchange sign-ups as a big victory.

Just 47% say they oppose the law, down from 51% in April and 55% in January. An equal 47% back the law, up from 37% in January.

And support for repeal ticked down to 44% from 48% in January. Fewer than half of independents now want the law repealed, compared with 54% in January. Even among Republicans, support for repeal dropped from 84% in January to 79% in May.

Obama's approval rating inched up in May as well, although more disapprove of his job performance than approve (49% to 42%).

Meanwhile, more than half (51%) now say they support a minimum wage hike to $10.10, even if it could cost half-a-million jobs. Previous IBD/TIPP surveys had found fewer than half backing a wage hike of that magnitude when told it could kill that many jobs.

More than two thirds say income inequality (67%) and immigration reform (69%) will be key issues in choosing their candidate in November. How crucial those issues will actually be isn't clear.

Prior IBD/TIPP polls found the public ranks income inequality and immigration as low priorities — just 6% put them at the top of their lists in February. And only 30% said cutting the income gap was more important than creating greater opportunities for people to get ahead.

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