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Polls prove
Washington Examiner 6/12 Poll watch: Trouble for Democrats going into the midterms, discord in Republican

As President Obama's approval rating continues its slow and steady descent into negative territory, the Tea Party battles
to win over a majority of GOP voters, according to two polls released this week. The first poll, which comes from
Bloomberg News, shows that Obama's favorability rating has hit a new low, with a mere 44 percent of survey
respondents saying they have a positive opinion of the commander in chief. The latest decline in the president's
popularity is due in part to a recent deal that saw the return of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for five top-
ranking Taliban officers. Sign Up for the Politics Today newsletter! Most Americans disapprove of the prisoner swap,
according to several polls, while an overwhelming number of U.S. military veterans are upset about the trade. And the
president's poor marks on the Bergdahl deal come on top of the fact that a majority of Americans already disapprove of
his handling of a number of important issues, including the Affordable Care Act -- Obama's signature domestic policy --
and the economy. In the past, Obama's likeability has stayed ahead of perceptions of job performance, J. Ann Selzer,
the founder of the group that conducted the poll, told Bloomberg. It appears he is no longer likeable enough.
Further, according to the survey, which was conducted from June 6-9, the president's sagging favorability rating is acting
as a drag on congressional Democrats who are struggling to hold on to their majority in the U.S. Senate.
Healthcare and Obama put drag on Democrats will cost them the Senate
Washington Times 5/19 [Obama, health care crippling Democrats in midterm races, poll
shows |

Deep dissatisfaction with President Obama and the health care law is dragging down Democrats heading toward this
years midterm elections, with voters favoring Republicans in House and Senate races across the country, a new poll
showed. Voters in congressional districts and states that will decide the election say they prefer a Republican over a
Democrat by a 7-point margin, 41 percent to 34 percent, with 25 percent undecided, said a poll conducted by GfK for
Politico. The survey found that voters in these battlegrounds disapprove of Mr. Obamas job performance by 60 percent
and nearly half support the full repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The polling results confirm the widespread view
among political strategists and officials form both parties that Republicans are poised to retain control of the House and
pick up the six net Senate seats needed to seize the majority in the upper chamber. Compounding the headache for
Democrats, the poll showed that nearly two-thirds of voters prefer divided government in Washington where one party
runs the White House and the other rules in both chambers of Congress. About 37 percent of voters told the pollsters
that their interactions with the federal government had been more negative than positive during the past year. Voters
in conservative districts and states, including Georgia and Arkansas, back much of the Democratic Partys liberal agenda,
including immigration reform and legislation requiring equal pay for men and women. But thats not enough to
overcome powerful opposition to the president and Obamacare. Nearly 90 percent of voters said the health care law
would be a factor in their decision at the polls, including 49 percent who said it would be very important, accordion to
the pollsters. In the poll, just 28 percent said immigration reform was very important in deciding how they cast a
ballot, while 16 percent said the same about the equal pay issue.
Obamas job record and party lethargy put dems behind in senate races
Politico 5/19 *POLITICO poll shows mounting danger for Democrats, | prs]

President Barack Obamas job approval slump and voters entrenched wariness of his health care law are dogging
Democrats ahead of the 2014 midterm elections, and Republicans have captured a lead in the areas home to the years
most competitive races, according to a new POLITICO poll. In the congressional districts and states where the 2014
elections will actually be decided, likely voters said they would prefer to vote for a Republican over a Democrat by 7
points, 41 percent to 34 percent. A quarter of voters said they were unsure of their preference. Among these critical
voters, Obamas job approval is a perilous 40 percent, and nearly half say they favor outright repeal of the Affordable
Care Act. Sixty percent say they believe the debate over the law is not over, compared with 39 percent who echo the
presidents position and say the ACA debate has effectively concluded. Both Obamas job approval and the partisan
ballot matchup are markedly more negative for Democrats in this poll than other national surveys a reflection of the
political reality that the midterm campaign is being fought on turf that is more challenging for Democrats than the
nation as a whole.

Structural problems
Benen 5/19 *Steve Benen, Commentator, contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, The paradox of the 2014
midterms, | prs]

Gallup released an interesting poll last week showing the favorable/unfavorable ratings for the two major parties. The
data was consistent with the other data: Democratic popularity, which has been pretty steady over last several years, far
exceeds that of Republicans. Indeed, GOP popularity is actually pretty dreadful, hovering around its lowest point since
1998 which coincidentally is the last time a two-term Democratic president was approaching his sixth-year midterms.
The same day, the New York Times Brendan Nyhan reported that Democrats also enjoy sizable advantages on which
party the public trusts on the major issues of the day, including the economy. As we discussed a couple of months ago,
an observer who just arrived in the United States with no prior knowledge of our political system might look at the
landscape and assume Democrats are positioned for a terrific year. Republicans have no accomplishments; theyre
broadly unpopular; theyre on the wrong side of the major issues of the day; their agenda is out of step with the
American mainstream; and not too long ago, they shut down the government for reasons that still dont make any
sense. Congressional ineptitude has reached unprecedented levels, and pretty much everyone understands that an
uncompromising GOP is to blame. And yet, Republicans will almost certainly have a great year anyway, as a new
Politico poll reminds us. The question probably haunts Democrats on a daily basis: why would Americans reward the
party they dont like and dont agree with? Ezra Kleins explanation rings true. The biggest problem with these kinds of
questions is that the electorate isnt made up of voters. It is made up of people who actually go to the polls to vote.
The Washington Post/ABC News poll found that Democrats actually have a one percentage point edge in voter
intentions this year (which is, of course, inside the margin of error). But as Jaime Fuller notes, poll respondents who say
theyre certain to actually go out and vote look a lot more Republican. Then theres what Nyhan calls the structural
factors. He names presidential approval, the state of the economy, the type of election (midterm or presidential year)
and the composition of the seats that are up for election. That last is particularly important this year. Democrats are
defending 21 seats in the Senate to the GOPs 15. If that number was flipped as it more than will be in the 2016
election, where Democrats are expected to be defending 10 Senate seats to the GOPs 24 Democrats would be in
much better shape. Both of these observations are clearly correct, though the former is especially compelling.
Democratic leaders recognize the problem; theyre just not sure what to do about it. Robert Gibbs explained on Meet
the Press recently, Were looking at a midterm election where the electorate is much less likely to look like a
presidential, and much more to look like 2010, which means an older, less diverse group of voters. David Plouffe
added soon after, We have a turnout issue. This is a screaming siren that the same problems that afflicted us in 2010
when Democrats lost control of the House could face us again. Its not that rank-and-file Democratic voters never
show up for midterm elections; it just seems to take quite a bit to get them engaged in non-presidential cycles. In 1998,
for example, Dems turned out because Republicans had launched a ridiculous impeachment crusade. In 2006,
Democrats showed up, fueled by outrage over Bush/Cheney and, among other things, opposition to the war in Iraq. By
all appearances, the partys voters feel no comparable motivation this year. This, coupled with structural elements,
helps make clear why being more popular and agreeing with voters on the issues they care about probably wont make a