Bad News for Democrats: Pew Poll Shows Party Down 10 on Generic Ballot, Incumbents Unpopular

The latest Pew Research poll of the midterm election is essentially all bad news for Democrats less than two weeks before the election. According to the poll, for the first time all year, Democrats now trail in the generic ballot question among registered voters, losing 42 percent  to 46 percent. Among “likely” voters, the GOP has a ten point lead, 50 to 40, which is a three-point improvement for Republicans since September. If on election day Republicans actually end up winning the popular vote by 10 percent, that could easily translate to a net gain in excess of 50 seats in the House.

In addition, Democrats are still significantly less engaged in this election–although, on a positive note, there are signs that they are getting slightly more engaged. From Pew:

Compared with 2006, more Republican voters report giving a lot of thought to the election (64% now vs. 50% then). The reverse is true among Democrats: 49% now say they are giving a lot of thought to the election, compared with 59% at about this point in the 2006 campaign. At the high end of the engagement spectrum are those who agree with the Tea Party movement, 80% of whom have given a lot of thought to the coming election.

Pew also found that the anti-incumbent sentiment in the country to be at some of its highest levels since 1994. Only 47 percent of voters want to see their own representative re-elected.

The Democratic base is less engaged, the party is losing the generic ballot by 10 points, and voters have a strong urge to vote against incumbents. Taken together, this is bad news for incumbent Democrats hoping to maintain their seats–and retain control of the House.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at