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The One Poll Question That Matters Most

The Wall Street Journal’s writeup of their new poll strangely omitted what I consider the single most important question. The story focused only the good news for Republicans that their standing on a few issues has improved. From the WSJ:

The Republican Party is gaining a public-opinion edge on several key issues ahead of the 2014 elections, as Americans question President Barack Obama‘s leadership on Syria and worry about the country’s overall direction, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows. […]

The poll of 1,000 Americans also points to challenges for Democrats as they try to maintain their Senate majority and work to gain House seats next year. The poll found Americans giving the party increasingly less credit as stewards in areas long seen as Democratic franchises. The party holds a 17-percentage-point advantage in looking after the middle class, the lowest in decades of Journal polling on the issue.

But the story didn’t mention the generic ballot question. The poll found 46 percent want Democrats to win control of Congress after the next election while only 43 percent want Republicans to. This is a noticeable improvement since July when the parties were tied.

While the standing on individual issues is interesting, the most important question is which party do voters think would do a better job overall. That is how people vote and ultimately that is what really matters in politics.

Image by DonkeyHotey under Creative Commons license

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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