Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the U.S. seems “out of control,” and fewer than a third are enthusiastic about the 2014 midterm elections, according to a Politico poll released Monday of likely voters in the most competitive U.S. House and Senate races. The survey also found, however, that most Americans have a lot or at least some confidence that the government is “doing everything possible to contain the spread of Ebola.”
When asked to choose whether they felt the U.S. is “out of control right now” or confident that the country “is in a good position to meet its economic and national security challenges,” 64 percent of those polled said they felt the country is out of control and 36 percent were confident in America’s ability to meet its challenges. One percent declined to answer the question.
Amid U.S.-led airstrikes against ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria, most Americans -- 60 percent -- also said they feared more the threat of a terrorist attack on the U.S. homeland than the “possibility of another drawn-out war." Only 27 percent said the U.S. “has a responsibility to use its military to protect democracy around the globe,” while 58 percent said American military action “should be limited to direct threats to our national security.”
Control of the Senate is the top prize in November’s midterm elections. Republicans started out the year with a strong likelihood of taking Congress’ upper chamber from the Democrats. In the summer, both parties had an even chance of taking the Senate, according to the Washington Post’s Election Lab. Now, the pendulum has swung back toward Republicans, who have a 93 percent chance of gaining control of the Senate, with the Election Lab predicting the GOP will flip eight Senate seats currently held by Democrats. A shift of six seats would give them control.
The top issue in the midterm elections for voters in contested races is the economy, according to the Politico Poll. Two in 10 voters cited the economy in general, followed by 9 percent who said jobs were the top issue. The national debt, financial stability, economic inequality and taxes all registered less than 5 percent apiece. National security, at 20 percent, was the second most important issue, with defense cuts topping national security concerns at 10 percent, followed by terrorism at 9 percent. Health care was third at 11 percent, followed by immigration at 4 percent and government corruption at 3 percent.
On Ebola, 61 percent of respondents said they had either a lot or some confidence that the “U.S. government is doing everything possible to contain the spread of Ebola.” About one-fifth of those polled said they had not much confidence, and another 12 percent said they had no confidence at all in the government’s ability to contain Ebola.
The poll was conducted between Oct. 3 and Oct. 11 of 840 likely voters. It has a margin of error of 4.2 percent each way.