More Americans view their vote in November’s midterm elections as a message of opposition toward President Barack Obama than one of support, according to a Gallup poll released Friday. The poll also showed that Republican voters’ oppose Obama more fervently than Democrats support him.
Midterm elections are always viewed as a referendum on the sitting president’s policies, and Obama admitted as much during a speech Thursday at Northwestern University. "I am not on the ballot this fall. Michelle’s pretty happy about that. But make no mistake: These policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them,” the president said, according to the Washington Post.
Republicans pounced on his comments, with GOP spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski calling Obama’s remarks “some not-so-great news for 2014 Democrats: President Obama just nationalized all of their races. ... As President Obama made clear by declaring that his agenda was on the ballot this fall, a vote for a Democrat is a vote for him and his failed policies.”
Roughly one-third of likely voters polled by Reuters agree, with 32 percent of respondents saying they viewed their vote in the 2014 midterms as a message to oppose Obama. One in four said their vote would be a message of support, while 46 percent said they didn’t view their vote as “sending a message” to the president.
The 12-percent gap between opposition and support is the same percentage point difference during the 2010 midterm elections, the first for Obama. In that year, which saw the GOP take control of the House of Representatives amid Obamacare’s unpopularity, 30 percent of likely voters told Gallup they viewed their ballot as a message to oppose Obama. More than 20 percent said their vote would be a message to support the president and 44 percent said they wouldn’t be sending a message to the president with their vote.
Broken down along party lines, the Gallup poll found that nearly 60 percent of Republicans said their vote would be a message opposing Obama, while only 38 percent of Democrats said their vote would be a message of support. Most Democrats -- 53 percent -- said they wouldn’t be sending any message.
While the percentage of Republicans who said their vote would be in opposition to Obama remained steady from 2010, Democrats who said their vote is a message of support declined from the 45 percent who felt that way in 2010.
Obama’s 2014 numbers are comparable to his predecessor’s second term. Most Democrats in 2006 said their vote was a message of opposition to President George W. Bush while most Republicans said they wouldn’t be sending a message. Democrats captured both houses that year. In 2002, Bush’s first midterm election, a majority of Republican voters -- 51 percent -- said their vote was a message of support for the president.