President Barack Obama's low approval rating is hurting the chances of congressional Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections, a new poll has found.
According to a McClatchy-Marist
poll conducted Aug. 4 of 1,035 adults, 42 percent of voters say their negative views of the president make them more likely to vote for a Republican in November rather than a Democrat.
The poll also found that, for the first time during this election cycle, more people said they'd vote for a Republican than a Democrat for Congress — 43 percent to 38 percent. And the preference for Republicans holds across regions and gender.
"The Democrats are sputtering," said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, in a statement.
Obama's job approval rating is hovering at a near historic low for the poll at 40 percent, comparable to other polls in recent weeks.
The results of the survey mark a significant divergence from voters' opinions earlier in the year.
In December, the survey found that voters were evenly split in their support for the two major parties, while in February, a majority favored the Democrats by a margin of 2 percent. In April, the public favored Democrats by 6 percent, at 48 percent to 42 percent, the poll noted.
Independents appear to have the most influence on the shifting numbers, offering a 12-point margin of support for Republicans over Democrats, the poll found.
"More people see themselves as independents, and those people seem to have bailed on Obama," Miringoff said.
Democratic candidates, meanwhile, appear to be aware of the negative effect the president's approval rating is having on their chances, and are increasingly focusing on issues that traditionally belong to the GOP, according to Politico
Specifically, many Democrats are discussing issues such as balancing the budget, tax cuts, and border security in their advertising, while failing to mention their party affiliation.
"It's pretty clear why Democrats would charade as Republicans in districts coast to coast — on every big issue, voters prefer Republicans to Democrats," Liesl Hickey, the National Republican Congressional Committee's executive director, told Politico.
"But by portraying themselves as something they are not, these Democrats are playing a dangerous game that is destined to backfire with voters."
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