September 26, 2022

Polling generally hasn't been heading in the right direction for Republicans lately. The generic ballot has mostly been moving toward Democrats, President Joe Biden's approvals aren't spectacular but they have definitely come back from the abyss, and Donald Trump (who's been making a lot of headlines) is repelling more people than usual in some polls.

Analysts generally compare data points on a single topic across multiple polls (e.g., what's New York Times/Sienna showing in the generic ballot match up versus Reuters, YouGov, Morning Consult, or NBC News). But reading through the Marquette Law School national poll released late last week brought home just how bad things are looking for Republicans on a breadth of issues.

  • Biden's approval, 45%—a 9-point improvement since July
  • Trump's favorability, 34%—unchanged since July
  • Generic ballot, D+6 (47% Democrat/41% Republicans)
  • Just 30% support for overturning Roe
  • 90% support for allowing abortion in cases of rape/incest (including 81% of Republicans)
  • 82% oppose states outlawing interstate travel to get abortions (including 74% of Republicans)
  • 76% oppose states outlawing ordering abortion pills from out of state (including 60% of Republicans)
  • Enthusiasm gap has nearly closed, with 54% of Republicans and 51% of Democrats very enthusiastic to vote

None of that is welcome news for Republicans, but things get even worse when you dig a little deeper.

Trump absconding with a cache of highly sensitive, classified documents isn't playing well at all; 67% of respondents say Trump did have such documents, including 39% of Republicans and 65% of independents.

In a hypothetical 2024 contest between President Biden and Trump, Biden receives 40% and Trump 36%, while 19% say they would vote for someone else and 6% say they would abstain.

Biden also tops Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, 40%-35%.

But abortion remains a critical stumbling block for Republicans. Not only is the ruling from the GOP-packed Supreme Court deeply unpopular, so are all the Republican anti-abortion legislative initiatives at the state level.

And then there's this: Voters' views on candidates' abortion stances remain the same regardless of party ID, with some 55% favoring a candidate who supports abortion and some 30% rejecting a candidate who would limit abortion.

In a hypothetical choice between a candidate who favors keeping abortion legal and a candidate who favors strictly limiting abortion, 55% support the abortion rights candidate and 30% favor the candidate who would limit abortion, while 15% say the abortion issue would not matter to them. Half of respondents were asked this question.

In an experiment, the other half of the sample were asked the same question but with the candidates identified as a Democrat who favors abortion rights and a Republican who favors strict limits on abortion. Providing this partisan cue made no difference in the results, with 54% favoring the Democrat supporter of abortion rights and 29% favoring the Republican who favors limiting abortion, with 17% saying abortion would not matter for them.

That is, to say the least, uniquely rare among generic candidate questions. Voters routinely say they believe one thing when it's not ascribed to a party then some inevitably switch their view once that position is attached to either a Democrat or Republican.

But abortion views are so piercing right now, they're insulated from party tribalism.

Taken as a whole, the Marquette poll represents a series of challenges for Republicans heading into the final weeks of the midterm. None of this means Democrats are going to coast to victory in November. What it does mean is that this election remains very competitive and nothing like the red wave we were promised.

Since Dobbs, women have registered to vote in unprecedented numbers across the country, and the first person to dig into these stunning trends was TargetSmart CEO Tom Bonier, who's our guest on this week's episode of The Downballot. Bonier explains how his firm gathers data on the electorate; why this surge is likely a leading indicator showing stepped-up enthusiasm among many groups of voters, including women, young people, and people of color; how we know these new registrants disproportionately lean toward Democrats; and what it all might mean for November.

Crossposted with permission from Daily Kos.

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