Slightly more Americans identify politically as being Democrats than Republicans, but that isn’t enough to overcome voters’ major dissatisfaction with President Barack Obama, the economy, and other factors – and could spell a tough time for Democrats at the polls this year, a new Gallup Poll concludes.
According to the poll, released Thursday, 42 percent of Americans say they are Democrats or they are Democratic-leaning independents, and 40 percent say they are Republicans or lean right.
But that advantage doesn’t bode well when compared to historical patterns. The numbers parallel what Gallup found at the same point during similar midterm years of 1994, 2002, and 2010 that went strongly Republican at the polls, not what was measured when Democrats went strong in 1998 and 2006.
When paired with a June Gallup Poll that revealed that just 1 in 4 Americans are satisfied with the direction in which the country is heading, and showing that Obama’s popularity is at the same low point as in 2010, the pollster said that the indicators are pointing to many difficulties for Democrats once again.
In 2010, when the president’s job approval rating hovered around the 40 percent mark, Democrats ended up losing more than 60 House seats.
“Only two presidents have had lower job approval ratings in recent midterm elections – George W. Bush in 2006 and Ronald Reagan in 1982,” Gallup pointed out in June.
“In those years, the president’s party lost more than 20 seats, suggesting seat loss is not always proportional to presidential job approval, but underscoring the peril the president’s party faces when his approval rating is below 50 percent.”