Voters in battleground states prefer Republican House candidates over Democrats by 6%, survey says


Republicans and Democrats around the nation are statistically tied when it comes to which party voters prefer to control the House of Representatives — but Republicans have a 6-point lead in key battleground states, according to a Penn Program on Opinion Research and Election Studies/SurveyMonkey poll of over 100,000 likely voters.

Nationally, 51% said they would vote for the Democratic candidate if the election for House were being held today and 49% said they would vote for the Republican candidate.

But more concerning for Democrats — with just 18 days to go before the election — is that the Republican advantage grows to 6 points, 53% to 47%, among all likely voters who live in the battleground states of Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, North Carolina, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

A deeper analysis of state-level results reveal concerns for Democrats in several critical states where the party is trying to gain or hold Senate seats.

Democrats trail Republicans in the generic congressional ballot by 12 points in Ohio; 10 points in Florida; 6 points in Arizona, Georgia, and North Carolina; 4 points in Wisconsin; 4 points in Nevada; and the parties are statistically tied in Pennsylvania, according to the survey.

For voters who identify as Democrat or Republican, their ballots break down as expected — 97% of Democrats say they’ll vote for the Democratic candidate and 97% of Republicans say they’ll vote for the Republican.

Independents tell a different story. Fifty-two percent say they’ll vote for the Republican candidate and 48% say they’ll vote for the Democratic candidate, suggesting that voters who identify as independents are leaning more toward Republicans this election cycle.

Another possible indicator of the current strength of the Republican Party is how voters rank the issues most important to them in deciding their votes.

Overall, a plurality (40%) of likely voters overall say inflation is the most important issue to them right now, followed by crime and safety (23%), abortion (15%), climate change (14%) and guns (8%).

There are differences across party lines, and critically, priorities of independent voters are closer to those of Republicans than Democrats. 

Among Democrats, climate change and abortion are practically tied as the two most important issues, but both Republican and independents identify inflation as being the most important issue. 

The Penn Program on Opinion Research and Election Studies/SurveyMonkey national poll was conducted from Sept. 15-Oct. 18, among 108,206 likely voters. To help contextualize how much the results may vary, note that national popular vote polls in the 2020 general election had an average error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points on the margin regardless of their size, sampling or mode of data collection according to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) evaluation of 202 pre-election polls. The survey has an empirical error estimate, based on past analysis, of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. This number represents the best approximation of total survey error for this poll. All results are weighted so that the survey sample matches the 2016-20 American Community Survey according to age, race, gender and education. The sample was additionally weighted to the 2020 presidential vote. Analyses of subgroups of states were weighted according to population targets in those states.

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