Democrats will find few points of optimism in a new batch of polls, with recent surveys by Washington Post/ABC News and Wall Street Journal/NBC News both showing increasing disappointment with the state of the economy and the leadership of both congressional Democrats and President Obama.
When it comes to the overall state of the economy, respondents in the Washington Post/ABC News poll have expressed their lowest enthusiasm in almost 18 years, with 22 percent having a positive view of the economy and 78 having a negative view. In the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, only 26 percent of respondents believed that the economy will improve over the next year, the lowest percentage since President Obama's election. Forty-five percent of respondents also said that the worst of the recession is still ahead.
Democrats in Congress were hit particularly hard in the latest surveys. From the Washington Post's analysis of their polling data:
For the first time in more than four years, Republicans run about evenly with Democrats on the basic question of which party they trust to handle the nation's biggest problems. Among registered voters, 40 percent say they have more confidence in Democrats and 38 percent say they have more trust in Republicans. Three months ago, Democrats had a 12-point advantage.
These findings are corroborated by the Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, which shows that only 29 percent of respondents think it's a good idea for a party to control both Houses of Congress and the presidency. Overall desire to have a Democrat-controlled Congress and Republican-controlled Congress are evenly matched at 43 percent.
On top of these poor findings for congressional Democrats, President Obama has also reached his lowest ever approval/disapproval ratings in both polls, with the Washington Post/ABC News survey showing a 46 percent to 52 percent ratio and the Wall Street Journal/NBC News turning up a 45 percent to 49 percent mark.
Voter enthusiasm numbers will also provide increased worry for vulnerable Democrats looking forward to November.
From the Wall Street Journal's analysis of their poll:
But among those who appear most likely to vote, based on their level of interest in the campaign and their history of voting, the Republicans own a dramatic 49% to 40% advantage. If that kind of lead holds, Republicans would almost certainly take back control of the House.
The Washington Post/ABC News poll was conducted among 1,002 adults between August 30 and September 2 and has a margin of error of 3.5 points. The Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey was conducted among 1,000 adults between August 26 and August 30 and has a margin of error of 3.1 percent.