Voters Not Sure Which Party Will Win Congress in November

While most political analysts, activists, and commentators expect the Democrats to win control of the House this year, voters aren’t so sure. A national survey conducted Sunday and Monday found that 37% expect the Republicans to maintain control while 35% expect the Democrats to win a majority.

Democrats currently have a 10-point advantage on the Generic Congressional Ballot. A race-by-race analysis suggests that the Democrats are almost certain to gain seats in November. The only question appears to be whether they will fall just short of a majority, win a narrow majority, or surf a Big Blue Wave to a solid majority.

This disconnect may be the result of many people simply disbelieving the pundits after the near universal prediction that Hillary Clinton would win the presidential election in 2016. Or it may simply be partisan blinders. Seventy-four percent (74%) of Republicans expect their party will emerge victorious while only 68% of Democrats express such confidence. Half of Independent voters (48%) are not sure (see question wording and crosstabs).

Another possible explanation is that voters aren’t yet tuned into the election season. Just 26% are following news about the elections Very Closely. Another 40% are following the news Somewhat Closely. This latter explanation seems to gain confirmation from the fact that the results are virtually identical when voters are asked who will win the Senate. Most analysts expect the GOP to retain control of that body.

The fact that many voters aren’t yet engaged adds an element of volatility to the campaign season.

This national survey of 1,000 Registered Voters was conducted September 9-10, 2018 for by HarrisX, a leading research company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology and the Demographic profile of our sample). The Margin of Error is +/- 3.1 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. We will track these expectations again as the campaign season progresses.

Those following the election news Very Closely tend to believe the Democrats will win the House (by a 47% to 40% margin). That’s more in line with the expectations of the political world. However, they also expect the Democrats to win the Senate (by a 46% to 42% margin).

The gap between perceptions of the political world and other voters is highlighted by another piece of data. Most voters do not assume that a Democratic majority will vote to impeach President Trump. Most Democrats expect this to happen, but only a quarter of Republicans and Independents believe so. Senior Democrats in Congress have been trying to downplay the possibility of impeachment believing it will hurt their prospects in November. Many Democratic activists, however, want it to be a central issue in the campaign. So far, it is not.

All data presented by is to enhance the public dialogue through data-driven analysis that explores the underlying currents of public opinion (read About Us). Receive the latest insights each day by signing up for Scott Rasmussen’s Morning Update

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Neither Scott Rasmussen nor has any relationship with Rasmussen Reports® (see About Us).

Posted in Poll Results

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