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Dems Gain Slightly in Congress Support

Dems Gain Slightly in Congress Support

National

Midterm issue picture largely unchanged; Biden rating stabilizes

West Long Branch, NJ – The latest Monmouth (“Mon-muth”) University Poll finds the Democrats making small gains in preference for Congressional control and the year-long slide in President Joe Biden’s job rating appears to have stabilized. The economy remains a driving force in the midterm elections, but it is not the only issue of importance.

Democrats have made slight gains in the public’s preference for party control of Congress since the spring. Currently, 38% of Americans say they want the Democratic Party in charge and another 12% have no initial preference but lean toward Democratic control. Republican control is preferred by 34% with another 9% leaning toward the GOP. The combined 50% who choose the Democrats is up from 47% in June and 44% in May. Republicans’ 43% support level is down from 47% in June and 48% in May.

Nearly 6 in 10 (57%) Americans say it is very important to have their preferred party in control of Congress. The congressional control importance metric is slightly higher among those who want Democrats (63%) than those who want Republicans (59%) leading Congress.

“Recent events, such as the Jan. 6th committee hearings and Supreme Court decisions, seem to have generated a bit more energy for the Democrats, but it is not clear that this is actual momentum. It may simply be ongoing volatility in a public largely unhappy with the way things are going in Washington,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Overall, Congress earns a dismal 17% approve and 74% disapprove job rating, which is in line with the range for this rating over the past year. Expectations that party control will impact legislative output are positive but muted. Specifically, among those who prefer Democrats, 28% say that retaining their party’s control makes it very likely that Congress will be able to make substantial progress on the issues that are most important to them, while another 51% of this group say a Democratic Congress is somewhat likely to make progress. Among those who prefer Republicans in charge, 33% say that the GOP winning control makes it very likely that Congress will be able to make substantial progress on the issues that are most important to them, while another 48% of this group say a Republican Congress is somewhat likely to make progress.

“Voters’ are relatively, if not overwhelmingly, optimistic about making progress under their preferred party’s leadership. However, given the current Congressional job rating, it seems just as likely that whoever is in charge is destined to fall short of expectations,” said Murray.

The poll asked Americans to rate how seven different policy areas factor into their congressional vote choice. About 2 in 3 or more say it is very or extremely important to them that their chosen candidate shares their views on six of these issues. These results are similar to poll findings from three months ago, although the weight given to gun control policy has risen by 10 points (from 66% extremely/very important in May to 76% now). Looking at just those who rate these policies as extremely important finds a fairly even distribution among gun control (38%), health care (37%), abortion (35%), and economic policy (33%), followed by immigration (26%) and tax policy (26%).

The current poll included a new policy area in the list – climate change. This issue is not as much of a factor in Americans’ candidate support as the other six. Just over half of the public says this issue is either extremely (27%) or very (27%) important in their vote choice. There is, however, a huge partisan difference in the weight given to this issue. In fact, it is the widest partisan gap for any of the seven policy areas covered in the poll. Among Democrats, climate change (43% extremely) is nearly as important as health care (48%), abortion (46%), and gun control (45%). On the other hand, only 12% of Republicans say climate policy is extremely important to their vote, far less than say the same for immigration (40%), economic issues (37%), tax policy (36%), and gun control (32%).

When asked to choose the single most important issue from the seven policy areas included in the poll, economic policy (24%) is the top concern among all Americans, followed by abortion (17%), gun control (17%), and health care (14%). Climate change (11%), immigration (8%), and tax policy (7%) round out the list. Abortion as the top issue has declined by 8 percentage points since Monmouth’s May poll, which was taken in the immediate wake of the leaked Dobbs decision. This decline in importance has occurred among Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike. However, abortion is still seen as being more important now than it was in the last midterm cycle, according to an August 2018 Monmouth poll. Republicans’ top midterm issue – albeit with only 32% in the poll – is economic policy, followed by immigration (18%) and gun control (15%). Democrats’ top issue concerns are even more evenly spread among abortion (24%), climate change (20%), gun control (19%), and health care (18%).

“The state of the economy is certainly going to be omnipresent in the election, but Democrats may have a harder time motivating their base in part because of the wider range of priorities among their voters” said Murray.

The downward trend in President Biden’s job rating appears to have stabilized for now. Currently, 38% approve of the job he is doing while 56% disapprove. In June, he held a 36% approve and 58% disapprove rating. Biden last held a net positive rating in July 2021 (48% approve and 44% disapprove).

Negative views of the U.S. Supreme Court continue to rise, with 37% of the public saying they approve of the job the court is doing and 59% saying they disapprove. The disapproval number has increased steadily from 42% in March, 52% in May, and 53% in June. Six years ago, only one-third (33%) of Americans disapproved of the job the Supreme Court was doing.

Just 15% of Americans say the country is headed in the right direction, which is actually an uptick from the record low 10% recorded in June. This shift is due mainly to a relatively better outlook among Democrats (32% right direction, up from 18% in June). However, 8 in 10 Americans (82%) still say the country has gotten off on the wrong track.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from July 28 to August 1, 2022 with 808 adults in the United States.  The question results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

QUESTIONS AND RESULTS     

(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

1.Do you approve or disapprove of the job Joe Biden is doing as president?

  TREND:Aug.
2022
June
2022
May
2022
March
2022
Jan.
2022
Dec.
2021
Nov.
2021
Sept.
2021
July
2021
June
2021
April
2021
March
2021
Jan.
2021
Approve38%36%38%39%39%40%42%46%48%48%54%51%54%
Disapprove56%58%57%54%54%50%50%46%44%43%41%42%30%
(VOL) No opinion7%6%5%7%7%11%9%8%8%9%5%8%16%
 (n)(808)(978)(807)(809)(794)(808)(811)(802)(804)(810)(800)(802)(809)

2.Do you approve or disapprove of the job the U.S. Congress is doing?

  TREND:Aug.
2022
June
2022
May
2022
March
2022
Jan.
2022
Dec.
2021
Nov.
2021
Sept.
2021
July
2021
June
2021
April
2021
March
2021
Jan.
2021
Approve17%15%15%21%19%23%18%22%23%21%35%30%35%
Disapprove74%78%77%71%74%66%70%65%62%65%56%59%51%
(VOL) No opinion9%7%8%8%6%11%12%13%15%15%9%11%14%
 (n)(808)(978)(807)(809)(794)(808)(811)(802)(804)(810)(800)(802)(809)
  TREND:
Continued

Nov.
2020
Early June
2020

May
2020

April
2020

Feb.
2020

Jan.
2020

Dec.
2019

Nov.
2019

Sept.
2019

Aug.
2019

June
2019

May
2019

April
2019

March
2019

Jan.
2019
Approve23%22%32%32%20%24%22%23%21%17%19%20%24%23%18%
Disapprove64%69%55%55%69%62%65%64%68%71%69%71%62%68%72%
(VOL) No opinion13%9%13%13%11%14%13%13%11%13%12%9%14%9%10%
 (n)(810)(807)(808)(857)(902)(903)(903)(908)(1,161)(800)(751)(802)(801)(802)(805)
  TREND:
Continued
Nov.
2018
Aug.
2018
June
2018
April
2018
March
2018
Jan.
2018
Dec.
2017
Sept.
2017
Aug.
2017
July
2017
May
2017
March
2017
Jan.
2017
Approve23%17%19%17%18%21%16%17%18%19%19%25%23%
Disapprove63%69%67%71%72%68%65%69%69%70%68%59%66%
(VOL) No opinion14%14%14%12%11%11%19%15%13%11%13%16%11%
 (n)(802)(805)(806)(803)(803)(806)(806)(1,009)(805)(800)(1,002)(801)(801)
  TREND:
Continued
Sept.
2016*
Aug.
2016*
June
2016*
March
2016
Jan.
2016
Dec.
2015
Oct.
2015
Sept.
2015
Aug.
2015
July
2015
June
2015
April
2015
Jan.
2015
Dec.
2014
July
2013
Approve15%14%17%22%17%16%17%19%18%18%19%21%18%17%14%
Disapprove77%78%76%68%73%73%71%71%72%69%71%67%70%73%76%
(VOL) No opinion8%9%7%10%10%10%12%11%11%12%10%12%11%11%10%
 (n)(802)(803)(803)(1,008)(1,003)(1,006)(1,012)(1,009)(1,203)(1,001)(1,002)(1,005)(1,003)(1,008)(1,012)

        * Registered voters

3.Would you rather see the Republicans or the Democrats in control of Congress, or doesn’t this matter to you? [CHOICES WERE ROTATED] [If DOES NOT MATTER: If you had to lean one way or the other would you pick the Republicans or the Democrats?]

  TREND:Aug.
2022
June
2022
May
2022
March
2022
Jan.
2022
Republicans34%36%36%33%35%
Not matter, but lean Rep9%11%12%12%15%
Democrats38%38%34%33%33%
Not matter, but lean Dem12%9%10%13%10%
Does not matter, no lean5%6%7%9%7%
(VOL) Don’t know1%1%1%1%0%
 (n)(808)(978)(807)(809)(794)

4.Is it very important, somewhat important, or only a little important to have [Republicans/Democrats] in control of Congress? [CHOICE READ FROM Q3]

  TREND:Aug.
2022
June
2022
May
2022
March
2022
Jan.
2022
Very important57%60%59%56%54%
Somewhat important24%20%20%21%23%
Only a little important11%11%12%12%15%
(VOL) Don’t know / Does not matter
who controls Congress (from Q3)
7%9%9%11%8%
 (n)(808)(978)(807)(809)(794)

5.If the [Republicans win/Democrats keep] control of Congress, how likely is it that they will be able to make substantial progress on the issues most important to you – very likely, somewhat likely, not too likely, or not at all likely? [CHOICE READ FROM Q3]

 Aug.
2022
Very likely28%
Somewhat likely46%
Not too likely11%
Not at all likely5%
(VOL) Don’t know / Does not matter
who controls Congress (from Q3)
9%
 (n)(808)

6.I’m going to read you a number of different policy issues. For each one, please tell me how important it is that a candidate for Congress shares your views on that issue in order for you to vote for them. You may use extremely important, very important, just somewhat important, or not important. [ITEMS WERE ROTATED]

Immigration policy

  TREND:Aug.
2022
May
2022
Aug.
2018
Extremely important26%33%35%
Very important38%37%39%
Just somewhat important30%26%21%
Not important6%4%4%
(VOL) Don’t know0%0%1%
 (n)(808)(807)(805)

Health care policy

  TREND:Aug.
2022
May
2022
Aug.
2018
Extremely important37%30%43%
Very important39%42%37%
Just somewhat important21%22%15%
Not important3%6%4%
(VOL) Don’t know0%0%0%
 (n)(808)(807)(805)

Gun control policy

  TREND:Aug.
2022
May
2022
Aug.
2018
Extremely important38%32%37%
Very important38%34%38%
Just somewhat important14%21%16%
Not important10%12%8%
(VOL) Don’t know0%1%1%
 (n)(808)(807)(805)

Abortion policy

  TREND:Aug.
2022
May
2022
Aug.
2018
Extremely important35%35%31%
Very important33%35%28%
Just somewhat important19%19%25%
Not important12%10%15%
(VOL) Don’t know1%1%2%
 (n)(808)(807)(805)

Tax policy

  TREND:Aug.
2022
May
2022
Aug.
2018
Extremely important26%24%29%
Very important44%46%44%
Just somewhat important25%26%22%
Not important4%3%3%
(VOL) Don’t know0%1%1%
 (n)(808)(807)(805)

Economic policy

  TREND:Aug.
2022
May
2022
Aug.
2018
Extremely important33%31%31%
Very important45%48%48%
Just somewhat important19%19%17%
Not important2%1%4%
(VOL) Don’t know0%1%0%
 (n)(808)(807)(805)

Climate change policy

Aug.
2022
Extremely important27%
Very important27%
Just somewhat important23%
Not important23%
(VOL) Don’t know0%
 (n)(808)

7.And which of the issues I just mentioned is most important to you in your vote choice for Congress?

  TREND:Aug.
2022
May
2022
Aug.
2018
Immigration policy8%14%18%
Health care policy14%16%28%
Gun control policy17%9%13%
Abortion policy17%25%9%
Tax policy7%8%7%
Economic policy24%26%19%
Climate change policy11%n/an/a
(VOL) Don’t know3%3%5%
 (n)(808)(807)(805)

8.Would you say things in the country are going in the right direction, or have they gotten off on the wrong track?

  TREND:Aug.
2022
June
2022
May
2022
March
2022
Jan.
2022
Dec.
2021
Nov.
2021
Sept.
2021
July
2021
June
2021
April
2021
March
2021
Jan.
2021
Right direction15%10%18%24%24%30%31%29%38%37%46%34%42%
Wrong track82%88%79%73%71%66%64%65%56%57%50%61%51%
(VOL) Depends1%1%2%1%3%1%2%4%3%3%2%4%3%
(VOL) Don’t know2%1%2%2%2%3%3%2%4%3%2%2%4%
(n)(808)(978)(807)(809)(794)(808)(811)(802)(804)(810)(800)(802)(809)
  TREND:
Continued
Nov.
2020
Early Sept.
2020
Aug.
2020
Late June
2020
Early June
2020
May
2020
April
2020
March
2020
Feb.
2020
Jan.
2020
Right direction26%27%22%18%21%33%30%39%37%37%
Wrong track68%66%72%74%74%60%61%54%57%56%
(VOL) Depends4%4%4%5%4%4%5%4%6%6%
(VOL) Don’t know2%3%2%3%1%3%5%3%1%1%
(n)(810)(867)(868)(867)(807)(808)(857)(851)(902)(903)
  TREND:
Continued
Dec.
2019
Nov.
2019
Sept.
2019
Aug.
2019
June
2019
May
2019
April
2019
March
2019
Nov.
2018
Aug.
2018
June
2018
April
2018
March
2018
Jan.
2018
Right direction32%30%30%28%31%29%28%29%35%35%40%33%31%37%
Wrong track56%61%61%62%62%63%62%63%55%57%53%58%61%57%
(VOL) Depends8%7%6%8%6%4%7%6%7%6%3%5%6%3%
(VOL) Don’t know4%2%2%2%2%3%3%2%3%3%3%4%1%3%
(n)(903)(908)(1,161)(800)(751)(802)(801)(802)(802)(805)(806)(803)(803)(806)
  TREND:
Continued
Dec.
2017
Aug.
2017
May
2017
March
2017
Jan.
2017
Aug.
2016*
Oct.
2015
July
2015
June
2015
April
2015
Dec.
2014
July
2013
Right direction24%32%31%35%29%30%24%28%23%27%23%28%
Wrong track66%58%61%56%65%65%66%63%68%66%69%63%
(VOL) Depends7%4%5%4%4%2%6%5%5%5%5%5%
(VOL) Don’t know3%5%3%5%2%3%4%3%3%2%3%4%
(n)(806)(805)(1,002)(801)(801)(803)(1,012)(1,001)(1,002)(1,005)(1,008)(1,012)

        * Registered voters

9.Do you approve or disapprove of the job the U.S. Supreme Court is doing?

TREND:Aug.
2022
June
2022
May
2022
March
2022
Sept.
2021
March
2016
Approve37%41%38%42%42%49%
Disapprove59%53%52%42%45%33%
(VOL) Don’t know5%7%10%16%12%17%
 (n)(808)(747)(807)(809)(802)(1,008)

[Q10-22 held for future release.]

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from July 28 to August 1, 2022 with a probability-based national random sample of 808 adults age 18 and older. This includes 286 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 522 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone, in English. Telephone numbers were selected through a mix of random digit dialing and list-based sampling. Landline respondents were selected with a modified Troldahl-Carter youngest adult household screen. Interviewing services were provided by Braun Research, with sample obtained from Dynata (RDD, n=492), Aristotle (list, n=135) and a panel of prior Monmouth poll participants (n=181). Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. The full sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information (ACS 2018 one-year survey). For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design). Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

DEMOGRAPHICS (weighted)
Self-Reported
26% Republican
45% Independent
29% Democrat
 
49% Male
51% Female
 
30% 18-34
33% 35-54
37% 55+
 
63% White
12% Black
16% Hispanic
  9% Asian/Other
 
69% No degree
31% 4 year degree

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and crosstabs by key demographic groups.