Congress

If Political Fright Inspires Turnout, Democrats Have the Edge

Majority of Democratic supporters "very worried" about prospect of GOP majority

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- President George W. Bush and his political team are trying to motivate Republican voters about the upcoming midterm elections by detailing the policy ills they say will result from a Democratic majority in Congress. However, according to a new Gallup survey, it is Democratic supporters who are more anxious about the consequences of the opposing party winning control of the U.S. House of Representatives coming out of next Tuesday's elections.

To the extent those favoring the Republicans are fearful of a Democratic majority in Congress, the largest worries are that the Democrats will "cut and run" from Iraq or raise taxes. Fears about continued Republican congressional leadership from those favoring the Democrats focus heavily on the situation in Iraq, followed by a number of economic issues and a general concern that there will be "more of the same" at a time when things are already going badly.

These findings are from a new Gallup Panel survey with a nationally representative sample of 1,001 adults aged 18 and older, conducted Oct. 23-26. The survey also shows that 52% of Americans think the country would be better off with the Democrats in control of Congress, while 41% say the country would be better off with the Republicans in charge.

Two pairs of follow-up questions were asked, probing Americans' fears about the election outcome. Respondents were first asked to rate their level of worry about the party they oppose winning control of Congress next Tuesday. Those worried to any degree were then asked "What, in particular, are you worried will happen if the [Democrats win/Republicans keep] control of Congress?"

A majority of Americans on both sides say they are at least somewhat worried about what would happen if the opposing party wins control of Congress. However, of those favoring the Republicans to run Congress, only a third (33%) say they are "very worried" about what would happen if the Democratic Party wins control in next Tuesday's elections. By contrast, a majority of those favoring the Democrats (53%) say they would be very worried about the consequences of the Republican Party keeping control of Congress.

Republicans Fret About Democratic Actions on Iraq, Taxes

In his pre-election blitz, Bush has been pounding the theme that the Democrats are poised to hand terrorists and the insurgents in Iraq a victory by pulling U.S. forces out of that country. Last Saturday, Bush used his weekly radio address to also warn that Democrats "are still determined to raise your taxes" and will be able to do so effortlessly by simply not renewing the Republican tax cuts that will otherwise expire.

In line with these twin Bush focuses, the primary concerns of those worried about a Democratic majority are how the Democrats will handle the Iraq situation (22% mention this) and that they will raise taxes (18%). An additional 12% of Republican supporters worry that a Democratic majority will be ineffectual -- either it will accomplish nothing or things will get worse. Ten percent cite the risk to national security or terrorism from the Democrats' neglect of these issues.

Changes the Democrats might make in a variety of social or domestic policy areas are each mentioned by 2% to 5% of Americans. These include healthcare/welfare policies (5%), abortion (5%), immigration (4%), and gay rights (2%).

(Asked of adults who say they are worried about what would happen if the Democrats win control of Congress after this fall's elections) What, in particular, are you worried will happen if the Democrats win control of Congress? [OPEN-ENDED]

2006 Oct 23-26

%

The U.S. will cut and run from Iraq/The war issues

22

Will raise taxes

18

Nothing will be accomplished/Things will get worse

12

Will pay less attention to national security/terrorism

10

Will spend too much/Will increase national debt

7

Will be too liberal in their views/actions

6

Will attempt to socialize healthcare/welfare programs

5

Abortion will become acceptable

5

Immigration will get out of control

4

Will show a total lack of support for the president

4

The economy will get worse

4

Morals/Ethics will continue to decline

4

Gay rights legislation will be passed

2

Supreme Court/Judicial issues will change for the worse

2

Other

15

Nothing

7

No opinion

2

Note: Percentages add to more than 100% due to multiple responses.

Democrats Fear "More of the Same" in Iraq and the United States

Democrats' fears about a continued Republican majority are dominated by the Iraq situation. Nearly a third (32%) of those favoring Democratic control of Congress say they worry that the situation in Iraq will continue to worsen under the Republicans. A combined 25% mention one of the related concerns that either the government will continue to be run "poorly" (13%) or that things will not change (12%). In other words, things are going badly in the government and will stay that way. Twelve percent worry that the economy, specifically, will get worse -- something only 4% of Republican-backers say they worry about in connection with Democratic control. Another 7% say the country (already doing badly) will only get worse.

Other specific domestic issues mentioned include diminished civil liberties (5%), rising oil or gas prices (3%), and problems with Social Security (2%).

(Asked of adults who say they are worried about what would happen if the Republicans keep control of Congress after this fall's elections) What, in particular, are you worried will happen if the Republicans keep control of Congress? [OPEN-ENDED]

2006 Oct 23-26

%

The situation in Iraq will continue to get worse

32

Will continue to run the government poorly

13

The economy will get worse

12

More of the same/Nothing will change (nonspecific)

12

Middle class will continue to disappear/Rich get richer/Poor get poorer

8

The country will get worse/already going in the direction

7

Diminish civil liberties/constitutional rights/freedoms

5

Will increase national debt/Spending will be out of control

4

Taxes will go up

3

Rise in oil/gas prices

3

Social Security will not cover all the needs

2

Will be a lack of healthcare/care for the elderly

2

Will be a lack of jobs

2

Other

13

Nothing

4

Everything

*

No opinion

1

* Less than 0.5%

Note: Percentages add to more than 100% due to multiple responses.

Survey Methods

Results for this panel study are based on telephone interviews with 1,001 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Oct. 23-26, 2006. Respondents were randomly drawn from Gallup's nationally representative household panel, which was originally recruited through random selection methods. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

For results based on the sample of 435 adults who say the country would be better off if Republicans controlled Congress, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points.

For results based on the sample of 403 adults who say they would be worried about what would happen if Democrats win control of Congress after this fall's elections, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points.

For results based on the sample of 501 adults who say the country would be better off if Democrats controlled Congress, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points.

For results based on the sample of 485 adults who say they would be worried about what would happen if Republicans keep control of Congress after this fall's elections, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points.

6. Do you think the country would be better off if the Republicans controlled Congress, or if the Democrats controlled Congress?

Republicans

Democrats

No opinion

2006 Oct 23-26

41%

52

7

7. (Asked of adults who say the country would be better off if Republicans controlled Congress) How worried are you about what would happen if the Democratic Party wins control of Congress after this fall's elections -- very worried, somewhat worried, not too worried, or not worried at all?

BASED ON 435 ADULTS WHO SAY THE COUNTRY WOULD BE BETTER OFF IF THE REPUBLICANS CONTROLLED CONGRESS

Very
worried

Somewhat
worried

Not too
worried

Not
worried
at all

No
opinion

2006 Oct 23-26

33

40

20

7

*

* Less than 0.5%

8. (Asked of adults who say they are worried about what would happen if the Democrats win control of Congress after this fall's elections) What, in particular, are you worried will happen if the Democrats win control of Congress? [OPEN-ENDED]

BASED ON 403 ADULTS WHO ARE WORRIED ABOUT WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF THE DEMOCRATS WIN CONTROL OF CONGRESS AFTER THIS FALL'S ELECTIONS

2006 Oct 23-26

%

The U.S. will cut and run from Iraq/The war issues

22

Will raise taxes

18

Nothing will be accomplished/Things will get worse

12

Will pay less attention to national security/terrorism

10

Will spend too much/Will increase national debt

7

Will be too liberal in their views/actions

6

Will attempt to socialize healthcare/welfare programs

5

Abortion will become acceptable

5

Immigration will get out of control

4

Will show a total lack of support for the president

4

The economy will get worse

4

Morals/Ethics will continue to decline

4

Gay rights legislation will be passed

2

Supreme Court/Judicial issues will change for the worse

2

Other

15

Nothing

7

No opinion

2

Note: Percentages add to more than 100% due to multiple responses.

9. (Asked of adults who say the country would be better off if Democrats controlled Congress) How worried are you about what would happen if the Republican Party keeps control of Congress after this fall's elections -- very worried, somewhat worried, not too worried, or not worried at all?

BASED ON 501 ADULTS WHO SAY THE COUNTRY WOULD BE BETTER OFF IF THE DEMOCRATS CONTROLLED CONGRESS

Very
worried

Somewhat
worried

Not too
worried

Not
worried
at all

No
opinion

2006 Oct 23-26

53%

33

9

4

--

10. (Asked of adults who they are worried about what would happen if the Republicans keep control of Congress after this fall's elections) What, in particular, are you worried will happen if the Republicans keep control of Congress? [OPEN-ENDED]

BASED ON 485 ADULTS WHO ARE WORRIED ABOUT WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF THE REPUBLICANS KEEP CONTROL OF CONGRESS AFTER THIS FALL'S ELECTIONS

2006 Oct 23-26

%

The situation in Iraq will continue to get worse

32

Will continue to run the government poorly

13

The economy will get worse

12

More of the same/Nothing will change (nonspecific)

12

Middle class will continue to disappear/Rich get richer/Poor get poorer

8

The country will get worse/already going in the direction

7

Diminish civil liberties/constitutional rights/freedoms

5

Will increase national debt/Spending will be out of control

4

Taxes will go up

3

Rise in oil/gas prices

3

Social Security will not cover all the needs

2

Will be a lack of healthcare/care for the elderly

2

Will be a lack of jobs

2

Other

13

Nothing

4

Everything

*

No opinion

1

* Less than 0.5%

Note: Percentages add to more than 100% due to multiple responses.

Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/25285/Political-Fright-Inspires-Turnout-Democrats-Edge.aspx Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A +1 202.715.3030