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Not So Fast: Battleground Poll Shows Republicans Vulnerable In 2014


Not So Fast: Battleground Poll Shows Republicans Vulnerable In 2014


bg poll

James and I have just released a new Congressional Battleground Poll. It’s the most important poll for us, because it’s the most unique; it’s the only poll out there that looks at the real congressional battleground, and it’s been pretty much on the mark, in every election cycle, in good and bad times for Democrats.

This poll surprised us. We had accepted that the presumption that reapportionment and an off-year electorate wouldn’t allow Democrats to have a shot at making gains in the 2014 midterms.  After seeing these results, we no longer think that’s true.

You should look closely at the poll that we’ve just done.  It included 1,250 interviews in 49 Republican seats and 31 Democratic seats. We polled with incumbents’ real names, and our sample is representative of an off-year electorate. The sample is 88 percent white, so it’s very conservative.

This poll says that after six months, the country may well have decided that what happens here and in this Congress does matter to them. Voters are smarter than pundits think.  They know that Republicans control the Congress — indeed, they are the Congress, according to this poll. And we see incumbent Republicans with just 43 percent support, with job approval numbers that are lower than or equal to any of the incumbents in all of the cycles we’ve polled in the past — including wave elections such as 2006, 2008, and 2010.

This poll indicates that the pundits and elite in Washington — including us — should start over with our presumptions.  We should not take for granted that the voters out there are not watching what’s happening here. They may well be reacting to what they are seeing. They don’t like the Tea Party, and that is as clear as can be.

We will come back and look at these seats again this year.  But we hope we can start a discussion, in which we say, “let’s look again and see whether this really is an election that can matter.” Because it very well might.

The full results of the Congressional Battleground Poll can be seen here.



  1. ezracatz June 27, 2013

    Interesting and encouraging results. It is up to the US electorate to stop the gridlock by choosing more competent candidates.

    1. commserver July 5, 2013

      How do you stop those who are voting for these people from continuing to do so? The answer might be candidates that have broad appeal, not just a very narrow scope.

  2. Mark Forsyth June 27, 2013

    Not at all surprising to learn of even a remote possibility,[not saying this is remote],that support for a party whose policies target a large segment of their constituency,in favor of the small percentage with money,would be dwindling.The gop/t poopers have long ago forgotten who they are supposed to work for.

  3. Michael Campbell June 27, 2013

    The only way anything can get done is for the people to remove the control from the republicans and the tea party. Right now they are in control and can’t seem to agree on anything even their core issues.

  4. Michael Campbell June 27, 2013

    They seem totally void of any leadership.

  5. Beaulieu6 June 27, 2013

    The Republicans are simply out of touch with reality and the real world around them, in the 2010 mid-term election they have pledged to create jobs, and they haven’t and they could not even pass President Obama American Jobs Act, Speaker Boehner R-Ohio cannot even compromise with President Obama.
    The Republicans have put politics above good policy therefore they must and will be replace in the 2014 mid-term election by Democrats and Speaker John Boehner will give back the gavel to Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.
    President Obama is doing an excellent job he is leading American “FORWARD” toward a lasting prosperity as early 2015. He just recently unveiled his plan to reduce our carbon pollution in which the majority of the American people and I are strongly support.
    I’ve called on House Republicans to stand with President Obama on reducing our carbon pollution.

    1. GaelicWench June 27, 2013

      If he wants to go out with a huge feather in his cap, say that of an ostrich, he’ll get with John Kerry and vote “no” on the Keystone pipeline! This will be a very big step in the right direction towards reducing a very hazardous footprint affecting the environment and aquifers. The majority of Americans are very much opposed to this pipeline of which we Americans will not get to benefit from if completed.

    2. 1standlastword July 1, 2013

      Hate is the poison pill the republicans and their Tea Party have swallowed.
      They have strategically and collectively decided to sabotage government by not working at all with Obama so they can continue to advance their claim that Obama is in their hater minds an “Obamination”
      The fact is people are starting to pay attention and it is they who are seen as an abomination!
      They chose to default on making workable policy up to 2012 until they had the WH. That is what Rove advocated. They organized and mobilized their base in 2010 and beat the stuffing out of the progressive and got republican governors to hold down progressive agendas until they won the WH–which didn’t happen: The truth was in the pudding as “Rob-Me” as he was so sure he would win that he didn’t even both to prepare a concession speech.
      They had done absolutely nothing for 4 years and now they are recycling doing “nothing” because their insanity is convinced that doing the same thing over and over gets different results…hahahaha!!
      Where men fail (and quite frequently) nature has a way of solving our most vexing problems.
      This Tea Party scourge is the activation of a self-destruct code in the social genetics of troglodytes who persist everyday to hold this country back from its height of enlightenment.
      Time will wipe them away from the face of governance.

  6. Smeagel4T June 27, 2013

    “All politics are local.” The important thing about this poll is that it does focus-in on the local districts.

    The memo does talk about how the poll recognizes lower progressive voter turn-out in mid-terms. I sent an email to Democracy Corps asking them to consider doing polling analysis of what it would take to drive the progressive GOTV effort. What the analysis says is things are looking promising even with the typical mid-term conditions. If we take “typical mid-term conditions” as a baseline and then consider improving progressive voter turn-out, things just simply get better.

    It’s not only the congressional races that matter. It’s also the state races. All the damage, including voter disenfranchisement efforts, the GOP has been undertaking needs to be fixed. With Democrats back in office in those states, there needs to be a concerted effort to eliminate Gerrymandering and to call for special redistricting under non-partisan redistricting commissions.

    1. David L. Allison June 29, 2013

      You are right on all points. we must get out the progressive vote for national, local and state elections. We must turn back the ALEC agenda foisted on us by the Kochs and their billions.
      We have a more difficult job in the meantime. We have to talk with our republican friends and bring them over to vote at least this one time for the Democratic candidates on all levels to bring the center back to the center and away from the far right and right of center that we have been cratered into since Clinton and friends.
      Center is not a bad place for policy. The only way we get there is for progressives to wage a campaign starting now to do all we can to bring our friends on the right over to the center and to bring our progressive friends out to vote for progressive candidates.
      “Must, must, must”, “Should, should should”…I apologize but at 70 I get impatient.

    2. JO June 29, 2013

      The judicial races at every level in the states are far more important than many realize. It is a shame when 20% turnout is high norm for those races.

  7. Allan Richardson June 27, 2013

    The challenge we face, which may just now be easing, is that on a local basis, few voters judge their OWN Congressmen and Senators as harshly as they judge “that bunch in Washington,” of which their representatives are a part. And most voters, mostly conservatives but some liberals also, want “my side” to win at any cost, even when “my side” lies to them. The division of the electorate as a function of demographic parameters such as income, religion, race, language, kind of job, and residence address, is what has enabled the big money politicians to gerrymander their states into “safe” districts. Segregated housing combined with shortsighted self identification with one’s group gives them the ammunition.

    In order to defeat the Tea Party Republicans, we have to get across to those friends in the demographics that usually vote conservative Republican that these people do not care about THEM (just as the right wing nuts claim that black voters vote for Democrats because the Democrats “keep them on the plantation,” while the truth is that GOP policies keep poor people, black and white, poor and thus in the Democratic “refugee camp”). Remind them that they would be making enough money not to worry about a bit more taxes if the “anti-tax” people were not selling out to the greedy wealthy.

    1. David L. Allison June 29, 2013

      Thank you. Very good and logical post. Good luck in your campaign to make it all happen.

  8. Gary Whiddon June 27, 2013

    Not at all surprising that this poll comes from the Democrats, still dreaming of a win next year.

    They somehow ignore the 100 million gun owners ALL voting Republican – convenient.

    1. DAK27 June 28, 2013

      There are some gun owners who think the GOP is so full of shit they won’t trade their gun rights for their rights to choose, education, SS & Medicare, Veterans (the very people who sacrificed FOR those rights the GOP wants to take away mind you while the Republican assholes sit back in DC and NEVER VOLUNTEER FOR ANYTHING!)

      Besides, name ONE THING Obama has done that takes away your guns. Just one thing shouldn’t be too hard… You might have to think a little but the pain will pass, just ask Limbaugh how to do drugs.

  9. chris_p_mis June 28, 2013

    The chief dumbocrat consultant says that republicans are vulnerable? The hell you say!

    1. smilee June 28, 2013

      We have washed up your 2012 crying towel so it is now ready for 2014.

  10. DAK27 June 28, 2013

    Gary Whiddon • 9 hours ago
    Not at all surprising that this poll comes from the Democrats, still dreaming of a win next year.
    They somehow ignore the 100 million gun owners ALL voting Republican – convenient

    ris_p_mis • 7 hours ago
    The chief dumbocrat consultant says that republicans are vulnerable? The hell you say!

    It wouldn’t matter who took this poll, if it disagrees with your narrow-minded view it has to be wrong, huh? Well, “your” people said Romney would win last November…. and look who is sitting in the Whitehouse. Oh. that’s right, you have seen who is sitting in the Whitehouse and that’s your main problem. It isn’t the Democratic policies or what they want to accomplish, it is WHO is proposing them that has you up in arms. I for one wish both houses of Congress were firmly in the hands of the Democrats (70+ seats in the Senate and 400+ seats in the House) so we can finally get something accomplished in this country. For the past 5 years nothing has happened and the 8 before that something happened, but it was mostly bad. Just admit the Republicans DO NOT KNOW HOW TO GOVERN and be done with it.

    1. smilee June 28, 2013

      The GOP read the polls way wrong in 12, Rove being the biggest loser whose predictions shown only a 2 1/2% accuracy despite all the money his groups spent. Talk about being in the toilet. The GOP has been highly successful in the house and senate but mostly the house. They want to return to the strong states rights that were prevalent before the civil war which was the cause of it and their methodology has been to make the federal government non functional and bad mouth it every step of the way and in that accomplishment they have been successful but because of it the country has been very unsuccessful in functioning as it should and there is enough of these in the GOP to make sure this happens and your proposed solution would end that dysfunction. I am for it!!!!!!!!!

      1. DAK27 June 28, 2013

        We can thank gerrymandering for the “safe” seats in the House. Republicans know they cannot win fair and square so they try and skew the process in their favor. If their ideas are so much better, then what are they afraid of? Could it be their ideas are shit? It isn’t the message, the people understand their message and have said “No, thanks” but the GOP cannot buy that so they lie, cheat and steal.

    2. Lovefacts June 28, 2013

      Reading polls that aren’t geared to support one political party over another requires logic and putting aside ideology. As a rule, the GOP can’t do this, witness their reading of polls in 2012 that told them Romney would win and the GOP would take back the Senate.

  11. Catskinner June 28, 2013

    It seems as though the many Obama scandals are beginning to take their toll on the Democrats, and if the IRS hearing yesterday is any indication the situation will probably get worse. So this poll is a snap-shot in time, but the trend from here on out will be running against Democrats.

    1. DAK27 June 28, 2013

      There are no Obama scandals… just made-up lies and half-truths and constant harping about this or that. All hat and no cattle as they say. Trouble is, if there really is a scandal, people won’t buy it. Remember the boy who cried wolf? Well, Issa is that boy and the general public are just sick of the bullshit “hearings” and “investigations” that mean nothing. I for one would like to see Issa investigated for wasting $$ which I thought was the GOP’s mantra but I guess only a D spending $$ is wrong. Look at all the shit GWB pulled with the budget which was A-OK then…

      1. Catskinner June 28, 2013

        There are wall-to-wall Obama scandals!

        1. DAK27 June 28, 2013

          Name one

        2. DAK27 June 28, 2013

          Did Rush or Glen put you on hold? Or isn’t FOX News on yet? If there are “wall-to-wall” scandals, it shouldn’t take this long to write about just one.

          1. Catskinner June 28, 2013

            If you don’t know what most of them are by now, you haven’t been paying attention.
            Subject: Re: New comment posted on Not So Fast: Battleground Poll Shows Republicans Vulnerable In 2014

          2. DAK27 June 28, 2013

            So you don’t know of any real scandals… as the one making the claim there are “wall-to-wall” scandals in Obama’s government it is up to you to produce the facts to back-up your claims. If you cannot, then you are either a liar, a fool, or both.

          3. DAK27 June 28, 2013

            Guess you don’t know of any real scandals. Typical of the GOP and TEA Party types… Talk shit until someone asks you to back up your claims with facts, then you shut up and move to another site.

          4. Catskinner June 28, 2013

            I don’t have anything to do with the GOP or the Tea Party. I’ve just noticed all the scandals.

          5. DAK27 June 28, 2013

            Then you ought to be able to name one. Not one made-up by Issa or FOX News or Rush, Beck, Palin… or any of those idiots, but rather a real one. I can’t think of one, not a real one but the list is endless of the ones the GOP would LIKE to turn into something bad for Obama. Trouble is, like I’ve said, even if there was one that comes to light tomorrow, the GOP would have trouble convincing the majority of us that it was real after all the bullshit these past 5 years. THAT’S my point. It is almost impossible to tell the wheat from the chaff which I think was their primary goal. That and distracting people from their broken promises of jobs! jobs! jobs! which is what they ran on in 2010 and have yet to produce even ONE jobs bill or anything to help anyone other than the very people that got us into this mess. Republicans for America? Bullshit. It is Republicans for the Wealthy and the rest of us can go eat shit as far as they are concerned.

  12. R. DuFresne June 28, 2013

    Republican antics concerning women and SS/Medicaid have finally convinced my Republican Father that GOP are no friend to general public as a whole and even worse to minority groups, one of which he he now finds himself a member.

    So continue on RWNJs you are doing more to promote fairness/progress of Democratic Party than ANY TV ad and saving us $$.
    So oddly enough I say: TY

  13. FT66 June 28, 2013

    We can make it for another more time my fellow Dems. Who thought that anyone could beat Mitt Romney in 2012 with their mega dollars? We did it, and still 2014 can be another punch to the stomachs of republicans. What is needed is to keep engaged and make sure we deliver again come 2014.

  14. Lovefacts June 28, 2013

    The key is GOTV. Dems, and Progressives in particular, have a major problem. They think in the short-term, one to three years out. The Republicans remind me of the Chinese and Japanese, they plan and think years out. Of course, once the GOP achieves its objective, control, it always overreaches in pushing cuts to “entitlements” for the poor or middle class while passing tax cuts for the rich, corporate welfare.

    If we Dems want to regain power and protect our programs, it’s time we took the long view.
    1. VOTE in every election–local to presidential. These are critical races and set the tone for the national dialogue.
    2. Continue building upon the organization that Obama created.
    3. Educate and train people to contact voters and GOTV. People need to understand that the president can’t do anything without support from the House and Senate.
    4. Support and build our base and candidates at the local level.
    5. Run, support financially, and vote for Dem candidates in local and state elections. These are the people who move up the food chain and run for national office.
    6. As for people seeing the Congress or Senate as the problem but not their individual representative, I suggest we educate the voters about their representative.
    7. GOTV for every election.

  15. howa4x June 28, 2013

    The real problem for the republicans is what is happening in the states as well as congress. At the state level like in Texas the left has become energized realizing that what they took for granted is fast disappearing. The republican assault on women’s rights is happening at this level of government. N Dakota has the strictest abortion law in the country. In Wisconsin the republicans went after government unions, and in Michigan and Indiana, they passed a right to work for less law aimed at unions. It is here that most anti immigrant laws are passed and where derogatory statements are made. In Georgia they want a law that your undies can’t show above your pants, in SC they can’t use the term sea level rise in any state document. Va was the first to use the vaginal ultra sound probe and other states are following. It is the red states that practice voter suppression and its the red states that won’t take the Medicaid expansion. The house controlled by republicans are known for the sequester(job killer) repeal of Obamacare 38 times, and will go on record with the resurrection of DOMA and another anti abortion law and not much else. The immigration bill will have trouble passing here. They are the true definition of a do nothing congress.
    If you are a women, gay, Latino, Afro American,or young person you already know what it is like to live under tealiban rule, and they will come out in force to prevent republicans from staying in control of congress and in the states.

  16. Dominick Vila June 28, 2013

    I hope their predictions prove to be correct, but since the only pollsters I trust are Nate Silver, the only one who had it right in 2012, and the final vote, I’ll believe it when I see it. The opinions that people express when they are interviewed are often very different from what they do behind close doors or when they engage in a conversation with a person they trust. Must of the Republicans I know, including members of my family, are convinced that Barack Obama and his policies are the worst thing that could have happened to this country and that they must do whatever it takes to derail his second term agenda before he ruins our country. It doesn’t matter how many counter arguments you present, it doesn’t matter if you provide them with facts, their opinion is set in concrete and will not change.
    With more Democrats than Republicans running for re-election, our ability to hold the Senate is far from certain. I think we will keep control of the Senate, but probably by the smallest margin imaginable. I also think we are going to win some seats in the House, largely because of the anti-women and anti-ethnic minorities comments and proposals made by Republicans – especially Tea Party supporters – but I doubt we will have control the House.

    1. FT66 June 28, 2013

      Dominick Vila,
      I do hope that you realised in 2012 that Nate Silver relied on polls like this one in order to compile his own poll. Isn’t it?

      1. Dominick Vila June 28, 2013

        Yes, he compiled the results of all polls and used a system that allowed him to determine the outcome of the presidential election, when the Romney camp was already booking hotels to celebrate their landslide victory.

        1. FT66 June 28, 2013

          That was a very good laugh Dominick, and it has made my weekend even before starting it!

          1. DAK27 June 28, 2013

            Please explain why this is funny. Perhaps others would like to share in your mirth.

          2. FT66 June 28, 2013

            Please see the answer I gave to cheeriogirl above. I do not need to repeat the same thing again.

          3. cheeriogirl June 28, 2013

            What was so funny?

          4. FT66 June 28, 2013

            The funny thing is booking hotels for celebrations for their anticipated landslide victory and they ended up shedding tears, I suppose.

  17. Jim Myers June 28, 2013

    If the Democrats want any chance of winning in 2014, they should make a montage of Republican “Talking Points” from the “BEST” of the extreme Right.

    AND, push the “GET OUT THE VOTE” message in ever airing of the montage.

    AIR THOSE CONSTANTLY! Remind the voters which Party controls the agenda.

    And the best way to change the “Radical Right” is the removal of them from office.

    1. DAK27 June 28, 2013

      I agree 100%. Nothing sells the Democratic party like listening to a Republican explain his ideas. (Or rather, regurgitate what he’s been told by someone else as no Republican can think for themselves. It is strictly a hive mentality in the GOP tent with the Queen bee calling all the shots. You know, like a Communist country)

      1. Jim Myers June 28, 2013

        Thanks for the response.

        Jim Myers

  18. jcurtis595 June 28, 2013

    Without the flood of money from the Koch brothers and their ilk, the Republicans would be in the trash can already. Because so many voters, enough to make the difference, are influenced by the barrage of ads on TV, we need to overturn Citizen’s United to achieve an even playing field. With the ability of Republican governors and legislatures, brought to power by money and gerrymandering, working hard to disenfranchise likely Democrat voters, its an uphill battle. Corporate money plus stealing votes is a winning strategy. Is going to take a totally alert and engaged electorate to overcome this, and we all know how unlikely this is.

    Jay Curtis (author of THE CODE and soon to be released TREASURE).

  19. tampajim June 28, 2013

    It’s amazing that the Republicans heard from their leader that they had to change to win nationally. Well since the “autopsy” report was delivered they have continued to do the same stupid things. No bipartisan cooperation, no jobs bills on which they ran and continuing to harass women and harp about abortions. The Republican party is moving in all the wrong directions and will be a minor party, if that, in another decade.

  20. robt miller June 28, 2013

    it is time for term limits in both the house and the senate. no more career criminal corrupted jobs for life. enough already. I am sick and tired of pretend reforms and nonsense polls. it always comes down to raiding and destroying the growing numbers of middleclass poor people. eight years and gone for eight. then run again for office. the current criminals spend all of their time campaigning. they don’t earn a paycheck. they are bought and paid for by big companies. they do nothing for the voters unless big money and back room deals purchase the way forward. they are so out of touch and they don’t live like us. they don.t have a clue about real life in America. they spy on us because they become power and money crazy. we couldn’t do any worse voting for an all woman ticket excluding Palen and Bachmann and Feinstein.. why not shake it up?

  21. ChynnaBlue June 28, 2013

    Maybe because repeal Obamacare abortion repeal Obamacare abortion repeal Obamacare abortion repeal Obamacare abortion repeal Obamacare abortion repeal Obamacare abortion repeal Obamacare abortion. Oh, was there something else you wanted us to accomplish? Shut up. Repeal Obamacare abortion.

  22. Diane M June 28, 2013

    Right now, there’s nothing we can do about the Voting Rights Act–thank you John Roberts (tool of the corporations). But to help combat some of it, we should concentrate on making sure that people in these states get an ID. It won’t solve the problem but can definitely help and empower people to vote.

  23. David L. Allison June 29, 2013

    Ok, the polls look good, not great, just good. To make the dream come true we must get out the progressive vote for national, local and state elections to turn back the ALEC agenda foisted on us by the Kochs and their billions.

    We have a more difficult job in the meantime. We have to talk with our republican friends and bring them over to vote at least this one time for the Democratic candidates on all levels to bring the center back to the center and away from the far right and right of center that we have been cratered into since Clinton and friends.

    Center is not a bad place for policy. The only way we get there is for progressives to wage a campaign starting now to do all we can to bring our friends on the right over to the center and to bring our progressive friends out to vote for progressive candidates.

    “Must, must, must”, “Should, should should”…I apologize. But at 70 I get impatient.

  24. Beaulieu6 June 29, 2013

    Recently the U.S. Senates has passed an historic piece of legislation by a vote of 68 to 32 on Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill, in which will give the 11 million illegal immigrants the path to citizenship.
    Now, it is time that Congress passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill by July 7, 2013 or consider the Senate version, so President Obama can signed it into law by July 9, 2013.

  25. Beaulieu6 June 30, 2013

    President Obama is doing an excellent job he is the solution in which he is leading America “FORWARD” toward a lasting prosperity as early 2015, the real problem are the Republicans who are helding the middle-class hostage with their obstruction, on issue that matter the most to the middle-Class, therefore we will replace the Republicans in the 2014 mid-term election in with Democrats, in which we will replace Speaker Boehner with Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi D-California.
    In the 2010 mid-term election the Republicans made a pledge that they will create jobs in which they failed to pass President Obama American Jobs Act, in which would had created million of jobs.
    The Republicans failed to many time now is time to put back the Democrats in Congress and keep the Senates Democrats in 2014.

  26. Beaulieu6 July 4, 2013

    The best birthday gift that House Republicans could give America:

    1. A Universal Background Check

    2. A Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill

    3. President Obama “American Jobs Act

    4. Raise the minimum wage
    5. A Farm bill and more

  27. Beaulieu6 July 7, 2013

    In 2014 Mid-term election we must replace the Obstructionist who are the Republicans by Democrats and replace Speaker Boehner with Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi D-California.

  28. Beaulieu6 July 7, 2013

    As President Obama unveiled his plan in reducing our crbon pollution I stand with the President in that support. I believe we can reduce 85% percent of our carbon pollution by 2015, and another 85% percent by 2020 this would be a step forward that can be reached.

  29. John Klesmith July 24, 2013

    Mr. Carvile and Mr. Greenberg: We have all these groups out there complaining about politics and the Republicans, but no one is taking a holistic approach.

    We NEED you guys to lead the charge on Republicans / Tea Partiers at ALL levels of government — senate, representative, state legislatures, governors…….

    Will you stand up and lead the charge?? I can promise a ton of followers!!!


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