September 26, 2018

Voter Enthusiasm at Record High in Nationalized Midterm Environment

4. Public now divided over which party could better handle the economy

Democratic Party holds wide advantage on issue of health careAs the midterms approach, the two parties run about even on the issue of the economy, while the Democratic Party holds a wide advantage on health care and modest leads on foreign policy and immigration.

Overall, 41% of the public says they think the Democratic Party could do a better job dealing with the economy; about as many (40%) say the Republican Party could do the better job.

The Democratic Party holds a narrow 7-point edge over the Republican Party as the party seen as better able to handle the issue of immigration (46%-39%) and a similar 8-point advantage (45%-37%) on which party could better handle foreign policy.

The Democratic Party holds a sizable advantage on health care: 51% say the Democratic Party could do the better job on this issue compared with just 35% who name the Republican Party.

The two parties currently run even on the economy (40% say the Republican Party could do a better job, 41% say the Democratic Party). This represents a shift from three months ago, when more said the GOP (45%) than the Democratic Party (36%) could do the better job on the economy.

At the same time, the Democratic Party’s edge on the issue of immigration has narrowed since the summer. In June, the Democratic Party was favored by 14 points on this issue, compared with a 7-point edge today.

Public views on which party could better handle foreign policy and health care are little changed over the last year.

Democratic Party favorability rises ahead of midterms

Democratic Party regains favorability advantage over GOPThe public now holds a more favorable view of the Democratic than Republican Party – marking a shift from earlier this year when the two parties were rated about the same.

Overall, 53% have a favorable view of the Democratic Party compared with 42% who have an unfavorable view. Favorable ratings are up 11 points from 42% in March.

By contrast, more hold an unfavorable (52%) than favorable (43%) view of the Republican Party. GOP ratings are about the same as they were in the spring. Over the past 10 years, the Democratic Party has often held a favorability advantage over the GOP, with last spring being one of several exceptions.

Among independents who lean Democratic, ratings of the Democratic Party have rebounded from recent years. In March, just 53% of Democratic leaners said they had a favorable view of the party, 81% now say this. Ratings among Democrats have seen a more modest movement in the positive direction (82% favorable in March; 92% favorable today).