Democracy Corps and Resurgent Republic conducted the latest bi-partisan NPR poll of the 12-state competitive Senate battleground. This poll shows an incredibly stable race, but with emerging evidence to explain why Democratic incumbents and candidates are surprising people and keeping so many red-states very much in play. The Democratic candidates have achieved a net positive job performance and a positive approval score 4 points above the President. But the President too has seen his positive approval go up 3 points and he has a higher approval on handling ISIS. Mitch McConnell is the most unpopular leader tested in the battleground and he is now as well-known as Harry Reid.
Most important, Democrats won the big message contrast tested for the first time in this NPR Senate battleground by 4 points – that is 7 points ahead of the margin in these seats. It says the real message contest is tilting the seats toward Democrats.
That is apparent now in why people are voting for their candidates. For Republicans, they are motivated by the economy, ISIS and foreign policy, and the new health care law. Democrats are motivated by the economy, the candidates’ views on women’s issues and the new health care law.
Critically, the gap has closed on enthusiasm and intention to vote. Democratic and Republican voters are equally consolidate and determined to vote.
Finally, the Republicans are being hurt by their approach to the Affordable Care Act. Only 42 percent are opposed to Obamacare because it is a big government solution and more spending. With 10 percent in this conservative battleground looking for a government run, single-payer Canadian-style system, it is not surprising that the attacks on the Affordable Care Act are only for the base. They have not hurt the Democratic candidates.
These races are on a knife-edge and have yet to break. But they could.