For the first time in this election cycle, the WVWVAF-Democracy Corps Senate battleground shows a consistent move toward the Democrats across a broad range of indicators that suggest the Democrats are more likely to hold control of the U.S. Senate than not. This election is still on a knife-edge; the overall vote remains unchanged and many states are within a couple of points. But the underlying dynamics and key metrics have all moved away from the Republicans and some of these changes are dramatic. The context remains a battleground that Romney won by 8 points, though, Democrats are poised to hold on.
This is a unique and large scale survey for Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund. It includes a core battleground survey of 1,000 interviews and an additional 1,200 interviews conducted in the battleground states of North Carolina, Iowa, Georgia and Colorado. These surveys were completed on October 1 and were incorporated into the battleground.
The big story is that the Democratic campaigns have succeeded in making the candidates’ positions on women’s issues the second biggest reason voters are voting for the Democrat – after the economy, of course. At the same time, minority voters’ support for the Affordable Care Act has risen dramatically – and for them, the health care law has become the second largest factor in their vote.
The result is that those voting Democratic are as consolidated and as intent on voting as those voting for Republicans. That Republican advantage is now gone in the battleground.
A Democratic “in-your shoes” agenda for working women and men and strong populist message is beginning to become the dominant narrative, even in this very Republican battleground. But when Republicans are attacked on their opposition to equal pay and to women not being charged more for insurance, and when they are attacked on their use of unlimited secret money to keep taxes down for billionaires and CEOs, the race shifts from Republicans ahead by 2 points to Democrats ahead by 2. That gain is produced by even more gains among the Rising American Electorate, including unmarried women.
The reason why the battle has become less uphill is the improved position of the Democratic Party and Democratic incumbents, and the worsening standing of Republican candidates and Mitch McConnell. At the same time, the President’s approval rating has risen, and support for his handling of ISIS is strong. Support has risen for the Affordable Care Act. But perhaps as important, Republicans and conservative Republicans are not as strongly opposed to the President.
It all adds up to a final month where Democrats have the chance to take these gains a step further and hold on to their Senate majority.
“WVWVAF is a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization. It participated in this survey to gather information about how to improve civic engagement of under-represented segments of the American population.”