WASHINGTON Ã¢â‚¬â€ Voters in tightly-contested “swing” districts favor Republican candidates this year, according to a poll Tuesday that showed the vulnerability of President Barack Obama’s ruling Democrats in November’s congressional elections.
The National Public Radio survey polled 1,200 likely voters in 70 House districts seen by experts as most likely to oust incumbents in November, and found voters are choosing Republicans over Democrats 49 percent to 41 percent.
The poll, which aimed to measure voter sentiment in battleground House districts where a switch in party control is possible, also found Obama’s approval ratings to be much lower than they are nationally, with 54 percent disapproving of his performance, while just 40 percent approved.
“It’s very problematic for the president to have a 40 percent approval rating in these 60 Democratic districts,” said Republican pollster Glen Bolger, who conducted the polling for NPR along with Democrat Stan Greenberg.
“When you look at history, when the president is below 50 percent nationally, his party tends to lose more than 40 seats,” Bolger said.
The pollsters said the NPR poll provides evidence of a trend that has been apparent all year — that Republican voters are energized, while Democrats are dispirited ahead of a midterm vote in which Republicans need just 40 pickups to take control of the House.
“What that means is that in a close election, the Republican enthusiasm will put Republicans over the top, just like in ’06 and ’08, the Democratic enthusiasm put the Democrats over the top,” Bolger said.