Poll shows “war on women” theme isn’t working, among other good news

A new AP/Gfk poll provides lots of good news for Republicans. Perhaps most significantly, it shows that female likely voters no longer favor the Democrats in this election.

AP/Gfk surveyed 1,608 adults. The sample included 968 likely voters. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 2.8 for all respondents and 3.6 for likely voters.

Last month, the survey found that female likely voters favored having a Congress controlled by Democrats by a margin of 47-40. Now, they favor Republican control by (a statistically insignificant) margin of 44-42.

Likely voters as a whole would like to see Republicans control Congress. The margin here is 47-39. However, among all adults the Democrats come out ahead by 38-36, a statistically insignificant margin.

Thus, the Democrats can pin their hopes on strong voter turnout. However, the survey finds little voter enthusiasm. The share who report that they are certain to vote in this year’s contests has risen just slightly since September, and interest in news about the campaign has held steady.

Likely voters prefer the Republican candidate in their particular district. Forty percent said they would vote for the GOP candidate in their House district; 32 percent said they would vote for the Democrat. This leaves a large number of “undecideds,” given how close we are to the election.

Republicans come out ahead on the issue that matters most to voters — the economy. Likely voters trust the GOP to deal more effectively than Democrats on this front by a margin of 39-31.

National security is always an important issue, and its importance has been magnified recently with the rise of ISIS. Republicans have a big advantage — 22 points — on the issue of protecting the country. They have a 10 point advantage when it comes to being trusted to deal with an international crisis.

Ebola is an electoral “wash” according to the survey. Same-sex marriage doesn’t seem to be much of a factor either.

The bad news for the GOP is that it remains unpopular. Most likely voters have a negative impression of the Republican Party, and 7 in 10 are dissatisfied by its leaders in Congress.

This, presumably, helps explain why there are still so many undecided voters — the GOP isn’t trusted enough to have yet sealed the deal. I suspect that last year’s partial government shutdown continues to contribute to the negative image.

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