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Republicans Win House, Get No Mandate in Poll Favoring Clinton

October 28, 2010

  Republicans Win House, Get No Mandate in Poll Favoring Clinton

   Republicans Lead Democrats 47 Percent to 44 Percent Among Likely Voters

Business Wire

NEW YORK -- October 28, 2010

Republicans are poised to retake the U.S. House next week without a mandate
from voters to carry out their policies, a Bloomberg National Poll shows.

The minority party, whose supporters are more motivated and enthusiastic,
leads 47 percent to 44 percent when likely voters are asked how they plan to
vote in their congressional election, according to the poll conducted Oct.
24-26. The margin is wide enough that if it holds over the next five days it
likely would give Republicans the net 39-seat gain needed to capture the

The full story is online:

At the same time, voters either are divided about or opposed to the policies
and approach that Republicans have said they would offer once in control,
particularly on cutting spending; they also want the parties to work together.

President Barack Obama’s campaigning isn’t helping Democrats, the poll shows,
with a majority saying it makes no difference and almost one-fourth (23%)
saying his efforts on behalf of his party actually make them more likely to
vote Republican. Another Democrat, former President Bill Clinton, may be
helping, as he outscores other politicians tested on popularity by a wide
margin. (10 points separate Clinton and Obama, the next politician in

“The Democrats are not in an enviable position going in, but if Republicans
are victorious, they can’t afford to just sit still,” said J. Ann Selzer,
president of Selzer & Co., a Des Moines, Iowa-based firm that conducted the
nationwide survey. “There is an expectation that if you change captains of the
ship things will go in a better direction.”

Poll respondents reflected the anti-Washington sentiment that has placed many
lawmakers on the firing line this election season.

In a cautionary note, voters overwhelmingly say they don’t want a Republican
takeover to result in gridlock in Congress. Four-fifths (80%) say they want
Republicans and Democrats to work together to get things done, as opposed to
rigidly sticking to principles. (16%)

This may pose a dilemma for Republicans who ran on a platform of change and
even confrontation. Respondents who identify with the Tea Party were most
likely to say they wanted the parties to keep to their principles, though even
in that group this was the minority view, held by 33 percent.

The favorable political landscape for Republicans in the closing days of the
campaign is largely the result of support from independent voters. They back
Republicans over Democrats, 47 percent to 34 percent. That advantage stands in
contrast with the 2008 presidential election, when Obama won by an 8-point
margin with independents, exit polls showed.

Besides independents, Republicans are seeing their strongest support among
men, senior citizens and those with incomes of more than $100,000 (49%).
Democrats have their strongest support among many of the same groups that
helped Obama win in 2008: younger voters (50% of those under age 35), women
(49%), those with incomes below $25,000 (54%) and non-whites (75%).

In the poll, Obama is viewed favorably by 49 percent of likely voters and
unfavorably by 48 percent. Women are more likely than men to see him in a
positive light, 55 percent to 43 percent.

The most motivated voters -- respondents who say they will definitely go to
the polls and consider the election to be exceptionally important – lean
toward Republican candidates rather than Democrats, 59 percent to 35 percent.
Also, 48 percent of Republicans say the election is “exceptionally important,”
compared with 32 percent of Democrats and 36 percent of independents.

The overall Republican advantage in the poll, if projected onto individual
races nationally, would almost certainly translate into a House majority.

The poll finds Republicans in an unusual position: on the brink of making
political gains while the party and its policies are unpopular. Likely voters
are evenly divided on the Republican Party, with 47 percent holding a positive
opinion. (vs. 46% who hold an unfavorable opinion)

Republicans have said they want to cut $100 billion from the federal budget as
early as January. That would amount to 21 percent of the government’s
so-called discretionary spending and target programs such as college loans for
low-income students or medical research at the National Institutes of Health.

Less than a third of poll respondents -- 31 percent – say they support cutting
federal spending in areas such as education and health care, excluding Social
Security, Medicare and defense.

On other Republican priorities, bare majorities of likely voters say they
support the repeal of the health-care overhaul passed earlier this year or
extending the Bush-era tax cuts for all, including those with the highest

Voters aren’t overwhelmingly embracing Republican views on the economy,
either: the poll shows they are divided on whether Obama’s economic policies
need more time to work (46%) or whether a complete change of course is needed.

Reflecting how some state-level polls on specific races have tightened in
recent days, Democrats are seeing some success in the home stretch. Among
those who say they waited until October to make their voting decision,
Democrats have the advantage, 52 percent to 37 percent.

Those likely to vote Republican are much more optimistic about the outcome of
the election, with 42 percent of likely Republican voters saying they are
optimistic, compared with 18 percent of likely Democratic voters. Just 4
percent of Republican voters say they are pessimistic. Overall, 73 percent of
voters say they are either optimistic or reasonably hopeful about the
election’s outcome.

There is no partisan split when it comes to anonymous money flowing into
political advertising. Sixty-four percent of voters say groups that engage in
political activity should be required to disclose their donors. Tax-exempt
outside groups, many of them opposed to Obama’s health-care and tax policies,
are spending millions to help Republicans this year.

The Bloomberg National Poll, which included interviews with 1,000 likely
voters in the November 2010 general election, has a margin of error of plus or
minus 3.1 percentage points.

The Tea Party is less popular than the traditional political parties, with
just 39 percent of voters saying they have a favorable view, compared with
about half of voters who feel that way about the Republican and Democratic

Just 29 percent of voters say it will be a change for the better if candidates
supported by the Tea Party are elected in November, down from 33 percent in
early October. Overall, 30 percent of voters consider themselves supporters of
the movement.

Almost half of likely voters (48%) say they oppose a national moratorium on
home foreclosures amid a joint investigation by attorneys general in all 50
states that seeks to determine whether banks and loan servicers used false
documents and signatures to justify foreclosures. Just more than one-third
(38%) say they favor a moratorium, while 14 percent were unsure.

Representative John Boehner of Ohio, the presumptive House speaker should
Republicans gain control of the chamber, is viewed favorably by 37 percent of
respondents and unfavorably by 37 percent. A quarter of likely voters still
say they don’t know enough about him to render an opinion. As Boehner has
received more media attention in recent weeks, his favorability has increased
slightly more than his unfavorability, compared with a Bloomberg poll in early
October. (29% favorable, 32% unfavorable in early October)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, who Republicans assail as a
profligate tax-and-spend Democrat, is viewed favorably by 33 percent of likely
voters and unfavorably by 55 percent.

Making even more campaign appearances on behalf of Democrats than Obama has
been former President Clinton. That’s for good reason. The 42nd president is
viewed favorably by 59 percent of likely voters, including 55 percent of


Meghan Womack, +1-212-617-8514