Democratic candidates have a double-digit lead over their Republican counterparts in the congressional elections ahead of the November 3 election, according to a recent poll.
The USA Today/Suffolk University survey, conducted October 23-27, found that 49 percent of respondents indicated that they would be more likely to vote for an unnamed Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives than for an unnamed Republican candidate. Thirty-nine percent of likely voters surveyed indicated that they would prefer a Republican over a Democrat.
The Democratic Party currently holds the majority in the House of Representatives with 232 votes to 197. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for election on November 3. In the Senate, in which the Republicans currently have the majority, 35 seats are up for election.
The election is taking place as the Democrats are vying to take control of both houses of Congress and the presidency. In the nationwide poll, Democratic candidate Joe Biden had an 8-point lead over President Donald Trump, 52 to 44 percent.
The pollsters questioned the 1,000 likely voters just one day after the last presidential debate on October 22, during which Biden and Trump fought over a number of issues, including the coronavirus pandemic and the economy.
The majority of respondents (53 percent) said that the coronavirus pandemic had had a “major impact” on their lives. Only 30 percent of respondents said it had had a “minor impact”, the survey found.
But among the respondents, 10 percent cited the pandemic as the most important issue in deciding which candidate to vote for this year, compared to the 19 percent who cited business and jobs. Another 10 percent of likely voters chose “character/honesty/trust” as their most important topic.
There was a partisan split between these issues, with 32 percent of Republicans naming the economy as their primary concern, compared with the 4 percent who chose the pandemic. Fifteen percent of Democrats comparatively cited the pandemic as their main concern, while only 5 percent named the economy as their main concern, according to the survey. Other hot topics such as abortion rights, climate change, education, arms control and immigration were named as their main concern by 3 percent or less of voters.
One question in particular highlighted a stark contrast to the circumstances surrounding the 2016-2020 election. According to USA Today, three out of four respondents indicated that they were concerned about the possibility of violence on election day and beyond.
This represents a significant shift from October 2016, when voters asked the same question in the survey. At that time, nearly half of Americans (47 percent) indicated that they had little or no concern about violence around the election.
The 2016 poll also asked Americans about the likelihood of a peaceful transfer of power after election day. At that time four years ago, 73.1 percent of respondents were confident that there would be a peaceful transfer of power, with 40 percent saying they were “very confident” that power would pass peacefully to the president-elect.
But this year, Trump has repeatedly refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses next week. Only 55.2 percent of those surveyed were confident that this would happen, while only 23 percent said they were “very confident” that power would be transferred peacefully.