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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending November 1, 2014

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Is there a Republican Congress coming on Tuesday? The votes are already being cast in a number of states around the country.

Voters believe more strongly than ever that the upcoming midterm elections will put Republicans in charge of the Senate. Confidence that Democrats will regain control of the House continues to fall. If these scenarios play out, President Obama will be facing a Congress entirely in the hands of the opposition party.

Just eight percent (8%) of voters think the current Congress is doing a good or excellent job. Sixty-two percent (62%) rate Congress' performance as poor.

Going into Election Day, white voters are nearly twice as likely as blacks to believe America is a more divided nation than it was four years ago. For one-in-three of all voters, the president is what this election is all about. 

Voters are evenly divided when asked if Obama is a plus or a minus to political candidates in their states. But Republicans attach a lot more importance than Democrats do to whether a candidate voted for the president in 2012.

Obama’s daily job approval ratings continue to run in the high negative teens.

But then the president is at odds with most voters on several major issues including the new national health care lawillegal immigrationtaxes and spending and how to respond to the deadly Ebola virus.

Voters are getting increasingly fed up with a federal government that won’t give them what they want.

On the economic front, consumer and investor confidence began to go up last year but have flat-lined in recent months.

Meanwhile, in the area of national security, the number of voters who think the United States and its allies are winning the War on Terror continues to fall to new lows. More than ever they see a terrorist attack as the biggest threat to the nation. 

Following two recent deadly incidents in Canada that appear terrorist related, U.S. voters also feel more strongly that radical Islamic terrorism is a threat to this country, but they acknowledge overwhelmingly that not all so-called “lone wolf” attacks can be prevented.

Only 26% think the country is heading in the right direction, a finding that has been under 30% for most of the past year.

With only a few days until the midterm elections, Republicans have taken the lead on the Generic Congressional Ballot.  But the two parties have been separated by two points or less most weeks this year.

Republicans need a net gain of six seats to take control of the Senate, and looking over the past week’s surveys, AlaskaArkansasColorado and South Dakota look like good pickup possibilities for the GOP.  Republicans have a strong chance in Louisiana, too, but  this race appears headed for a runoff.

The Georgia Senate race may be decided in a runoff as well. This seat is now held by a Republican.

Contests for two other current Democratic Senate seats, Iowa and North Carolina, are Toss-Ups.

Michigan looks safe for Democrats, while New Hampshire remains a long shot for GOP challenger Scott Brown.

As for the governor’s races we looked at this week, Republicans have the advantage in Arkansas and Georgia, while Colorado appears headed to a photo finish. 

See our latest video election update.

In other surveys last week:

-- Common Core or not, just one-in-three Americans rate the performance of the nation's schools positively.

-- Most Americans think college sports run the show and have too much influence over educational institutions.

-- Most also believe that half or more big-time college athletic programs regularly break the rules.

-- Most adults don’t think Halloween is just for kids, and a few more will be playing dress up this year.

-- Some schools continue to prohibit Halloween costumes and candy, and most Americans still disagree with these policies. 

-- Don’t forget to turn your clocks back an hour tonight because it’s the end of Daylight Saving Time for this year.

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