- A new CNN poll finds large swaths of Americans angry at the direction of the country
- Republicans need a net gain of six seats to win control of the Senate
- A majority of Americans don't approve of Obama's job performance
Nearly 7 in 10 Americans are angry at the direction the country is headed and 53% of Americans disapprove of President Barack Obama's job performance, two troubling signs for Democrats one week before the midterm elections, a new CNN/ORC International Poll shows.
Democrats are battling to try and save the Senate majority, while hoping to prevent more losses in the House, which the GOP controls by a 234 to 201 margin.
In the Senate, Republicans need a net gain of six seats, and several state polls in the past month of contested races show that Democrats are in danger of losing control of the majority, and thus Congress. Currently, Democrats control the Senate by a 55-45 margin with two of those seats held by independents that align themselves politically with Democrats.
The CNN/ORC poll shows that 30% of Americans are "very angry" and 38% are "somewhat angry" about the way things are going in the country, while 31% expressed "no anger" at all. CNN Polling Director Keating Holland notes the 31% of "very angry" Americans matches the mood of the country in 2010 when Republicans took back control of the House.
In next week's election, the emotion of anger could be a motivating factor in driving out GOP voters. While 36% of Republican voters said they are "extremely" or "very enthusiastic," about voting this year, only 26% of Democrats use that language to describe themselves, in the CNN/ORC poll.
"That 10 point difference is certain to affect turnout and hurt Democrats' chances in marginal districts," Holland said about the 435 House races on the ballot next Tuesday.
And this enthusiasm gap, coupled with dissatisfaction over how the president is leading the country, is likely to influence the dozen races that will decide which political party controls the Senate for the next two years. A deeper look into the polling data shows that Obama's job performance is only viewed favorably in the Northeast, 51%, and in urban areas, 60%.
All but one of the races that will decide which party controls the Senate in 2015 are located in the three other geographic areas of the country and Obama's approval rating is in the low 40's in each one.
· In the Midwest, where Democrats are trying to hold an open Senate seat in Iowa, Obama has a 56% disapproval rating.
· In the South, where three Democratic incumbents are battling for re-election in Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Republicans are trying to hold an open seat in Georgia, as well as protect Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, the president has a 52% disapproval rating.
· In the West where Democratic incumbents are fighting for another six year term in Alaska and Colorado, Obama's disapproval rating is 55%.
Making matters even more difficult for Democrats is that Obama's disapproval rating among rural voters is 70% and the eight states listed above have sizable rural populations.
Nationally, when asked if they agree with Obama on issues that matter most to them, only 42% said yes, while 55% said they disagreed with him, in the poll.
It is no surprise that Obama has purposely stayed away from campaigning for Senate candidates in difficult contests.
It is widely believed that Democratic seats in Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia will be won by Republicans in November. If this were to happen, Republicans will only need a net gain of three more seats to take back the Senate majority.
As for Congress, only 13% of Americans approve of how it is handling its job, while 85% disapprove.