The Campaign Spot

This Is the Poll the Obama Administration Has Been Dreading

If the Wall Street Journal poll is representative of public opinion, Obama’s benefit of the doubt has reached its own expiration date:

Did you see this coming?

Americans are more pessimistic about the state of the country and less confident in President Barack Obama’s leadership than at any point since Mr. Obama entered the White House, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. Sixty-two percent of adults in the survey feel the country is on the wrong track, the highest level since before the 2008 election. Just one-third think the economy will get better over the next year, a 7-point drop from a month ago and the low point of Mr. Obama’s tenure. Amid anxiety over the nation’s course, support for Mr. Obama and other incumbents is eroding. For the first time, more people disapprove of Mr. Obama’s job performance than approve.

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The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll has some encouraging news for Republicans: Voters increasingly prefer a Congress controlled by the GOP.

Some 45% said they preferred a Republican controlled Congress as the outcome of the 2010 midterm elections compared with 43% who said they preferred Democrats remain in control.

That might not seem like such a big difference, but the numbers have been trending — slowly — in the GOP’s favor.

There’s been a notable decline in support for a Democratic-controlled Congress in WSJ/NBC polls. In November 2008, the public preferred a Democratic Congress by a 12-point, 48%-36% margin. By January 2010, the parties tied at 41%. Now, the GOP is in the lead.

Today’s numbers aren’t statistically significant over the last WSJ/NBC poll in May when voters gave Republicans a one-point 44%-43% edge over Democrats. But it is the first time since 2002 that the GOP has lead for two consecutive months in our surveys when voters were asked which party they want to control Congress.

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