Democratic candidates are gaining support from women and older American likely voters, making them more likely to win the U.S. House majority, according to a recent national poll by the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the Los Angeles Times.
The latest poll conducted from Aug. 22 to Sept. 24 showed that 51 percent of likely voters would support a Democratic candidate if the elections were held today compared to 41 percent for a Republican candidate.
The poll surveyed slightly over 5,000 U.S. residents, including over 4,100 registered voters and over 2,500 likely midterm voters. It also showed that 57 percent of likely voters disapprove of President Donald Trump and 45 percent saw their vote in the upcoming election as a “statement of opposition” to Trump.
Michael Murphy, co-director for USC Dornsife’s Center for the Political Future, told USC News that voters’ dislike for Trump is hurting Republicans’ chances of winning House seats.
“We now know from the data that President Trump is a drag on the midterm,” Murphy told USC News. “He has all of the problems of a president facing his first midterm. He is still trying to grab the primary rather than capitalizing on these other issues, like the economy.”
Half of female voters saw their vote as an opposition to Trump, according to the poll. Compared with a previous poll from July and August, suburban women’s support of Democratic candidates grew nine points, giving Democrats a 61 percentage point advantage among likely female voters.
“In the past, Republicans and Democrats alike have wooed suburban women through their identities as mothers, and this specific shift away from the Republican Party comes after the controversial images of immigrant children in detention hit the news,” gender studies and political science professor Hancock Alfaro told USC News. “Through their support of this policy, Republican candidates also became complicit in a policy of family separation.”
Likely voters ages 65 and older also showed more support for Democratic candidates, with 51 percent supporting Democrats compared to 45 percent of older likely voters supporting Republicans. Half of these respondents said that health care is a key issue that can swing their vote if a candidate doesn’t support their views.
Forty percent of likely voters supported building Trump’s border wall, while three out of four likely voters said they support a path to citizenship for immigrant children whose parents illegally brought them to live in the U.S.
“The vast majority [of Republican voters] said [immigration] is one of the most serious problems facing the country today,” Jill Darling, survey director for the USC Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research told USC News. “However, we are not seeing any evidence that it is driving the ‘red wave’ that President Trump has predicted.”