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Poll: Interest in midterm elections wanes, even as time to vote approaches

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A new poll found that a smaller percentage of voters are interested in the midterm elections now than in June.

So even though Election Day is less than a month away, a striking number of people don’t seem to care, according to a national NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.

Interest in the midterm elections was at 51 percent in June, but it dropped to 50 percent in the latest poll, even though the time to vote is quickly approaching.

This lack of interest is especially true among political independents (only 35 percent of them have high interest), and these are the people who typically have to be energized for a party to make wave-like gains in an election.

The poll also found that 55 voters said they are more likely to support a candidate running for the first time over one who has served in Congress for more than 10 years. Also, more respondents said they’re likely to support a candidate who’s willing to compromise (50 percent) rather than one who sticks to his or her positions (42 percent).

Additionally, 46 percent of likely voters said they prefer a GOP-controlled Congress, as compared to the 44 percent who want Democrats in control of both chambers.

That two-point GOP lead is greater for Republicans than it was at this same point during the 2012 presidential election (when it was even at 45 percent), but it’s less than the seven-point advantage they enjoyed in 2010 (50-43 percent).

NBC News notes that the midterms again appear to favor Republicans, largely based on President Barack Obama’s low approval rating, which was a 42 percent in the new poll, up two points from his all-time low a month ago.

A whopping 65 percent of voters believe the country is headed in the wrong direction — the highest percentage the poll has ever measured before a midterm election. And Republicans have more interest in the upcoming elections (59 percent say they’re very interested) than Democrats do (47 percent).

However, Republicans still have a negative image to overcome, as the poll found 50 percent of voters hold an unfavorable view of the GOP, as opposed to 43 who say the same of Democrats. Additionally, only 33 percent say they agree with congressional Republicans’ proposals — as compared to 41 percent who agree with Obama’s proposals and 39 percent who like what congressional Democrats propose.

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