WASHINGTON, Oct 2: An opinion poll released on Monday shows that the unpopularity of the Iraq war may help opposition Democrats take control of the US Senate in the mid-term elections scheduled for next month.
The MSNBC-McClatchy poll, conducted in eight states, indicates that Democrats are highly likely to gain several Senate seats, with some contests still rated as toss-ups.
In the Senate, Democrats need to win six seats to regain control of the chamber, which, according to the poll, is very much possible. It’s because five of the races are toss-ups; one, of Pennsylvania, now narrowly shows a gain for Democrats; and the party maintains control of Senator Maria Cantwell’s Senate seat in Washington.
In addition, another survey released on Sunday indicated trouble for Republicans in case of three other seats currently held by the ruling party.
Democrat candidates are better positioned to win in those Senate races that are largely being shaped by voters’ unease over Iraq and a sense that the nation is on the wrong track.
In all eight states polled by MSNBC-McClatchy, Iraq, and not terrorism, is believed to be the most important issue. And in keeping with the partisan political rhetoric, Democratic Senate candidates win among those who believe Iraq is the most important issue, whereas Republican Senate candidates win among those who believe terrorism is the most important issue.
Opinions on withdrawal of troops from Iraq and disapproval of the Bush administration’s policies in Iraq also help the Democrats as a majority of voters in each state disapprove of how the war has been handled. Also, in each of these states, more respondents want to see a partial or total withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
A majority of voters in all eight states polled believe that ‘things in the country’ are ‘off on the wrong track’. Most of the likely voters in all these states are either ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ worried about the direction of the nation’s economy in the next few years and worried about another terrorist attack.
Although recent polling shows Mr Bush’s presidential approval rating improving slightly, public opinion of the president remains somewhat weak with approval ratings below 50 per cent in each state poll.