A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll of 900 registered voters (645 of whom are likely voters) conducted between October 14-17 found President Trump’s approval rating at 47% — the highest ever for this particular poll.
Since the beginning of the year, the president’s approval rating has fluctuated, jumping between 39% and 46%, only reaching 47% this month. His disapproval rating has also fluctuated, but dropped significantly in recent months, landing at a low of 49% in this most recent survey.
When asked to rate how interested they are in the midterm elections on a scale of one to ten (one being least interested/ten being most interested), 59% of respondents chose a ten, which is an 8% jump from September and a 12% jump from August.
Voter enthusiasm is up 15% and 7% from the 2014 and 2010 midterms, respectively, indicating that this year’s elections could show larger than average voter turnout.
Among likely voters, Democrats have the overall edge, with 50% saying they would prefer a Democrat-controlled Congress, and 41% saying they would prefer that Republicans retain control. Prior to the "Red Wave" in 2010 in which Republicans made historic gains in the House of Representatives, the same survey had Republicans holding a 7% lead over Democrats.
When asked which issues were most important in deciding their votes, 21% of registered voters chose "the economy and jobs," which was the number one answer. In a follow-up question, the survey asked which political party would do best handling the economy. 43% chose the Republican Party, while 28% chose the Democratic Party — a strong 15% advantage for Republicans.
However, the second and third most important issues were health care and immigration (17% and 12%, respectively), and on those issues, respondents chose the Democratic Party (+18% for health care and +4% for immigration).
This poll is a mixed bag, but there are certainly interesting trends present. Voters are not only divided on candidates, but on issues as well. While they favor Democrats in general, they favor Republicans on the economy. Given the strength of the current economy and its position in the poll, as well as the president’s increased approval rating, perhaps the alleged "Blue Wave" won’t be as powerful as many progressives have predicted.