Voters are giving Democratic candidates for the U.S. House a reason to smile as they head toward the November election.
A Quinnipiac University Poll of 1,038 voters released Wednesday found American voters back Democratic candidates over Republicans 52 to 38 percent in races for the U.S. House of Representatives nationwide.
Even unaffiliated voters, who are also referred to as independents, prefer a Democratic candidate over a Republican, 50 to 35 percent.
There’s also a gender gap for Republican candidates in the national poll.
Democrats’ lead among women is 55 to 35 percent, but their lead among men is more narrow at 48 to 42 percent. White voters are divided with 48 percent voting for a Republican and 45 percent voting for a Democrat. Democrats lead 84 to 7 percent among black voters, and 64 to 22 percent among Hispanic voters.
“By a 14-point margin, Americans would rather vote for the Democratic candidate in their local race for the U.S. House of Representatives,” Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll said. “Could the ‘blue wave’ become a tsunami?”
Connecticut has five seats in Congress. Four of them are currently held by incumbents, U.S. Reps. John B. Larson in the first, Joe Courtney in the second, Rosa DeLauro in the third, and Jim Himes in the fourth.
In the 5th Congressional District, Democratic candidate Jahana Hayes and Republican candidate Manny Santos are vying for an open seat.
The 41-town district went for Hillary Clinton in 2016 by a margin of 4.1 percent. Clinton won Connecticut by 13.6 percent. Larry Sabato, at the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, has said the the 5th District race is “likely Democratic.”
However, even though voters are more likely to send a Democratic candidate to Congress, they don’t want Congress to impeach Republican President Donald Trump. Fifty-six percent of voters surveyed said they would not like to see Congress begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump. Among Republicans, 95 percent don’t support impeachment along with 61 percent of unaffiliated voters. Meanwhile 70 percent of Democrats and 31 percent of unaffiliated voters support impeachment.
In fact, every group in the poll but the Democrats are not yet willing to support impeachment, and that was striking to Ron Schurin, an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Connecticut.
“Again we’re seven weeks out now, obviously things can change, and it’s hard for me to see how anything Trump is doing is expanding from his base,” Schurin said. “He’s making his base feel all the more intensely about some things,” but not growing support among unaffiliated voters.
“When I look at these figures,” Schurin said, the only thing that appears to give real guidance is the idea that beating the drum on impeachment won’t help the Democrats. Schurin said the poll suggests the country doesn’t want impeachment.
“Republicans have an effective talking point there – that there isn’t support for impeachment,” he said, adding Republicans could use the “spector of impeachment to dissuade people from voting democratic.”
Schurin also said the poll shows cracks for the Republicans as well.
“Every week produces very good economic numbers. That means the party in power should be riding high,” Schurin said, adding that based on the lack of support for Trump outside of the Republican party, it means that “there’s much more antipathy to the person, Donald Trump, than there has been with other recent presidents.”
Schurin said that President Obama, for much of his term, was dealing with weak economic numbers. Yet he defeated Mitt Romney by enough to suggest that there was a “base of genuine warmth and support” for Obama.
“There’s some of that for Trump, but not much outside of that base,” Schurin said.
The poll also found that while 58 percent of voters want Congress to be a check on the president, Republicans feel differently. Sixty-two percent of Republicans feel Congress is already doing enough to keep the president in check, while 91 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of unaffiliated voters would like to see Congress do more to keep the president in check.
Speaking of the president, most voters also trust the news media more than they trust Trump, except for Republicans, according to the poll.
The poll found 54 percent of all voters trust the news media more than Trump. Among Republicans, 72 percent trust Trump more than the news media. Among Democrats, 89 percent trust the news media more than Trump. Among unaffiliated voters, they trust the news media more than Trump by a 54-27 percent margin. And white voters with no college degree are divided, with 45 percent trusting Trump and 43 percent trusting the news media.
Sixty-nine percent of voters say the news media are an important part of democracy, whereas 21 percent say the news media are the “enemy of the people.” Among Republicans, voters believe the news media to be the “enemy of the people” by a 47-31 margin. Among Democrats, 95 percent believe the news media to be “part of democracy” along with 74 percent of unaffiliated voters.
Schurin said that it was not surprising that Republicans and Democrats show a wide disparity on this question. However, he said he was struck by wide disparity between Republicans and unaffiliated voters on the issue of trusting Trump, versus trusting the news media. He said the claim seems to resonate with Trump’s base, but maybe not as much as his other claims do.
The poll was conducted between Sept. 6-9 and has a 3.7 percent margin of error.