Newest ABC News/Wash Post poll on Midterms could have real meaning

  • In the Democrat-heavy sample sponsored by liberal-leaning news outlets, Biden and Democrats fare poorly overall
  • Republicans slightly favor Trump as their nominee in 2024
  • But Democrats overwhelmingly do not want Biden to be their nominee
  • Biden’s approval and economy numbers are all time lows for this poll
  • Democrats’ lead among Blacks has fallen 18 points
  • Republicans have picked up ground with Blacks, Hispanics, people with no college degree, and women under 40
  • Suburban women, Independent men and Independent women favor Republicans
  • Registered voters slightly favor Trump in a rematch with Biden
  • More people say they prefer a Republican-controlled Congress

The following is a news analysis.

For obvious reasons, it’s hard to place a lot of faith in polls these days. In recent months, polling has claimed a wide range of outcomes for the upcoming Midterm elections. 

Some polls predict a landslide victory for the Republican Party. That’s typical of Midterms when the party that’s opposite of the president’s tends to make large gains. Add to that President Joe Biden’s lackluster popularity, ongoing support for Donald Trump, the poor economy, crime, the border crisis, energy and education concerns, and many other problems; and some Republicans are feeling confident. 

But other polls have found Republicans have lost their momentum and may realize few-to-no big wins. Add to that opposition to Donald Trump, concerns about restrictions on abortion, and media and big tech support for Democrats; and some Democrats are feeling hopeful.

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll may be worth examining from a predictive standpoint. 

As usual, the pollsters interviewed a Democrat-heavy sample (though not as heavily-skewed left as many polls). Also possibly impacting the results, according to one respondent, the pollsters asked to survey “the youngest female in the household,” and— if no female was said to be in the household— asked to survey “the youngest male in the household” to answer the poll questions.

Shopping for the youth demographics in a poll is more likely to skew the sample toward Democrats or liberal positions, say experts. (I have contacted the poll’s producer, Langer Research, to ask for comment, but have not yet heard back as of this writing.)

But what makes this poll notable is that is found some remarkably weak findings for Democrats, even with the Democrat-leaning sample and the alleged shopping for youth respondents.


The headline on the poll results is: “Biden Struggles, As Does His Party; Most Dems Look Elsewhere for 2024.”

The fact that the liberal-leaning news outlets that sponsored the poll, ABC News and The Washington Post, actually approved a headline that’s overtly negative for Biden and Democrats suggests matters may be even worse than advertised for liberal causes.

A “clear majority” of Democrats and Democrat-leaning Independents (56%) say Biden should not be the presidential nominee in 2024.

Since 1946, “when a president’s approval has been less than 50 percent – as Biden’s is by a considerable margin now – his party has lost an average of 37 seats,” says the poll analysis.

On the other hand, Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents favor Trump as their nominee over any other Republican, by a slim margin: 47%-46%.

Biden job performance among Americans

39% approve (all time low for Biden in this poll)

53% disapprove

Biden on the economy

36% approve (all time low for Biden in this poll)

57% disapprove

74% say the economy is in bad shape (up from 58% just after Biden took office)

Preference of Likely Voters in Midterms

51% favor Republicans

46% favor Democrats

Preference among Registered Voters in Trump v. Biden Rematch

48% favor Trump

46% favor Biden

Among Registered Voters, Trump edges out Biden in a rematch (48%- 46%), which doesn’t seem to make much sense when paired with the poll’s finding that 52% of Americans say Trump should be charged with a crime. (As a side note, one poll respondent says the poll results on this Trump crime question do not reflect the choice he was given and selected. More on that later.)

Abortion is fifth on the list of issues impacting “propensity to vote.” 

31% say Democrats are too permissive on abortion

50% say Republicans are too restrictive on abortion

Supreme Court ruling on abortion being a matter for the states to decide:

29% support it

64% oppose it

Supporters of Supreme Court ruling are more apt to say voting is more important to them than in previous Midterms. 

“Certain to vote” in Midterms

76% of those who support Supreme Court abortion ruling

70% of those who oppose Supreme Court abortion ruling

Top issue impacting votes for Congress

84% Economy

77% Education

76% Inflation

69% Crime 

62% Abortion

61% Immigration

50% Climate Change

Republicans lead Democrats by 16 points on the economy, 19 points on inflation, and 14 points on crime (the largest margin since 1991). Republicans lead Democrats on crime by 34 points among Independents. 

Democrats beat Republicans by 23 points on climate change; 20 points on abortion; and 6 points on education. 

Trust on handling immigration (likely referring to illegal immigration), is divided 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans.

More broadly, Americans are even, 42-42 percent, on which party they trust more to cope with the main problems the country faces. This is a high for Republicans since at least 2006, and a net loss for Democrats who typically had a 5 point lead on this question since 1982).

In 2018: 55%-39% preferred Democrat-controlled Congress as check on Trump

Today: 48%-45% prefer a Republican-controlled Congress as a check on Biden

Among “Likely Voters” today

51%-46% prefer a Republican controlled Congess as a check on Biden

Among Registered Voters in competitive (close) Congressional districts

55% favor Republicans (mirroring the 24 lead for Republicans in solid GOP districts)

34% favor Democrats

“Certain to Vote” in Midterms

72% of Whites

55% of Blacks

46% of Hispanics

Democrats’ lead among Blacks has shrunk 18 points from at least a 79 point margin in the last four Midterm exit polls to 61 points.

Same with Hispanics: the Democrats’ lead is down from 40 a point margin in 2018.

In the 2019 exit poll, Registered Voters with no college degree split their votes evenly between Democrats and Republicans. But today, Republican candidates have an 11 point advantage in this group.

Women under age 40 support the Democratic candidate in their district by 19 points. That’s way down from 43 points in the 2018 exit poll. 

Even in the Democrat heavy sample…

Suburban women

47% favor Republicans

44% favor Democrats 

Independent women

+5 for Republicans over Democrats

Independent men

+3 for Republicans over Democrats

Overall Independents

47% for Republicans

42% for Democrats

Overall, Independents voted for Democrats by 12 points in 2018; Republicans by 14 points in 2014 (when the GOP won 13 House seats) and by 19 points in 2010 (when the GOP won 63 seats).

Total Polling Sample (1,006 people)

28% Democrats (281.68)

24% Republicans (241.44)

41% Independents (412.46)

Registered Voters Sample (908 people among the 1,006)

27% Democrats (245.16)

26% Republicans (236.08)

40% Independents (363.2)

Now, regarding this January 6th question in the poll and the results:

16. The U.S. Justice Department is currently investigating Donald Trump on issues including his fundraising, his handling of classified materials and his actions related to the storming of the U.S. Capitol last January. Given what you’ve heard or read, do you think Trump should or should not be charged with a crime in any of these matters? 

Should  52%

Should not 39%

No opinion 10%

According to one polling respondent, the pollster actually offered a different choice of answer not listed in the results: “Don’t know enough yet.” He says he was not given the option of “No opinion.”

”If I had been given only [‘should’ or ‘should not’ as choices], I would have said Trump should NOT be charged. I think [the unlisted choice given] may have skewed an important question. If they spun that to ‘no opinion’ I think that could be misleading.”

Again, I contacted the producer of the survey, Langer Research Associates, but haven’t heard back from them.

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1 thought on “Newest ABC News/Wash Post poll on Midterms could have real meaning”

  1. The endless polling is getting tiresome and irritating. I often wonder if polls are to reflect public sentiment or form it.

    The only poll that matters is on election day.

    The only plus I see for Democrats is the poor selection of Republicans for many offices. In my state I’m not impressed with the Republican candidate for Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State or many other office. BUT, the worst Republican is still far better than the best Democrat at this point.

    Sadly, elections have come down to who is the least offensive candidate, who will do the least damage to the country.

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