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Democrats may have trouble taking back Congress in 2018, poll finds

Despite President Trump’s record unpopularity — his approval rating stands at about 38 percent — a new poll from ABC News and the Washington Post indicates that voters’ view of him won’t necessarily weigh on how they’ll vote in the midterms next November.

Just over half of registered voters said that Trump would not be a factor in how they planned to vote in the 2018 congressional elections, with 20 percent saying they’d vote to support him and 24 percent saying they’d vote against.


That leaves a four-point margin between those who are voting to support Trump and those who are voting to oppose, which is less than it was leading up to the 2010 and 2014 midterms. Leading up to both of those elections, 27 percent of voters said they would pick congressional candidates to oppose President Barack Obama. In 2006, 35 percent of voters said they’d vote to oppose President George W. Bush.

And Republicans are more likely to vote to support Trump than Democrats are to vote to oppose: 52 percent of registered Republicans said they’d vote to back Trump while only 41 percent of Dems said they’d vote to oppose him.

Nonetheless, the majority of voters do want a Democratic majority in Congress in 2018 — but by a margin that is widest among all adults and narrows as voting likelihood increases. Fifty-three percent of the general population say they’d like to see a Democratic majority in Congress act as a check on Trump, while 38 percent said they wanted a Republican Congress to support Trump’s agenda. But among likely voters, only 50 percent said they wanted Dems in Congress to oppose the president, and 41 said they wanted Republicans there to support him. The margin shrinks from 14 points among the general population to 9 points among likely voters.

In another recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, only 37 percent of respondents said they thought the Democratic Party “stood for something” — the majority see the Democrats as only standing against Trump. And according to a Bloomberg poll released Tuesday, Hillary Clinton’s popularity has declined since the election — making her the first presidential candidate in 25 years to become less popular after losing the election, and even less popular than Trump.

Even with a deeply unpopular Republican-led government, the Democrats may still be fighting an uphill battle to take back control of Congress in 2018.