Your vote: Trump a key factor in midterm elections, poll shows

President Trump made his third stump visit to Montana recently at Missoula International Airport. He’ll make a fourth visit later this week, with a stopover in Bozeman. (Martin Kidston/Missoula Current)

(Courthouse News) A majority of voters, 67 percent, said their opinion of President Donald Trump will play a factor in who they vote for on Election Day, and almost half of voters surveyed said their opinion of Trump will make them more likely to vote Democrat.

According to the NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, more than two out of three registered voters said the president will be either a major or minor factor in their vote for congressional candidates. Compared to a time period just before the 2014 midterms, 47 percent said their opinion of President Barack Obama would factor into their voting decision, while 52 percent said their opinion of Obama did not factor in.

While people predictably split down party lines, with 80 percent of Republicans and 91 percent of Democrats saying Trump will make them more likely to vote for their own party’s candidates, the poll shows that gender lines are also split.

According to the poll, 51 percent of women said the president will be a “major” factor in their midterm vote, compared to just 37 percent of men.

“For many voters, the midterm elections are the first time they will weigh in on President Trump since 2016,” said Lee Miringoff, director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Voters who see Trump as a big deal in deciding their 2018 vote are twice as likely to support a Democrat in their district for Congress.”

Most notable are the independents, 40 percent of whom said they are more likely to vote Democrat, compared to 29 percent who said they would likely support Republicans.

“In the face of unprecedented enthusiasm of both Democratic and Republican core voters, independents may be the tipping point on November 6th,” Miringoff said.

Democrats currently hold a 10-percent advantage over Republicans in the generic ballot, with their lead growing with independent voters.

“Again, the Democrats are in the driver’s seat on the generic congressional ballot question,” Miringoff said. “They are benefitting from movement from independents to their side.”

When it comes to the issues, the economy was polled as having the highest priority, followed by health care and immigration.

Amid talk of cutting Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, 60 percent of those polled said they would prefer Congress to roll back last year’s tax cuts than reduce funding for the programs, including 43 percent of Republicans.

“If midterm voters are thinking tax cuts when they cast their ballot, President Trump is in for a surprise,” Miringoff said. “Not only do six in ten Americans want to reverse the tax cuts if it means cutting entitlements, but even Trump voters divide on the issue. 38% prefer cutting entitlements to balance the budget. 36% want to reverse last year’s tax cuts if entitlements are on the chopping block, and 24% are just unsure.”