(Bloomberg) -- Democrats would retake the House of Representatives if U.S. midterm elections were held today, but they need to optimize their get-out-the-vote efforts to do so, according to the results of new CBS election poll.
Despite the Democratic Party’s best results since June in the survey of Congressional preferences, they need voters who haven’t typically showed up to vote in great numbers during recent midterms, CBS said in the poll, released Sunday. That includes younger voters and racial minorities.
Separately, a Washington Post-ABC survey on Sunday showed voter enthusiasm up across almost all demographic groups, but greatest among younger adults, minorities, and those who say they favor putting Democrats in control of the House.
The CBS Battleground Tracker poll showed Democrats stand to win 226 House seats in November, a small cushion above the 218 needed for a majority. The margin of error is plus or minus 14 seats, though, suggesting control of the House remains in doubt.
The number of tight races has resulted in a widening set of likely outcomes, including an ongoing prospect of Republicans keeping their majority, CBS said.
The network’s survey described a neck-and-neck race for who would actually show up to vote. It found 80 percent of Democrats and 81 percent of Republicans would “definitely” be casting their ballot, while among those planning to vote, 61 percent of Democrats reported themselves as “very enthusiastic” about voting, compared to 62 percent of Republicans.
Women, who were supporting Democrats over Republicans by 12 percentage points, were also helping that party. Men supported Republicans by 7 percentage points, representing a widening gender gap.
There were some positive trends for Republicans as they look to hold their majorities in the House and Senate. The number of Republicans expressing the highest level of enthusiasm has jumped 11 points since September, and they saw a 6 point increase in voters who said they would be angry if the other party has control of Congress.
Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have suggested that surging enthusiasm arose from the bitter confirmation fight over U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Preliminary polling has left the question unresolved.
Health care was the top issue on many voters minds, with 70 percent saying it would be very important to their vote. The economy came second, with 67 percent calling it very important. Voters trust Democrats more with health care and Republicans with the economy, the survey found.
The CBS poll conducted by YouGov included results from 4,831 registered voters in 61 competitive congressional districts between Oct. 9 and 12.
In 2014, midterm voter turnout fell to its lowest level in more than half a century, according to the Washington Post. Sunday’s Washington Post-ABC poll showed certainty to vote up 32 percentage points among women younger than age 40 compared with four years ago.
That survey showed voters who prefer the Democratic candidate in their House district at 53 percent against 42 percent for Republicans. Among likely voters, though, the Democratic edge was 13 points.
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