81% of Democrats worry about effect of continued GOP control of the House
64% of Republicans worry about effect of Democrats taking the House
By 50% to 44%, Americans expect GOP will retain the House
More than eight in 10 Democrats and Democratic leaners (81%) say they are very or somewhat worried about what will happen if Republicans maintain control of one or both houses of Congress in Tuesday's midterm elections. Alternatively, 66% of Republicans and Republican leaners say they are very or somewhat worried about what will happen if Democrats win one or both houses of Congress.
These data come from Gallup's Oct. 15-28 survey, which asked Republicans about their worry if Democrats gain control of one or both houses of Congress, and Democrats about their worry if Republicans maintain control of both houses. Democrats are decidedly more worried than Republicans. Worry is particularly strong among two groups of Democrats, women and those who disapprove of the job that President Donald Trump is doing. Nearly nine in 10 (87%) in both groups are very or somewhat worried about what will happen if Republicans hold the House.
Worry about what will happen if the Democrats take control of the House is also particularly pronounced among two similar groups of Republicans, self-identified conservatives and those who approve of Trump. More than three-quarters, 77%, of conservative Republicans are very or somewhat worried about what would happen if Democrats take control of at least one house of Congress, while 72% of those who approve of Trump say the same.
Republicans Seen as Likely to Retain Control of the House and Senate
In separate questions, Gallup asked Americans which party they thought was likely to retain control of the House and the Senate. Half of Americans say Republicans will retain control of the House, while 44% say the Democrats will take control.
Gallup has asked U.S. adults which party would win control of the House in that year's midterm elections in 10 such election years between 1946 and 2014. Notably, in each one, Americans' prediction came true, although the current six-percentage-point gap in the Republicans' favor is the narrowest in the trend. In the current poll, the preferences of a narrower group of likely voters on the generic congressional ballot find 54% saying they will vote for the Democratic candidate in their district, while 43% say they will vote for the Republican. This likely voter estimate indicates Democrats are in a good position to win the majority in the House.
While Americans are closely split about which party will take control of the House, a substantial majority say Republicans will keep control of the Senate. Sixty-one percent of Americans say the GOP will continue to control the Senate, while 33% predict Democrats will take control.
Not surprisingly, 87% of Republicans say the GOP will retain control of the House, while 74% of Democrats report their party will win. When asked who will control the Senate, 83% of Republicans believe their party will retain control, compared with 49% of Democrats who say their party will gain control.
Democrats are substantially more worried about what will happen if the party fails to take the U.S. House of Representatives than Republicans are if Democrats take control of one or both houses. With the midterms largely and traditionally seen as a referendum on the president in office, this likely reflects the high levels of disapproval of Trump among Democrats, and their desire to check his power. A full 89% of Democrats and independents leaning toward the party say they disprove of Trump in the Oct. 15-28 survey.
If the Republicans retain control of the House, it would be seen as a major victory for Trump and give the GOP two additional years in which to advance their policies with little opposition.
Republicans' lower level of worry about what will happen if Democrats take control of the House persists despite Trump's efforts to paint a stark picture of what would happen under a Democratic-controlled House. Lower levels of worry among Republicans may simply be related to confidence among the partisan group that they will retain control of the House and Senate.
Both political parties have attempted to use worry about the potential effects of the other's control of the houses of Congress as a tool to drive their supporters to the polls. It is possible that this fear has contributed to the high levels of voter turnout indicators favoring Democrats this election cycle and the 34% of registered voters who intend their vote as a message of opposition to Trump. However, it remains to be seen if higher levels of fear among Democrats will translate into victory at the ballot box.