High voter turnout expected in midterm elections, University poll finds

Americans will turn out in large numbers to vote in this year’s midterm elections, and voters tend to split from the president’s policies, a GW poll released Wednesday found.

The first GW Politics Poll – conducted by the School of Media and Public Affairs, the Graduate School of Political Management and the political science department – found that 78 percent of registered voters will “definitely” vote in the midterm elections, 15 percent “probably will” and just 2 percent said they wouldn’t vote, according to a release.

Voters favored Democrats over Republicans on a generic House ballot with 45 percent choosing Democrats compared to 38 percent choosing Republicans, the release states.

“Democratic voters remain more politically engaged than Republican voters on several dimensions – including their willingness to do the spadework of an election campaign,” John Sides, an associate professor of political science, said in the release.

The poll found that respondents had a negative view of the country’s future, with 55 percent responding that they think the United States is “off on the wrong track.”

Voters were also surveyed on major policy issues like immigration and gun regulation, and asked about their general approval rating of President Donald Trump.

Most respondents said they want to find a pathway to citizenship for those who came to the United States illegally, with 33 percent strongly favoring and 30 percent somewhat favoring a new solution.

The poll’s results also indicated that Americans are more open to stricter gun laws. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said regulations on gun sales should be stricter, 30 percent wanted no change and just 12 percent said gun laws should soften.

More than half – 55 percent – of those polled said they have an unfavorable opinion of Trump, while 43 percent said they view the president favorably. The poll also collected opinions on other current and former politicians like Former President Barack Obama, Sen. Bernie Sanders I-Vt. and House Speaker Paul Ryan.

The poll is the first of four surveys on public perception that will be fielded before and after the midterm elections by public opinion and data company YouGov, according to the release. The first poll surveyed 3,150 registered voters from May 14 to 30 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points, the release states.

The three remaining surveys will use the same respondents to “track public views over the course of the campaign,” according to the release.

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