The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Nov. 4-7 among 1,255 adults, finds 48% saying they are happy that the Republican Party won control of the House while 34% are unhappy. Four years ago, 60% said they were happy the Democrats won full control of Congress, compared with just 24% who were unhappy. That mirrored the public’s reaction in December 1994 to the GOP winning control of Congress for the first time in 40 years (57% happy vs. 31% unhappy).
In the current survey, 52% of those who said they voted in the Nov. 2 election were happy with the outcome compared with 42% of non-voters. Still, more voters in 2006 – 60% – said they were happy with the Democrats’ victory.
The public has a mixed reaction to the Republican policies and plans for the future: 41% approve, while nearly as many (37%) disapprove. Approval is somewhat greater among voters (45%) than among non-voters (35%). But on balance, both the general public and voters express less positive views of the GOP’s policies than they did of the Democrats’ proposals after the 2006 election.
- President Obama’s approval rating stands at 44%; an identical percentage disapproves of his job performance.
- Roughly a third of Democrats (34%) say they would like to see other Democratic candidates challenge Obama for the party’s nomination in 2012. In December 1994, far more Democrats (66%) supported a primary challenge to President Clinton.
- Just 16% of registered voters who attend religious services at least once a month say election information was available at their place of worship, down from 25% after the 2006 midterms.
- The GOP continues to be seen as a leaderless party: 51% say they don’t know who leads the Republican Party while 14% volunteer that no one does. More now see John Boehner as the leader of the GOP (10%) than did so in September (4%).
- There is no clear front-runner for the 2012 Republican nomination for president: Sarah Palin (15%), Mike Huckabee (15%), and Mitt Romney (13%) all receive about the same levels of support.