Foreign policy, the budget deficit and immigration are among the most dominant issues for Republican voters; each is named by 70% or more as “very important” to their vote in the fall. But only about half of Democratic voters say each of these issues are very important to their vote decisions.
In contrast, both the environment and economic inequality rate as very important to about seven-in-ten Democratic voters—but no more than about four-in-ten Republicans.
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Sept. 2-9 among 2,002 adults (including 1,552 registered voters), finds that terrorism and the economy are top issues for both Republican and Democratic voters, though in both cases they rate as more important for Republicans than Democrats.
Health care also remains a key issue for voters in both parties this fall, with 77% saying it is very important to their vote. Democratic voters are more likely than Republican voters (80% vs. 75%) to say health care will be very important to their vote in November.
Overall, opinions of the Affordable Care Act have changed little over the past year. Currently, 44% approve of the law, while 52% disapprove.
The survey also finds that GOP voters continue to be more engaged with the midterm election than Democrats. Republican voters are 15 points more likely than Democrats to say they’ve given a lot of thought to the election, and 12 points more likely to say they definitely will vote. GOP voters also express more enthusiasm for voting in the upcoming midterm than their Democratic counterparts.
As a result, while the so-called “generic ballot” slightly favors the Democrats (47% of voters say they plan to vote for the Democratic candidate or lean toward the Democrat, while 42% say they plan to vote for the Republican or lean Republican), the likely electorate is more favorable to Republican candidates than the overall electorate. When the generic ballot is narrowed to a subset of voters most likely to cast votes in November (1,150 likely voters), the result is more divided: 44% support the Democratic candidate, 47% support the Republican candidate.