Voters nationwide overwhelmingly disapprove of the job Congress is doing, and while neither party is well loved at present, the Democrats are seen more favorably than the GOP heading into midterm elections that have the potential to tip the power balance in Washington, according to a Suffolk University/USA Today national poll of registered voters.

When it comes to electing House members, 47 percent of voters said they would be more likely to vote for a Democrat, while 32 percent said they would choose a Republican, and 6 percent want neither.

In terms of voters’ general opinions of the parties, the Democratic Party stands at 48 percent unfavorable/37 percent favorable and the Republican Party at 60 percent unfavorable/27 percent favorable.

A large majority—75 percent—disapproves of the job Congress is doing; 58 percent said they want to elect a Congress that will stand up to President Donald Trump; and 60 percent said they believe the country is on the wrong track.

“Change may be in the wind for Congress, with voters indicating a general turning-away from the Republican Party,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “We also are seeing a change in the issues voters care most about. This poll shows gun violence as a major concern, whereas in the past we would generally see the economy and terrorism as the issues voters cared most about. However, it remains to be seen whether issues or candidates’ personalities will guide voters on Election Day.”

In an open-ended question, voters chose “gun control/second amendment” (12 percent) and “school safety” (6 percent) as the most important issue affecting their congressional votes. Nine percent of those responding suggested “jobs/economy,” and “national security/terrorism” was cited by 2 percent.

Additional poll results

Previously released results from this Suffolk University/USA Today poll show that a large majority of American voters want tighter gun control laws and background checks, but they don’t expect Congress to pass such restrictions. They also showed increasing disapproval of President Donald Trump’s performance and concern about Russian meddling in U.S. elections, but they don’t think President Donald Trump is doing enough to respond to the perceived threat to American democracy.


The nationwide survey of 1,000 voters was conducted Feb. 20 through 24 using live telephone interviews of households where respondents indicated they were registered to vote. The margin of error is +/-3 percentage points at a 95 percent level of confidence. Marginals and full cross-tabulation data are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310,