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GOP has edge over Democrats in key states, poll finds

  • McClatchy Washington Bureau
  • Published Monday, May 19, 2014, at 12:38 p.m.

Republicans have gained an important edge over Democrats in the midterm elections, a new Politico poll found.

The survey, conducted May 2 to 13 and released Monday, said that in "hotly contested" states and congressional districts, likely voters said they would prefer a Republican over a Democrat by 41 percent to 34 percent. One-fourth were uncertain.

"So far," said a Politico analysis, "the 2014 midterms have shaped up as an asymmetrical contest between Republicans campaigning broadly against the health care law and Obama as a national political brand, and Democrats emphasizing a host of locally tailored issues and a narrower message about economic fairness and gender equality.

" The Republican argument appears more bluntly powerful in many of the midterm races — GOP-trending states with competitive Senate races, for instance, like Louisiana and North Carolina — but it remains to be seen whether the same set of national issues will continue to dominate the six months between now and Election Day."

There is some hope for Democrats. The survey found that even in more conservative key states, such as Arkansas or Georgia, as well as too-close-to-call House districts, voters "still lean in a liberal direction on several issues Democrats have championed this year, including immigration reform, pay equity for men and women and background checks for gun purchasers."

But Democrats suffer because health care is far more important to people. Nearly 90 percent said the 2010 health care law would be important in their voting decision, while nearly half called it very important. Other major issues were far behind.

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