Half of Americans believe it doesn't matter which party is in control of Congress following the 2014 midterm elections — at least when it comes to the economy — piling on the misery for a Congress that is facing its lowest approval rating ever in an election year.
A new poll out Monday from NBC News, the Annenberg Public Policy Center, and The Wall Street Journal shows that 50 percent of Americans say that Democratic versus Republican control of Congress will have little impact on U.S. economic improvement. That's somewhat surprising, considering America's growing political polarization. Of the other 50 percent, Republicans have the slight advantage, with 25 percent believing the economy would improve under GOP control, and 23 percent favoring Democrats.
In the same survey, 45 percent say that the economy is the most important issue in the upcoming midterms – yet half of respondents to the same survey don't believe either party will make much of a difference. That sort of disillusionment echoes new data from Gallup that shows Congress in the worst shape for a midterm election in four decades.
According to Gallup, current Congressional approval of 16 percent is "on pace to be the lowest in a midterm election year since Gallup first measured it in 1974." Only 23 percent are content with the state the country is in. Those numbers track with a Gallup survey from this time last month, when only 22 percent of Americans believed that most members of Congress deserved to be reelected.
In the wake of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's primary upset, Gallup's suggestion that "the political environment in which the 2014 elections are being contested promises to be difficult for congressional incumbents" seems even more foreboding. Still, given historical reelection rates over 80 percent, a large majority of incumbents will likely find themselves back in Congress in 2015, even if it's a lower rate than years prior.
As for which party will be in charge come January, the most recent generic ballot aligns, too, with the NBC/Annenberg/WSJ poll. Real Clear Politics has Democrats with a very slim advantage, 42 percent to 41.4 percent over Republicans, but a 0.6 edge isn't much of one at all.
And FiveThirtyEight's forecast still favors Republicans.
According to half the country, though, it doesn't matter which forecast ends up correct. A changing of the guard won't likely do much for Congress' historically awful public image.