A New York Times/Siena College survey shows Democrats remain unexpectedly competitive in the battle for Congress heading into November's midterms.
Falling gas prices and President Joe Biden's rising job approval rating partly explain the poll results.
Democrats also appear to be benefiting from the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade, and the constant media presence of former President Donald Trump, the Times reported.
Still, high inflation, a struggling economy, a relatively unpopular president and a gloomy national mood remain challenging for Democrats.
"Republicans would lead by six percentage points in the race for Congress, if they could merely win over voters who say they agree with the G.O.P. most on the economy," the Times reported.
Even Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., sees a difficult landscape for his party. He told fellow senators earlier this week that Democrats will lose control of the House.
The Times/Siena College poll showed that Republicans still score higher on some social issues, including illegal immigration.
Voters trust the Republicans more on the economy by a 52% to 38% margin, and, by an 18-point margin, say economic issues will determine their vote more than societal issues.
However, 9% of the voters who trust Republicans more on economic issues and say that those issues are most important are voting for Democrats, the Times said.
Jeanine Spanjers, 44, from Racine, Wis., is a state employee who told the Times she believed that Democrats were handing out too many government subsidies.
"What's getting on my nerves is all this free stuff," Spanjers told the Times. "Republicans would never do something like that. It disincentivizes people to go out and do something. I'm starting to feel like people are being rewarded for not doing anything."
Nevertheless, Spanjers said she planned to vote only for Democrats, saying abortion is her top issue, the Times said.
Biden's approval rating, while higher than its low point, remains a paltry 42%. Just 15% of respondents said that Biden's policies had helped them.
The left-leaning Times said the survey "underscored how Republicans have been weakened by Mr. Trump's decision to play a vocal role in his party's primaries."
Contrary to other polls, which show Trump leading Biden in a 2024 rematch, the Times/Siena poll showed the president ahead of the former president by 3 points.
The Times/Siena survey showed that respondents said the word "extreme" described the Republicans better than the Democrats by 43% to 37%.
The Times/Siena survey included 1,399 registered voters nationwide, including an oversample of 522 Hispanic voters from Sept. 6-14. The margin of error is +/- 3.6 percentage points.
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