“2018 is shaping up as a referendum on President Donald Trump,” Democratic pollster Peter Hart of Hart Research Associates, who conducted the poll with Republican pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies, told NBC News.
Democrats have a seven-point lead over Republicans on the generic congressional ballot for this fall’s midterm elections, the poll said, while Democrats have much more intense enthusiasm heading into the pivotal contests.
The poll showed voters favor Democrats by a 47-40 edge on the generic ballot, which is down from a 50-40 lead Democrats had in March. Democrats need to flip 23 seats this fall to secure a majority.
However, 66 percent of Democratic voters have a high level of interest in voting this fall, while 49 percent of Republicans do. A high level of interest is marked by a score of 9 or 10 on 10-point scale.
The percentages are reminiscent of the last time a president was facing intense opposition during his first term. Data from NBC/WSJ polling in 2010, when Republicans seized the majority in the House during President Barack Obama’s first term, showed that 66 percent of GOP voters had a high level of interest, while 49 percent of Democrats said as much.
But it’s not a “knockout” for Democrats, yet, according to the pollsters. Voters favored Democrats by double-digits in 2006 and 2008, when the party enjoyed wave victories and seized control in Congress.
The poll was conducted April 8-11 of 900 adults – including nearly half by cell phone. It has an overall margin of error of plus-minus 3.3 percentage points. The margin of error for the 720 registered voters in the poll is plus-minus 3.7 percentage points.