A new poll for George Washington University tends to confirm what President Barack Obama and many political analysts have been saying: Democrats are headed for serious losses in November's midterm elections unless they can generate a big turnout.
The survey, conducted by Republican pollster Ed Goeas and Democratic pollster Celinda Lake, finds that the GOP has a 5-point advantage over Democrats among most-likely voters, 45 percent to 40 percent, in congressional races.
Goeas, in a separate analysis of the polling data distributed to reporters, said, "What we have found as we look deeper into the data of this latest battleground poll is the power of President Obama to lead has dwindled to almost nothing. He may still be able to rally base Democratic voters, but his capacity to lead the totality of the American electorate has ended."
Fifty-three percent of Americans disapprove of Obama's job performance and 44 percent approve, according to the survey. Regarding Obama's signature health care law, the numbers parallel the president's job-approval ratings; 53 percent disapprove of Obamacare and 43 percent approve.
"The biggest challenge for the Democrats is turnout," Lake told a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor Tuesday.
She said the difference could be "really dramatic this time," according to The Hill newspaper.
"Both parties are universally despised," she added. "The best thing the Republicans have going for them is how much the Democrats are hated. The best thing the Democrats have going for them is how much the Republicans are hated."
This underscores, again, the importance of turnout. Among all voters, not just those most likely to vote, the Republicans lose their advantage; 43 percent of all voters say they would vote for a Republican and 43 percent would prefer a Democrat, with 14 percent undecided. The ability of the major parties to get their voters to the polls will be key.