“Are the midterm elections a referendum on the presidency?” Get ready to hear that question posed incessantly on cable news as the 2014 races heat up. The conventional wisdom says the answer to that question is yes. But as Americans vote for their representatives in November, will they really be casting their ballots out of spite or admiration for the president?
Forty one percent of respondents in a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll say their vote in the upcoming election is “not a signal either way about Obama.” Twenty-four percent say their vote will be a vote of support for the president, while 33 percent say theirs will be a vote of disapproval. (These numbers were similar to the 2006 midterms, when George W. Bush saw a Democratic turnover in the House.)
So, yes, Obama (whose approval is now at 41 percent) will cast a shadow over the elections this fall. Forty-two percent of respondents said a direct Obama endorsement of a candidate would make them less likely to vote for that candidate. But as the poll reveals, there are other issues weighing more heavily on voters’ minds.
Among Democrats, 81 percent say a candidate’s willingness to raise the minimum wage will make a vote for them more likely; 75 percent say they’d be more willing to support a candidate who will fix the health care law.
Among Republicans, 88 percent say reducing spending will draw their vote, while 70 percent say supporting the health care law’s repeal will do the same.
But an overwhelming majority of both parties — 89 percent of Democrats and 86 percent of Republicans — agree that they want candidates who can compromise with the other side. That might be easier said in a poll than actually done in the voting booth, though. The issues that divide Republicans and Democrats are still polarizing. And, come this November, those issues may be more influential than the shadow of the president.
What We're Following See More »
"North Korea said on Friday it might test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean after President Donald Trump vowed to destroy the reclusive country, with leader Kim Jong Un promising to make Trump pay dearly for his threats. Kim did not specify what action he would take against the United States or Trump, whom he called a 'mentally deranged U.S. dotard' in the latest bout of insults the two leaders have traded in recent weeks."
President Trump this afternoon announced another round of sanctions on North Korea, calling the regime "a continuing threat." The executive order, which Trump relayed to Congress, bans any ship or plane that has visited North Korea from visiting the United States within 180 days. The order also authorizes sanctions on any financial institution doing business with North Korea, and permits the secretaries of State and the Treasury to sanction any person involved in trading with North Korea, operating a port there, or involved in a variety of industries there.
In response to a reporter's question, President Trump said "he’ll be looking to impose further financial penalties on North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic tests. ... The U.N. has passed two resolutions recently aimed at squeezing the North Korean economy by cutting off oil, labor and exports to the nation." Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that South Korea's unification ministry is sending an $8m aid package aimed at infants and pregnant women in North Korea. The "humanitarian gesture [is] at odds with calls by Japan and the US for unwavering economic and diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang."
President Trump on Tuesday night met with UN Secretary Guterres and President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajcak. In both cases, as per releases from the White House, Trump pressed them on the need to reform the UN bureaucracy.