With just nine days to go until Election Day, Republicans' national lead appears to be crystallizing, with voters still preferring a GOP-led Congress and viewing Republican campaigns significantly less negatively than those of Democrats.
According to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Annenberg poll, a majority of likely voters - 52 percent - say they would like to see Capitol Hill controlled by Republicans, compared to 41 percent who favor the president's party. (For registered voters, it's 46 percent GOP and 42 percent Democrat-controlled.)
While neither party can boast stellar approval ratings, those surveyed gave Republicans better marks when asked whether what they've heard, seen or read in the past few weeks has made them feel more or less favorable towards either party.
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Among likely voters, 25 percent said they're feeling better about the Democratic Party, compared to 53 percent who are feeling worse -- a net negative of 28 points.
For Republicans, 35 percent said the last few weeks have made them more favorable towards the GOP, versus 40 percent who are more down on the party -- a net negative of only five points.
Independents seem to have been turned off by Democrats during the last few weeks of campaigning as well. Forty-six percent said they're feeling less favorable to the party, versus just 15 percent who are viewing Democrats in a better light. (They're a bit kinder to Republicans, with 37 percent feeling more negative and 21 percent feeling more positive.)
The president's low approval ratings on foreign policy aren't helping Democrats, either. Just four in ten likely voters approve of his handling of the terrorist militant group ISIS, while 57 percent disapprove.
The poll was conducted October 17-October 23. For registered voters, the margin of error is 3.4 percent. For likely voters, the margin of error is 4.6 percent.