The Democratic Party has a clear advantage in its pursuit to regain control of Congress in November, according to the results of a new poll released Sunday.
With just 43 days to go until ballots are cast in the 2018 midterm elections, Democrats top Republicans nationally by 12 points — 52 percent of registered voters say they prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress versus 40 percent who want the Republicans in charge, a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll reveals.
NBC News notes the 12-point lead for Democrats is "their highest of the cycle in the poll" and "an increase from August, when they held an 8-point edge, 50 percent to 42 percent." The change, however, is within the survey's margin of error, the news outlet points out.
"Americans are hitting the brake in a midterm and trying to send the signal that they're not satisfied,” Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted the survey with Democratic pollsters at Hart Research Associates, told NBC News.
Democratic pollster Fred Young told the outlet, "The public is clearly saying, once again, they want to shake up the status quo."
A combined 52 percent of voters say they "strongly disapprove" or "somewhat disapprove" of the job President Donald Trump is doing, while 44 percent of voters say they "strongly approve" or "somewhat approve" of the job Trump is doing as president.
A combined 59 percent of voters say they would like to see either "a great deal of change" or "quite a bit of change" in the direction Trump has been leading the country.
Meanwhile, 42 percent to 31 percent of registered voters say their message in November will be for more Democrats to serve as a check and balance to Trump and congressional Republicans versus Republicans who would help the president and the GOP pass their agenda.
The survey also asked voters about their positions on key issues that someone running for Congress in 2018 could take.
Fifty-eight percent of voters said they are more likely to vote for a congressional candidate who favors a program that allows young adults who were brought into the country illegally by their parents when they were children to stay in the U.S. to attend college or work.
Fifty-five percent said they are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports cutting the tax rate for businesses and corporations, as well as for most Americans.
Fifty-one percent said they are more likely to vote for a candidate who favors stricter regulations on assault and military-style firearms.
Forty-seven percent said they are more likely to vote for a candidate who favors "Medicare for All," a single payer health-care system in which Americans would get their health insurance from one government plan that is financed in part by taxes.
Eighty-two percent said they are less likely to vote for a candidate who favors slashing Social Security and Medicare to help pay for Trump's tax cuts.
Fifty-five percent said they are less likely to vote for a candidate who favors increasing funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Fifty-three percent said they are less likely to back a candidate who supports Trump's issue positions over 90 percent of the time.
Fifty-two percent said they are less likely to vote for a candidate who supports weakening or eliminating the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare.
Forty-eight percent said they are less likely to vote for a candidate who favors abolishing ICE, the agency in charge of immigration and customs enforcement. Along those lines, 61 percent of voters said immigration helps the U.S. more than it hurts it, while 28 percent of voters said it hurts the U.S. more than it helps it.
And 44 percent said they are less likely to vote for a candidate who supports Nancy Pelosi as the next speaker of the House of Representatives if Democrats take control of Congress.
The NBC/WSJ poll of 900 voters was conducted by Hart Research Associates and Public Opinion Strategies from Sept. 16 through Sept. 19. Nearly half of respondents were reached by cell phone. The margin of error for total respondents is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points; and for results among 594 likely voters it is plus or minus 4.0 percentage points.