Republican election win fails to excite public: poll

DALLAS (Reuters) - The Republican Party may have excited conservatives when it recaptured the House of Representatives in last week’s midterm elections but a recession-jilted public is less than enthused, according to a poll released on Thursday by the Pew Research Center.

The poll of voters and non-voters alike found the subdued mood stood in contrast to that found after the 2006 mid-terms, when the Democratic Party regained control of Congress, and the 1994 midterms when the Republicans did the same.

The survey found that 48 percent of those polled were happy with the Republican victory.

This compared to 60 percent who said they were happy in 2006 when the Democrats regained majorities in both branches of Congress and the 57 percent who applauded the historic 1994 midterm gains for the Republican Party that saw them take control of the legislature for the first time in 40 years.

“The nature of the victory itself is a little different because the Republicans this time only captured one chamber as opposed to the whole Congress,” said Carroll Doherty, associate director of the Pew Research Center.

“One of the things that you see here is that we have seen these transitions of power before and they are happening more frequently and so it is not so novel,” he told Reuters in a telephone interview.

The Republicans captured a solid majority in the House of Representatives but fell short in the Senate which retains a narrow Democratic majority.

The sour economy is also weighing on the national mood with unemployment still high despite the official end of the recession, which was brought on in part by a crisis in the still struggling housing market.

This point is underscored by the public’s lukewarm support for the Republican agenda, which is focused on deficit reduction and rolling back President Barack Obama’s policies such as healthcare reform.

Only 41 percent of those polled approved of Republican policies and plans for the future while almost the same amount or 37 percent disapproved.

This compares to 50 percent approval for Democratic plans in 2006 and 52 percent approval for Republican ones in 1994.

The poll was conducted November 4-7 among 1,255 adults and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Editing by Greg McCune