65% of Republicans thought the GOP would keep both houses
Divided control, although it could simply lead to more gridlock in Washington, turns out to be a victory of sorts for Democratic voters this year. In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, conducted before last night’s outcome was determined, Democrats claimed they would be happy with Democrats winning control of the House of Representatives and Republicans retaining control of the Senate.
But for Republican voters, split control of the Congress is definitely a bad thing.
Of course, this is not the ideal outcome for anyone. Just 13% of Democrats and 8% of Republicans favored split control of Congress in the poll. Both Republicans and Democrats would have preferred their own party capturing both chambers.
But Democrats, after years of being in the minority in both House and Senate, see control of one as an improvement. Republicans, who spent most of the last session critical of the Congress (and especially of their own party’s Senate leadership), have become much more positive this fall, since the Senate battle over the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. One in three Republicans now approve of how Congress is doing its job, and nearly two-thirds approve of how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is handling his. McConnell had spent much of the last two years actively disliked by members of his own party.
The disappointment and unhappiness Republicans report in imagining the split outcome may also be due to their high expectations. Democratic voters were slightly more likely to expect split control as to say they thought Democrats would win control of both Houses of Congress.
But two-thirds of GOP voters expected Republicans to keep control of both chambers.