Washington (CNN) – Republicans have an edge in enthusiasm over Democrats as the Midterm Election season begins to heat up, according to a new national survey.
Seventy percent of registered Republican voters questioned in a new CBS News poll say they are very or somewhat excited about voting in November, compared to 58% of Democrats. Only 47% of independent voters say they're very or somewhat excited to cast ballots in the midterms. And 81% of registered Republicans say they'll definitely vote in November, compared to 68% of registered Democrats.
Voter intensity is just one of a slew of indicators used to gauge what may actually happen come election day, and is not always accurate.
"These data are best read as a reflection of the enthusiasm difference as the campaign starts, rather than as predictive of turnout," adds the release from CBS News.
A vote for or against Obama?
President Obama's not on the ballot come November, but Republicans are framing the contests as a referendum on the President and his policies, especially the Affordable Care Act, which is commonly known as Obamacare. The poll indicates that 29% see the midterms as a chance to vote against Obama, with 19% seeing their vote as a move to support the President. Forty-six percent say the President's not a factor in their vote.
"Most Republican voters (52%) see the upcoming midterm elections as a chance to vote against the President. By contrast, fewer Democrats (43%) see 2014 as a chance to support President Obama. For most independents (55%) the President isn't a factor at all – but those who see a connection are breaking more than two-to-one against him," says the CBS release.
According to the poll, Republicans and Democrats are deadlocked at 39% in the generic ballot question. A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey indicated the GOP holding an insignificant one-point margin (44%-43%) over the Democrats.
The generic ballot question, which asks to choose between a Democrat or Republican in respondents' congressional district without identifying the candidates, is one of the most commonly used indicators when it comes to the battle for Congress. But since the battle for the House of Representatives are 435 individual races rather than one national contest, the poll results are a long way from predicting what will happen in midterm elections.
State of Play
Democrats hold a 55-45 majority in the Senate (53 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party), but are defending 21 of the 36 seats up in November, with half of those Democratic-held seats in red or purple states.
In the House, Democrats need to pick up 17 GOP-held seats to win back control of the Republican-led chamber, a feat political handicappers say is unlikely considering the shrinking number of competitive congressional districts.
When it comes to governors' races, the GOP's defending 22 of the 36 seats up for grabs in November. And some of them are in states that Obama carried in both 2008 and 2012, such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, Maine, Nevada and New Mexico.
The CBS News poll was conducted March 20-23, with 1,097 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.