The Washington Times - May 1, 2013, 07:41AM

Voters, by a 41 percent to 37 percent margin, say they’re more likely to vote for a Democrat than a Republican in the 2014 midterm elections, said a poll released by Quinnipiac University Wednesday morning.

Voters narrowly trust Democrats more on health care and Republicans on the budget deficit, gun policy and taxes, while the economy and immigration are split decisions.

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“The 1998 elections, during President Bill Clinton’s second term, is the last recent exception to the rule that the sixth year of a president’s term in office produces electoral gains for the opposition party,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “The Democratic edge in the so-called congressional ballot is small at this point in the cycle, but there has been a consistent Democratic edge for several months.”

Mr. Brown did point out that Democrats had a 41 percent to 34 percent lead in April 2009, likely influenced by President Obama’s 58 percent to 30 percent approval/disapproval split at the time. Eighteen months later, Republicans scored a historic victory, picking up 63 House seats.

Now, however, 48 percent of voters approve of Mr. Obama’s job performance and 45 percent disapprove.

“The Democratic edge in the generic ballot does not seem to be linked to any strong public affection for the president’s party,” Mr. Brown said. “They are down on both groups, just Democrats a bit less.”

The survey of 1,471 registered voters was conducted from April 25-29 and has a margin of error of 2.6 percentage points. Thirty-five percent of those polled self-identified as Democrats, compared to 29 percent who said they were independents and 28 percent Republicans.