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Pew: GOP Tops Dems in Handling Most Issues, Running Government

Less then two weeks before the midterm election, Republicans lead in public perception of their handling of a host of major issues.

That is according to a Pew Research Center poll of 2,003 adults Oct. 15-20.

According to the poll, 47% said Republicans "could do a better job" than Democrats (30%) of handling terrorist threats, the budget deficit (48% to 33%), the economy (44% to 38%) and immigration (44% to 39%). Only on healthcare do Democrats top Republicans, (46% to 40%).

But Democrats get higher marks than Republicans for being more willing to work with the other side (50% to 28%), being more concerned for "people like me," and for governing honestly (41% to 33%). Only in managing the government do Republicans win out, but barely (42% to 39%), just outside the 2.5 percentage point margin of error (plus or minus) for the total survey.

The Republicans are predicted to have a better than even chance of capturing the Senate to go along with their control of the House, but the survey found that fewer than half (43%) even knew that the Democrats currently control the Senate, or the Republicans the House.

There could be a major anti-incumbent vote if the poll is correct. More than two-thirds of those polled (68%) said they don't want to see "most" current representatives and senators returned to office, which is 14 percentage points higher than in 2010 and 18 points higher than 2008.