The good news for Democrats: They are winning big on issues like contraception and climate change.
The bad news: These are among the least important issues in the 2014 election — at least according to some new polling.
It has become pretty clear that Republicans have a distinct and emerging issue advantage in the 2014 campaign, and a new visualization from Gallup is about the best we've seen to bear out that point. The chart below compares the GOP's advantage or disadvantage on a given issue (the y-axis) to the percentage of voters rating that issue as "very" or "extremely" important to their vote (the x-axis).
In sum: The GOP has an advantage on eight of the nine most important issues tested by Gallup, while Democrats lead on the four least-important.
Among the issues the GOP leads on: the economy, the Islamic State (ISIS), the budget deficit, foreign affairs and even immigration.
Democrats, meanwhile, have finally gained an advantage on the Affordable Care Act — a.k.a. Obamacare — only to see it wane in importance as an issue. The lone big issue on which Democrats have an advantage (and a big one, at that) is equal pay for women.
This is the second poll in a week to show the GOP asserting leads on the most important issues in the upcoming election. A CBS News poll last week showed the GOP ahead by 21 points on terrorism, nine points on the economy and 11 points on foreign policy.
At the same time, issues aren't everything, and voters elect people, not necessarily parties. Candidates matter, and sometimes a vote is less about policy and more about personal feelings. And this is where Democrats continue to excel; even the CBS poll showed people think Democrats understand them more than Republicans, by a 50-34 margin.
If Democrats can somehow pull this off and keep the Senate, that fact will have played a major role.
But to the extent that people are heading to the ballot box Nov. 4 and voting on a choice between the two parties on the major issues of the day — and there are plenty of these folks — there's a sizeable advantage for the GOP.