September 23rd, 2008
08:15 PM ET
11 years ago

Democrats widen lead in battle for Congress

Democrats have the upper hand in the fight for Captiol Hill.

Democrats have the upper hand in the fight for Captiol Hill.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Call it the overlooked election. An intense battle is going on right now for control of Congress, but it's overshadowed in the media by a historic race for the White House.

So which party has the upper hand in the fight for Capitol Hill?

The answer, according to a new national poll, appears to be the Democrats. In a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Tuesday, 56 percent of those questioned are backing the Democratic candidate for Congress, while 42 percent support the Republicans.

That's a change from immediately after the GOP convention, when the Democrats had only a 3-point lead lead over the Republicans, 49 percent to 46 percent.

"The change may simply be due to the convention bounce fading for local Republicans," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "We've seen evidence that the bounce for John McCain and Sarah Palin was not a permanent change in the horse race. Since the Dems have had a double-digit lead in the so-called 'generic ballot' question throughout the year, it's possible that the current numbers are just reverting back to normal levels for 2008."

The "generic ballot" question asked voters to choose between an unnamed Democratic candidate versus an unnamed Republican in the House race in their district. In reality, people vote for specific candidates in the 435 separate district elections for the House of Representatives.

The poll also indicates that most people don't think Congress is doing a good job at all. Only 22 percent approve of how Congress is handling its job, with 78 percent disapproving. The Democrats who currently control both houses of Congress fare better. Forty-four percent of those polled approve of how Democratic congressional leaders are doing their job, up 8 percentage points from July. Fifty-four percent of those polled disapprove.

The Democrats currently control 235 seats in the House to the Republicans 199, with one seat vacant. The Senate is split 49 to 49, with two independents. But both of those independent senators caucus with the Democrats, giving the party the majority in the Senate.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll was taken Friday through sunday, with 1,020 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The poll's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the overall sample, and plus or minus 4.5 percentage points for the questions on how Congress and its leaders are
handling their jobs.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Extra • John McCain
soundoff (203 Responses)
  1. Leo Spriggins

    Great with a majority in Congress and a Democratic President that wont veto everything that comes across his desk we might just get somewhere until the next Republican gets in office.

    September 23, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  2. JD

    Congress, controlled by the Dems is at it's lowest approval rating in almost forever. Dems making banks loan money to folks that could not pay it back put us in this mess. . . How blind people are to the real facts.

    Facts don't lie, but the media does. If folks would wake up they would see the welfare state put us in this position and we need REAL conservatives in DC. We are becoming a socialist state and that will lead to our total failure.

    September 23, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  3. Skip, a black man

    I`m going to vote for Obama because i`m black, and dont really know better.

    September 23, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  4. Hillary 2012

    Republican party president

    Democratic party congress

    September 23, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  5. Donna

    can we have a poll about who's tired of polls?

    In the grand scheme of things, these polls don't mean much..if you wait a little longer, you will see another poll that shows exactly the opposite....

    September 23, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  6. Linda from Prescott AZ

    democrats are the party of change.

    September 23, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  7. Michael

    Another day, another lie.


    September 23, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  8. Masno

    I considered voting for McCain because I thought he might persuade his party to understand the experts and join in seriously addressing major global crises, even though I didn't think he was particularly smart. Then I realized from his choices that he either has no clout within the Republican Party or is only in the race for himself. Regardless of how good or decent he might think he is, I wouldn't dream of voting for him now.

    September 23, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  9. Dayahka

    This alleged "lead" will not last that long if these jokers vote in favor of turning America into a communist state, which is what Bush and his gang of criminals want to do. Every person in Congress needs to be told that a vote in favor of this scam is a vote in favor of treason, a vote in favor of grand theft larceny, a vote in favor of the dustbin of history. The credibility of the financial system is at zero right now, but if they vote this bill in the historical credibility of the US will be zero. Bush is a zero and he apparently wants to drag down his country and the world with him. Just say NO. No way. Forget it, Paulson!

    September 23, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  10. Brennan

    The analists all said 2 or so years ago that a blue wave was going to hit in 06' they just didnt figure it would keep going on for 2 years! God bless Obama/ Biden, God bless the new majority controlled congress in 08', and God bless the Democratic Party!

    September 23, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  11. JD

    Better idea, we should all vote for the party opposite the incumbent in congress, throw out all the folks in there now and start with fresh ideas.

    September 23, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  12. Bill Charlotte,NC

    Four more years of this mess and we will all be speaking Chinese because they will own us.

    September 23, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  13. Chad

    Bye Bye paycheck if Obama and Biden get elected. All they will do is raise taxes in order to fund all of their grand ideas. Someone has to pay. Since when did it become unpatriotic to be successful in this country? All we are doing is creating a nation of whiners who want to let the government take care of them.

    September 23, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  14. Mateo in SoCal

    You think the polls are bad, wait until Election Day! Let's make this election about ISSUES not about name calling, and voting for the guy/gal you can have a beer with (or shoot a Moose with). I'd rather have a so-called "elitist" running my country than a bunch of drunken (or pious) hillbilly in breeders!


    September 23, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    I wonder if Palin got a ride in the PM's car.

    September 23, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  16. No Way No How No McCain!!!!!

    Because the Democrats are for people, while the Republicans are for the rich and big business.

    September 23, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  17. Shawn - GA

    I say that none of us vote for the incumbant, no matter what party. We need to remind Washington that WE the people have a voice

    September 23, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  18. debbie

    for all the Obama supporters. Be careful what you wish for.
    If Obama wins----expectations will be high for some big changes so I hope he lives up to the hype and comes through with all the campaign promises.

    If he does not, this will not set well. Americans are impatient people.

    September 23, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  19. Bob Indianapolis IN

    "Sandra Pelosi "???Dude, You are obviously both ignorant and ill-informed!

    September 23, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  20. Sarah


    September 23, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  21. MBFLA

    Turn every state blue in November!

    September 23, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  22. Deb, Allentown, PA

    The people who complain about socialism really need to get a clue. What do you think this bailout is? And which party proposed it? Hmmmmm????

    Besides, why is socialism such a dirty word? Many countries in Europe are "socialist" and they have a better standing of living than we do...better education, better healthcare, higher life expectancies, lower infant mortality, fewer suicides, and a higher general satisfaction with their lives. I think we could learn a few things from countries like Norway and Sweden.

    September 23, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. Rob

    Thank you God. Amen. I pray every night that Obama and the Democrats take back this country. The grown ups need to clean up the mess from the past 8 years and restore the greatness of this country.

    September 23, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  24. Truth hurts

    Americans are tired of this mess!! We want change we can believe in!! Not the same old Mcsame!!

    September 23, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  25. Chris T.

    Stupid Poll. Most districts are extremely polarized or most districts love their congressional reps. too much too vote them out. A better poll would be multiple polls in each of the most vulnerable districts or closest Senate races. Rasmussen Reports has done just that and suprisingly Republicans are holding off Democrats or are not that far behind. For example, in MN Republican Coleman is holding off Franken having the very slight edge. Also the embattled Senator from Alaska, Stevens, is remarkably still in the election.

    September 23, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
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