November 11th, 2009
02:01 PM ET
4 years ago

Poll: GOP makes gains in battle for Congress

With a year to go before midterm congressional elections, a new national poll suggests that Republicans are making gains.
With a year to go before midterm congressional elections, a new national poll suggests that Republicans are making gains.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – With a year to go before midterm congressional elections, a new national poll suggests that Republicans are making gains but that Americans are divided over whether they'd vote for the Democratic or Republican candidate in their district.

According to a Gallup survey released Wednesday morning, 48 percent of registered voters questioned answered that they would vote for the Republican candidate if the 2010 election for the House was held today, while 44 percent said they would back the Democrat in the race. The GOP's 4 point advantage is within the poll's sampling error.

The Republican Party's lead is a switch from a Gallup poll released a month ago, when 46 percent said they'd back a Democrat, a two point advantage over the GOP. Republicans trailed the Democrats by 6 points when Gallup questioned Americans in July.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released last week indicated that 50 percent of registered voters would vote for the Democratic candidate, with 44 percent saying they would back the Republican candidate. The 6-point advantage for the Democrats was within that poll's sampling error.

Other polls conducted over the past two months also suggest a division among Americans when it comes to the generic ballot question, which asks a respondent if they would vote for a Democrat or Republican in their congressional district without naming any specific candidates.

According to the Gallup poll, Democrats said overwhelmingly they would vote for a Democratic candidate, while Republican voters said they would overwhelmingly back the GOP candidate. Independents broke 52 percent to 30 percent for the Republicans. That 22 point advantage for the GOP among Independents is up from a 9 point margin last month.

Next November, all 435 seats in the House and more than a third of the Senate seats are up for grabs. Democrats currently hold a 258-177 advantage in the House, and a 20 seat margin in the Senate.

"When Democratic and Republican candidates for U.S. House square off a year from now, they may face a very different electorate than the one that put Barack Obama in power a year ago," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "In 2008, Democratic voters were generally more enthusiastic about voting than Republicans; now it's the GOP's turn to benefit from an enthusiasm gap."

The Gallup poll was conducted by telephone from November 5-8, with the 894 registered voters questioned mostly before the House health care reform vote on November 7. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: Congress • Popular Posts
soundoff (299 Responses)
  1. MP--VA

    Local issues, not national spectacles, dictate whether or not people vote Dem or Rep. I don't hold anything against Republican candidates in my state because of my revulsion of Sarah Palin, senior nutjob from the Great State of Alaska. I vote against Sarah Palin because of Sarah Palin.

    November 11, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  2. Ginny

    Obama needs to be the transformative leader, not the bureaucrat. Big difference. Stick to the message and FOLLOW THROUGH. It's what any good leader does. He inspired us to follow, but then he lost confidence in his own vision, so we've scattered to the winds.

    November 11, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  3. frank

    We are impatient. It took a while for our reckless economic behavior to catch up with us, and it will take a while to fix the mistakes of the last 8 years. With the Senate involved in law making, it takes a long time to do anything anyway.

    November 11, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. IS IT 2010 YET ??

    2010 cannot get here fast enough !

    November 11, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. Eleanor

    The Repugnants *may* be making a few slight gains in the polls today. But, if you think the majority of this country...who are still suffering daily from the destruction of the last 8 years of GOP rule will replace Democrats with these same criminals and lunatics again. You've got another think coming. But you keep wishing and hoping CNN. It ain't gonna happen! Not for a long...long...long...time.

    Palin and Bacchman 2012! A guaranteed WIN!...for the Democrats!

    November 11, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  6. Stu

    I think it is amazing that people think the Democratic party is actually for the "working person" or "middle class." The dems may croon to the unions and skilled labor, but witness the increasing tax burden put on those very voters by the party of welfare and entitlements.

    November 11, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  7. JW in JH

    The main problem with the American electorate is they want something for nothing. Health care reform was a winning platform in '08 for Obama and Congress... but then when we discover that reforming health care ACTUALLY COSTS MONEY, everyone acts shocked and betrayed!

    Either accept, wholeheartedly, the financial and moral shortcomings of for-profit health insurance (pre-existing condition clauses, booting people for technicalities when they get sick, denied claims, people going broke because of health problems) OR expect to spend some public money to fill in the gaps. Profits and patient welfare are a conflict of interest. If the private sector could make money giving us better coverage they would have done it already. Pick a side and accept the cost!

    November 11, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  8. donttreadonme

    I guess all that talk of a "dead party" was a little premature. I am certain that the left is going nuts right now.
    You can only run against Bush for so long. Time to stand and deliver!

    November 11, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  9. mouli

    This country is brainwashed by the two-party system, with the independents playing a spoiler role or at best game-changing role. No credible result will come out of this system. No amount of changing from within the party will occur. It is the same old beaten slogans and tracks. Only a revolutionary third party, with massive support from the people, can take this country in the right direction. Of course, people are impatient sending their money to the same old coffers, thus perpetuating the legacy of Republicans and Democrats. Yes, it is indeed a sorry state of affairs.

    November 11, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  10. Karen

    Why are there polls? We are *always* split half and half. It's such a waste.

    November 11, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  11. JohnP

    It really makes no difference if it's the democrats or the republicans. The game's the same, the names are the same. What is really needed are term limits. Fresh faces, new ideas.

    November 11, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  12. "For the People by the People"

    What ever has happened to our country? The fat cats in Congress just keep taking money from the evil and crooked lobbyist & are power hungry & morally corrupt. We need to have a max of 3 terms in office over their lifetime. This is the MAIN reason the US Government remains the same. I am sick & tired of their games. NO incumbents will get my vote in 2010!! We need to flush the system now, take back our contry and let the PEOPLE vote for life time term limits that can be served in either the House or Senate.Lets take our country back my fellow Americans!!!

    November 11, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  13. george

    Bring back the Republicans.....maybe THEY can get something done. This waffling on decision making has gone far enough. Jamming stuff throu Congress to the total detriment of the average USA Citizen is getting absurd. WHO do they think we are. A BUNCH of DUMMIES...I think not...we KNOW who they are - a bunch of Attorneys, for the most part, who are ONLY worried about their OWN Political Careers and seemed to have forgotten WHY they were elected to go to Washington in the first place. Arrogance and pure Selfishness will be their DEMISE come Mid Term Elections. TAKE BACK AMERICA!!!! Debt and Taxes that's all they know....What comes after a TRILLION...ZILLION??? Speaking of our Debt picture of course.

    November 11, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  14. Johnny K

    The party of NO is making gains.........They have no platform and no credibility. They don't stand for anything. With Limbaugh and Beck at the Helm they are well on the way to becoming a white,Southern,male,regional party. They are on the way to becoming totally irrelevant and extinct.......

    November 11, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  15. B

    Most Americans seem to have minds like a Gum-ball machine! All it takes is a penny for a thought, and out pops a completely different color and flavor every time.. I don’t think most have a consistent thought that goes beyond two days.

    I suspect that is why the news now is made up of "one liners" and -immediate conclusions- to every news story..

    November 11, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  16. Sea.gem

    Dems never apologize and never see their own faults...hence they have said last weeks elections meant nothing...keep believing it...btw, why don't Dems support term limits?...because it is tough to find a job as a parasite in the real world...

    November 11, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  17. MARK

    THe dems short term in control of the government has made matters much worse. They will be kicked out of office very quicly.

    November 11, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  18. Ronnie A.

    A 4 point shift that's within the margin of error. Hardly anything to celebrate. Next week's poll may shift back the other way. When I read the headline I thought something had changed. Moving on........

    November 11, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  19. Barbara Independent in NY

    Polls are polls. Before I vote for another Republican I want them to pass a sanity test.

    November 11, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  20. gl, Pittsburgh

    It is funny that the Independents voters are the ones that gave us Bush twice. Independents voters are spoiler brats that make stupid choices out of anger. It took Bush 8 years to mess this country up and you Independents voters won't even give this President 4 years. Stupid is Stupid does.

    November 11, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  21. Jeff

    This really is not news. It's based on a series of hypothetical information, and there are a ton of factors that influence elections that will come into play between now and next November, not the least of which is the identity of who each parties nominees will be. That sort of thing really does matter. I'm normally a supporter of the Gallup organization, but this sort of thing is a distraction and does nothing to help us understand our government or ourselves.

    November 11, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  22. sara

    don't make this a "giddy" moment for Steele who stated on Roland Martin's show on 11/8 that the Republican Party is "scared of black people", and was "scared" of him, until he said "I'm one of you".....NOW you have it!..........I'm NOT one of you!

    November 11, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  23. Sandra,Atlanta

    With their current mindset and their history of how they governed for those many years, I just can't envison voting for anyone with an 'R' behind their name.

    November 11, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  24. Mojo

    Why am I voting republican in 2010? For 8 years, you guys had your shot at reforming health care, tort reform, insurance across state lines etc.

    Instead what republicans gave us was a 1.2 trillion dollar spending bill to expand medicare and nationalized health care, as well as an 89% increase in premiums since 2001. By the way, the government already subsidies health insurance premiums totally about 280 billion per year.

    November 11, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
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