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. Enough

    We don't like either Democrats or Republicans, but the Republicans are the lesser of 2 evils............as the Democrats have proven. This country is ready for a viable third party so we can vote out ALL Democrats and Republicans. Hard to understand why anyone with a job would be a Democrat. Easy to understand why those who want handouts are.

    November 11, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  2. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    only a total moron or right-winger nutcase would vote for a republican for Congress.

    November 11, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  3. JK Ashburn, VA

    Behavior of this Democratic Congress borders on criminal. (Well, actually some of it actually is criminal.) But, the Republican Congress wasn't any better.

    My Congresscreature is a Republican who is also a member of the House Appropriations Committee. That inherently makes him one of the bad guys. However, his opponent the last two elections was an avowed Socialist college professor. This is a no-win situation. I wish we could make the whole institution disappear. It is intellectually, morally, and politically corrupt.

    We need to force on them what most state legislatures have - a balanced budget requirement and perhaps even term limits.

    November 11, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  4. Fools and their freedoms are soon parted

    That's because people are tired of seeing the party that always sympathizes with the enemy, runs on racists platforms, outs gays and attempt at every turn to gut the Constitution.

    November 11, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  5. Gary's Concerns

    It's not that I think Republicans are perfect, but the Democrats are spending too much money and already raising taxes 3 ways (house healthcare reform bill raises taxes, cap-n-trade bill raises taxes and allowing the expiration of the Bush tax cuts raises taxes). At some point we have to say no more taxes, no new spending. At some point we have to stop promising "free stuff" (housing, food, healthcare) to lazy people who haven't worked at any time in the last 10 years!

    November 11, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  6. victim of republican greed

    It appears that the lies from the GOP, Fox, Beck and Hannity are finally paying off for them. People will believe anything if it is repeated enough. That explains the moron from Texas getting elected twice.

    November 11, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  7. TERMLIMITS

    It is time we tell our politicians we must have term limits. It doesn't matter what party they all become too corrupt when they make a career out of politics. These positiions were not meant to be a career but a service to your country. DEMAND TERM LIMITS FOR ALL.

    November 11, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  8. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    The GOP will be abolished from the H.O.R. in 2010.

    November 11, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  9. JD in Moraga

    Sad, isn't it, that it's an "either / or" decision? That there's no viable 3rd or 4th party to encourage productive political discourse in this country? Face it, most of the political discussion we hear these days is not constructive or visionary – it's "vote for me becuase I'm " or "vote for me because I'm not that other party."

    November 11, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  10. Michele

    As if polls taken now about anything a year away mean anything...this tells me that the people called are FoxNoise devotees who are sure the world as we know it will end unless they eliminate Obama.

    November 11, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  11. russell

    It's down right funny that you take these poles , because I for one ask people the same question , and not one said they would vote for a republican ,so who are you taking these poles from , only white people in the mid west or south , becasue I don't know of anyone who's been ask by CNN to take this poles , so your pole is BS , CNN.

    November 11, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  12. Dan, Tx

    I give up on America. I've got money for myself and family, screw the rest of you. You want to live in China, vote republican.

    November 11, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  13. liz

    I pray the American people are smart enough to realize you can't clean up a mess 8 years in the making in a few months, especially when you have the people who made the mess fighting to stop you. The solution is not more republicants in congress, it's far fewer! You can't elect people who hate government and expect them to be any good at governing. Give Obama a chance and don't tie his hands any further by giving him more republicants to deal with.

    November 11, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  14. Cando

    Anyone who would vote for a republican after what they did to this country for 8 years have got to be out of their ever loving mind.

    November 11, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  15. Eric in St. Paul, MN

    Meanwhile in the real world of actual legislatures, last week Democrats made a gain of one seat in actual elections...

    November 11, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  16. Willy Brown

    Eyes are opening, the hang over has hit. Buh bye democrats.

    November 11, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  17. Bev

    Many of us have been saying how bad the Democrats are going to get beat in 2010 and 2012.

    The majority of Independents-no longer trust/support/approve of Obama and the Democrats-–and they will be voting with the Republicans AGAINST Democrats in 2010 and 2012. Also, there are now many moderate Dems not happy with Obama and the Democrats-they will be staying home in 2010.

    The number of those saying that they will be voting Republican in 2010-is only going to keep going higher-–as based on all experts-the unemployment rate will not be much better by Nov 2010.

    November 11, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  18. rwdragon

    Is this any wonder? The administration and the house and senate led by Pelosi and Reid have perpetrated a fiscal nightmare upon us far worse than any other administration could conjur.

    November 11, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  19. Dan Holiday

    Well, I guess America is waking up. The democrats have done nothing for America. Their anti-American policies and views are becoming more apparent each day. I know so many people Democrat, Republican and Independent that cannot wait until next year so they can vote in more Republicans. It is my view and theirs, that the GOP is the party of the people. The party that wants to do right by Americans and not by themselves. Go GOP 2010!

    November 11, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  20. Bxgrrl

    I for one am tired of the electoral flip-flopping we do in this country which gets us collectively NOWHERE anymore. We the people do badly with either Democrats or Republicans, which parties apparently feel they are beholden to no one but their corporate sponsors. Periodically there is grumbling from some quarters that we need a third party. We need more than a third party – we need a parliamentary system with representation by as many parties as possible.

    November 11, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  21. Mike in SA

    What really hurts the Dems is that they apparently will not benefit much from straight-ticket voting as they did during the 2008 election cycle. That plus lower turnout, plus voter unrest, plus unpopular policies builds 2010 up to possibly be a watershed year for the House at least.

    November 11, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  22. Mark

    Obama lied on lobbyist, being a moderate, big gov't, and more open politics. He needs to go in 2010!

    November 11, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  23. Four and The Door

    Americans feel like they have been taken to the cleaners and oh what a backlash this will be against the Democrats who have taken full advantage of the trust placed in them last year. Unemployment now over 10% and headed higher and Washington spending totally unrestrained but showing no results; this is a dismal record for the administration and congress. To top that off, this whole health care debacle is an embarrassment for the wheeling and dealing that is taking place just to squeeze out a lousy bill that puts middle class Americans at the end of the line.

    November 11, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  24. Michael

    These polls mean nothing for either side. Its the media trying hard to stay relevant.

    We all know what will decide the elections is the sentiment at the time of the elections not daily polls a year out...CNN how about you stop with the polls and report real news!

    November 11, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  25. George

    Which republican party are we talking about? Birthers, death panel folks, tea baggers? It seems like there are 3 or 4 parties within the
    party. The silent majority may replace any candidate from the 3 that I mentioned. There are normal republicans out there.

    November 11, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
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