November 11th, 2009
02:01 PM ET
5 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. m jeff

    Who would vote for a Republican, they only care about lining their own pockets.

    November 11, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  2. DvIRGINIA

    I do not rely on polls taken this early......The republicans continue with negative media coverage, particularly against President Obama. George Bush was given 8 years to take this country down the wrong path leaving much work to rebuild this country's image around the world. Give this administration some time to at least get the trash cleaned up so they can then begin to rebuild. I will always believe that when one is only negative and says NO to everything, this will change and with the population of voters now becoming more educated, especially with the youth vote, Democrats can continue to do the right thing.

    November 11, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  3. Jim

    The reason is that the Dems haven"t shown they can get anything done in Congress. Dems, wake up...you got as close to a mandate to govern as any party is ever going to get. Wake up and get something done.

    November 11, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  4. Brandon

    Look out RINOs and Libs....your time has come.

    November 11, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  5. kimberly

    As long as health care is passed, i dont care if there are more repukes in congress. The President will be there for another 4 years after this term. We KNOW that people will vote for him. Do you people on the right REALLY think your extreme views are widley held in this country? Huckabee, palin, romney? All extremist! NEVER GONNA HAPPEN!

    November 11, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  6. Kevin in Ohio

    The handwriting is on the wall....in a very short time, the democrats have managed to create a huge mess out of what was a problem that could have been solved with practical, coherent, fiscally responsible solutions. But no, the democrats believe in complete government takeover and control, and spend, spend, spend while taxing the evil capitalists. The tide is turning..... Thank God.

    November 11, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  7. Andy from CA

    If I am to believe this poll, the dark ages will return sooner rather than later.

    November 11, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  8. m.c.m

    this is just a scare tactics from the Gop so the Dems.may have problems getting enough votes for HR

    November 11, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  9. shmeckel

    I don’t think that 22 point spread for independents is accurate. Due to the current representation of the GOP more republicans are calling themselves independents. At this moment in time I think they still have the advantage with independents, just not a 22 point advantage.

    November 11, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  10. Mike Syracuse, NY

    What is amazing is how fast Republican fortunes have climbed from just a year ago. I guess the incompetence of Obama and the Democratic Congress is becoming apparent. Good news indeed for the future of our country.

    November 11, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  11. Brad of IL.

    If the Dems. don't stop spending money we do not have and if they don't figure out how too get people back to work , they will lose big time in 2010 and Obama will be the One term President that never completed anything in his term and in his whole stinking life. Good

    November 11, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  12. Edwin

    What matters is who votes, not what a poll says. A year is such a long time in politics... why even bother having a poll now?

    November 11, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  13. Dar

    This is what happens when Dem's get control and go crazy spending our tax dollars. Everyone wakes up and says "WHAT WAS I THINKING", you were not thinking when you voted these idiots into office, you wanted change, well now your getting it and will get better change in 2010/2012

    November 11, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  14. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    The Senate needs to keep this in mind when considering the health care idiocy–and the House should have.

    Similar polls, by the way, show that while most people want "health care reform," only a minority, 42%, favour the bit of tyranny the House wants to cram down America's throat. Wanting "reform" isn't the same as wanting an insanely expensive new entitlement program for the welfare bums.

    November 11, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  15. doug

    No one is going to vote for a democrat in the next election. The independents hold the key and the dems have done nothing but destroy the economy and raised unemployment to 10.2% since 2006. This is just the way it is. America has had enough of dems and their destruction. Americans want their Nation back and their freedoms back. You have to have serious issues if you can vote for a dem.

    November 11, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  16. mike

    if people think that republicans are out to save you just listen to the senator from south dakota that wants to put back the unused stimulus money I guess thats a good answer to help people who lost there
    jobs and south dakota unemployment is one of the lowest in the country
    lets see what happens to the taxes and employment new jersey and virginia they talk a good talk now lets see if they will walk

    November 11, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  17. Linda from Minnesota

    If people are stupid enough to go back to what we had for 8 years because President Obama hasn't been able to fix everything in 10 months, Americans are dumber than I thought. We are an instant gratification society, we want it now. Give this President a chance to fix things for pete's sake. I swear the dumbing down of America is very apparent.

    November 11, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  18. andrew s. rostolder

    the dems have always be a bunch of sissys, can you imagine having a dictatorship and losing it to a bunch of ner'do well wing nuts... they just do not have that killer instinct that the repubs have... and deserve to lose their place in history and remain sissy, frightened people......

    November 11, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  19. Doug

    Grab your raincoats Democrats because the storm clouds are forming. Your vote for Pelosicare has shortened your career. The Senate will not pass it. They will not jeopordize their career's for Obama's whim's.

    Everyone knows that any bill they pass regardless of form will be permanently altered when the bill goes to conference with the House. They can't allow that to happen because they will lose their seats when the details emerge.

    November 11, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  20. ISMAEEL ASHIR

    if the health care reform fails, democrats can kiss their seats goodbye

    November 11, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  21. Carlton Desmoney

    The dems are all about government control - screw American freedoms. The reps are all about American freedoms - screw the government controls. Figure it out, people. Are you zombies who want the government to think/act for you, or are you of American descent who wants to be free to chose your own paths?

    November 11, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  22. jenkinsbrigade

    Unfortunately, in the vast majority of cases, when a voter selects a Republican over a Democrat, they are merely choosing to replace one brand of statist with another.

    November 11, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  23. Bob in Pa

    How anyone could vote Dem when they are trying to destroy our country and lessen our quality of life is beyond me.

    The assault on our wallets continues as they try to implement their health care and cap an trade bills.

    November 11, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  24. AJ inPhilly

    This really is a rallying cry against the incumbent. Example, in NJ's gubernatroial race, whoever was in office was getting voted out. The media keeps trying to make this something it isn't. The people are really feed up with the incumbents, regardless of their political afflil. If things aren't getting better, give the other person a try.

    November 11, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  25. Hendrik

    I hope that this is a wake up for the Democrats to start governing. It does not appear so much to be their agenda as it is the total lack of working together. If they want to avoid a melt down like they experienced in 1994 when the Republicans took over, they better get off the pot.
    We really don't care about the petty issues of the Democratic senators. They better learn from the Republicans about party unity.
    Trust me when I say that we do not want the Republicans back in power now. But we cannot afford these wishy washy Dems.

    November 11, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
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