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. ThinkForYourSelf

    It's amazing to me how quickly the country forgets.

    The republicans ran congress since Clinton was president.

    The republicans controlled the executive branch and down for the last 8 years.

    I think most republicans are really people with low IQ that can't think for themselves. At least that is the impression so far.

    Yes lets all go back to how things were run, because that worked soo well for the country.

    November 11, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  2. Beverly - NYC

    We can't expect different when we vote for more of the same. Regardless of party label I want representatives who remember they work for me and the constituents of their state. Far too often these representatives talk a good game, get to Congress and answer to the party bosses, Boehner, Cantor, Pelosi, whatever talking head has the loudest mega phone, or the lobbyist offering the biggest check. There are other parties out there, they may not have 100 mil to throw at an electionsbut there are good ideas out there. Turn off the tv and inform yourself. None of these big money C Street politicians will have to go to a food pantry when they're jobless next year their friends in big businees will provide . Can you say the same?

    November 11, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  3. Mark L.

    Yeah, Go Right Ahead – Put the CROOKED, DIRTY & DECEPTIVE GOP Republicans back in Charge of the House and Senate and Let's See Where They Take this Country... If you think George W. Bush / Dick Cheney were they dynamic duo that almost led this great nation of ours into Great Depression II, just you wait and see what the next GOP run House & Senate is going to do...They're going to turn the U.S.A. into a third-world impoverished nation...

    November 11, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  4. Angie in PA

    Thats because the people put the Democrats in for their agendas and what are they doing CATERING TO THE REPUBLICANS Grow a spine democrats or you will be gone!

    November 11, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  5. a health economist

    What gains? Gains in the normal variation of sampling different populations? This report says nothing.

    The first poll said 44% would vote for the Republican with a sampling error of +- 4%. Now 48% said they'd vote Republican with a sampling error of at least +- 4% (they don't explicitly say it). Congratulations, you've sampled a different group of people and come up with a different percent that is still within the sampling error of the first. Thus it is not a statistically significant change.

    All this article shows is that 48 is bigger than 44.

    November 11, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  6. Sean

    With the behavior of the GOP especially in the last year (never mind the awful Bush years), I will likely NEVER vote for a GOP candidate from dogcatcher to President again. They would have to change their tune, and become a party of the majority of Americans again before I might vote their way, or consider re-joining their ranks.

    November 11, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  7. Sherry

    I don't care if they are Republican or Democrat. I don't care what color they are as long as they are American. I only care that they abide by the oath they take and they make Americans the priority. Too much is put on the ideas that one thing is fair and another isn't. This guy did this and that guy did that. All I can say is Welcome to LIFE!!

    November 11, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  8. Too True For You

    Heaven help us if the republicans get more seats. Then it'll be back to every solution being tax cuts for the wealthy, deregulation of big business, more jobs offshore, erosion of America's global standing in all leadership issues other than making war, spiraling health care costs, more decline of main street, more discrimination, racism, and invasions of the publics basic rights. Just like under Bush and the neocons.

    November 11, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  9. katiec

    The problem is too many people do not have the intelligence or the determination to sort out all the lies, distortions etc from the party of NOthing.
    How any intelligent voter can support this party that is out to destroy our president and any benefit to us is taxing to the mind.
    The Democrats need to speak out loud and clear and call out these hypocritcal, irresponsible politicians. We must not let a party who choses big business, personal gains over us remain in existance.
    They are well on their way to becoming our countries most dangerous domestic terrorists.

    November 11, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  10. Wavering Democrat

    I've voted (D) all my life and I like Obama. But I crunched the numbers and this healthcare plan is going to triple my yearly tab for health insurance. That was taking the most optimistic scenario I could come up with. Right now I have a high deductible plan that I bought that costs me around $100 a month. It's nothing special but I like it. The best case scenario as it stands under the plan I have seen in Congress is that my bill will go to $284 per month. A more realistic scenario would be to double that figure once again.

    Bottom line: I don't like it. I don't like being lied to and beat over the head with it. Something has to change.

    November 11, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  11. Michelle

    No one really cares who is running. Both parties are equally inept.

    November 11, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  12. Nancy

    Had Obama and the congressional leaders of the democratic party not overreached they would still be leading in the polls. Stupid is as stupid does and stupid people never learn from history. The republicans did the same thing when they won the majority in 1994 and it cost them in 2006. However I don't think anybody expected the dems to crash and burn in such a short amount of time.

    November 11, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  13. Al-NY,NY

    Since the tea-baggers,birthers, death squad "conservatives" are purging the GOP of anyone who doesn't goose step to Fat boy, et al, the dynamics of this poll will change. Even some Republicans are finally standing up and saying enough to the Taliban that has infested their group

    November 11, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  14. doug

    It is completely stomach-churning and disgusting to see this American-hating worm at the Fort Hood ceremony. Please do America a favor. RESIGN!!!!

    November 11, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  15. Larry S

    What else would you expect . . . most of the public is intelligent enough to realize the demos are taking us into bankrupcy

    November 11, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  16. Tim

    Time to pass some health care legislation!

    November 11, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  17. Fair is Fair

    Hope you enjoyed your 2 years in power, democrats.

    November 11, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  18. Gale

    If things keep going the way they are, Republicans will win by a landslide!! Take heed, all you know it all Democrats, listen to the voters.

    November 11, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  19. rightytighty

    we're baaaackkkkkk..., thanks Obama!

    November 11, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  20. Tim

    What a dumb poll with silly results. As Americans we all know how fickle the country is, not to mention very short memories. These results could be totally different three months from now.

    November 11, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  21. Mike

    Now that we know (according to several pollsters) that teabaggers are identifying themselves as independents to pollsters, the numbers for independents are being skewed inaccurately towards the right. Not sure if htis poll was weighted... would like to see unweighted results...

    November 11, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  22. mjm

    I don't need a poll to know that democrats will be out in 2010.

    Not because of Liberals or conservative....it's the independents.

    Those Americans who have been around awhile and know that you CANNOT spend money you do not have, nor can you force Americans to purchase health care (at the risk of imprisonment), force American businesses (like BCBS) to accept unnecessary risk when providing insurance (like they did with mortgage co / banks) while limiting what they can charge for their product regardless of the cost of doing business. That’s NOT AMERICA.

    All for a public option that WILL GO BROKE just like Medicare.

    November 11, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  23. tess

    the chickens have come home to roost!!!!

    November 11, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  24. minnie

    No offense intended, but why do you bother, on an almost weekly basis, with these polls? It's really not important until it's time to actually vote! People are constantly changing their minds – for a whole myriad of reasons.

    November 11, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  25. J.P.

    Rasmussen's poll of registered and LIKELY voters has it at a six point spread.

    2010 is doomsday for the Socialists.

    November 11, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
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