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. Fed Up

    I will vote against anyone who is an incumbent, regardless of party, with the exception of one House member.

    November 11, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  2. Lisa B

    Americans are pathetically fickle. Those of you who voted for change, have some backbone! Did you think it was going to be easy to clean up the mess that was left from the Bush Administration? Don't be a fair weather friend - it is a sign of weak-mindedness and lack of committment to your ideals. The Dems are doing exactly what you sent them to do - they representing the ideas and legislation that they believe is in their constituents' best interests and I commend (some of) them for standing their ground under very difficult circumstances. You may not like everything they do all the time, but do you really believe that that is even a reasonable expectation?

    November 11, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  3. Hawk, In Texas

    Just goes to show you how stupid the american public is. how soon they have forgotten what the republicans have done to this country in the last eight years and are still trying to do. woe unto us if they ever gain control again.

    November 11, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  4. Joe In Nj

    I guess people are starting to wake up. An extreme left agenda is not what most Americans expected when they heard "change" in 2008. It's time to turn this thing around and keep these leftists in check for the next 2-3 years.

    November 11, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  5. Classy 57

    An intelligent citizen will vote for the person NOT returning to DC - we need fresh blood, whether it be a democrat or a republican. They all need to be booted out especially those who think they're entitled to their positions, i.e., Pelosi, Reid, etc. We need a government by the people and for the people, not just for those who are elected to office.

    November 11, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  6. Scott, Tucson

    Just keep believing these CNN poll numbers, than we shall see a sweep of democrats out of office in 2010.

    November 11, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  7. Lisa B

    "Independents" need to figure out who they are and what their values are. Enough said.

    November 11, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  8. demwit

    Ignore those bias polls Obama! We must keep pushing the deficit spending economic policies because its the "right thing to do"! Healthcare is an American right!!

    November 11, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  9. Scott

    As a democrat this concerns me but I just hope that enough important legislation in passed before 2010 so it doesn't matter. Republicans will likely do nothing except endorse tax cuts once in so I would be OK with them in there as long as health care is passed first. If this current batch of politicans brings health care reform as well as the spending stimulus history will be very kind to them. The GOP will look for ways to fund tax cuts which will probably mean closing programs which will hurt their chances of winning a presidential election as the backlash will be manifest by then. Independents are fiscal conservatives above all who don't believe in the GOP social agenda but will go along with them for tax cuts so they don't matter as they're fickle. Voting is all about exciting your party and right now the republicans are fired up so they'll win a lot while Dems are just happy Obama is president and won't vote. If the GOP then tries to go after a social agenda and not just the economy they'll be crushed next president election.

    November 11, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  10. johnrj08

    This country will get the leadership it deserves. If that many Democrats are too apathetic to go to the polls, and enough people are so dim-witted that they can see some kind of rational thinking in the Republican contenders, then this country will slide into a backward, theocratic society with no middle class and a few hundred thousand billionaires calling the shots. I find it deeply saddening that so many Americans are actually buying into the self-aggrandizing, irrational and highly seditious rhetoric of people like Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and that moron-of-morons, John Boehner. Genuine democracy cannot survive with such an illiterate, dogmatic, and gullible electorate.

    November 11, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  11. RealityKing

    Progressive liberalism is clearly the democrat's worst enemy..

    November 11, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  12. Max in NY

    Honestly people are just plain dumb in this country. They change their minds every second, without regard to science/logic/history/etc... As Gore VIdal calls us "the United States of Amnesia".

    And the ruling class has always known how to manipulate people's emotions since the Roman Empire by: "giving the mob bread and a circus". Today's distractors are just sports and celebrity news.

    November 11, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  13. Sniffit

    How about a chart listing which districts are on the chopping block in 2010, who the incumbent is, which party he is with, how that district voted on November 4, 2008, and who the challenger is and his party affiliation? Oh wait...you can't really do that yet because it's not necessarily clear who the particular candidates are yet? So you're just polling people on the generic issue of which party they would likely side with? How wonderfully stupid. Encouraging partisanship and divisiveness for ratings...are you proud of this?

    November 11, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  14. southerncousin

    Kinda makes Pelosi look like more of a liar than before the vote on Obamacare doesn't it. I love how the liberals are misreading all of the signs regarding the mood of the electorate. They are either misreading or misleading in their drive to steal as much tax payer money before we can get them out of office. Obama, one and done.

    November 11, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  15. bob in LA

    Oh Dem polls! "Would you consider voting for a Republican?" What kind of quesiton is that? It's like asking if you would consider voting for a woman- of course people would say yes. No specific candidate was mentioned in the poll. They samples 894 people and this is why every week these polls have different results. 894 poeple out of nearly 350 million- nice sample!

    November 11, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  16. Sally

    A year is a long time. The out party always gains in such polls, particularly when the White House and the Congress are held by the same party. This current slew of Republicans have moved dramatically to the right and that segment of the party is very fired up. I wouldn't vote for a Republican for any reason. They are incompetent and totally wrong about the role of government!

    November 11, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  17. Rick

    In my humble opinion, American's are looking for conservative values in their vote, true conservatism, not the rant version espoused by venimous name calling liberals.

    The Democrats have violated every free market rule I learned in graduate studies and I am convinced they are full speed ahead for politics, not the true good of the American people.

    Folks, we are going to be up to our ears paying for entitlements that have not been well considered.

    Further, both sides need to take a breath and consider what's really important...we are at war, our sons and daughters are dying for what I consider a noble cause (ridding the world of terrorist that REALLY do exist). Additionally, our economy is in the dumps, more taxes and new entitlements are not going to fix it. Quit Spending!!!!

    November 11, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  18. Hmmm....

    Tell me something I didn't expect? Whenever there is a switch in a party and big changes are made they shoot themselves in the foot. Much as we say we want 'CHANGE', we all want OTHERS to change, we want iour lives better but we do not want to change. Until YOU and I start to agree on things and select those who represent MOST of us, then we will live on the see-saw.

    November 11, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  19. Melissa

    Americans seem to have extremely short memories. Rather like 5 year old children.

    November 11, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  20. Anonymous

    Don't people realize that the reason Congress can't accomplish anything good is because there are still too many Republicans?

    November 11, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  21. Jim

    If America votes for the Republicans in the next election, we will just be rewarding the right wing nuts for their "stop the Democrats at any cost" politics. What have Republicans done for the US in the last 9 years? They have started wars we didn't need and then mismanaged them. They let New Orleans get destoyed and did nothing to bring it back again. They ran up huge deficits and borrowed the money from our enemies the Chinese. They neglected all oversight of Wall Street and the environment. And now all they do is try to stop the Democrats from cleaning up the mess. They have done nothing to earn your vote!

    November 11, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  22. Adalbert

    It makes no real difference who we vote for. They all end up in the pockets of the special interests. If we want meaningful change, we must reform our election financing.

    November 11, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  23. ANDROLOMA, Commerce City, Colorado

    The pendulum of dumb swings back and forth. No wonder nothing ever changes. One of two choices is not the best way for a republic to express democracy. There can be another choice if you let it.

    November 11, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  24. Hmmm....

    OK...when a party loses big...best startegy is to do NOTHING. The giddy party moving in always thinks we want them to run amuck when in fact all we really wanted was the other guy out. THEN the new party does exactly what the other party did but for a different set of people. Divided we fall...don;t worry...there is always the 'dead cat bounce' but it doesn't last long.

    November 11, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  25. JonDie

    We Americans are so ignorant and stupid that we are hopeless.

    November 11, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
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