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. ken chicago

    Every time Obama or Congress describe a program, e.g., health care or energy, businesses see higher taxes, fees, and regulations that will prohibit paying salaries. So they have to lay off more people. People are finally realizing this. The mainstream media, which appears to be losing viewers at an equal rate to Democrat support, has hidden the information from the headlines. They don't holler at the low intelligence people that Obama and Congress are hurting employment by attacking employers! That Obama and Congress are responsible for the continuing increases in unemployment! But anyone with half a brain knows that their employer signs their pay check – not Obama, not Congress! Why is the media hiding the profound grasp of the obvious?

    November 11, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  2. John independent from NY

    Both parties are a joke. Give us something better!

    November 11, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  3. T'SAH from Virginia

    This entire article CONTRADICTS itself!!! The header reads:

    Poll: GOP makes gains in battle for Congress

    Then the BODY of the article states all of the following with different tallies for each one!!

    "According to a Gallup survey...",
    "... A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey..."
    "...Other polls conducted...",
    "...According to the Gallup poll..."

    Dang – What's the difference between a SURVEY and a POLL. CNN – you sure know how to TWIST things around... Run a "FACT CHECK" on this ticker!!!

    November 11, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  4. Typical Republican

    Ya know, if I were a patriot and a thinking person, I would vote for a democrat. Thankfully I'm not, so I'll vote for a republican.

    I want america to fail, it's the policy of my party, and I will stop at nothing to ruin this country. I'm so patriotic, atleast thats what us retards tell ourselves after every clan/republican meeting.

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

    Republican v. Democrat blah blah. They are so similar it is hard to tell the difference. Vote for the candidate that is anti-tax, anti-government, pro-freedom and pro personal liberty. Let's get rid of the corporatism and the welfarism in this county.

    November 11, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  6. catmom

    Gullible, gullible people. They are willing to vote back in the very same people who put our country in the shape it's in and do absolutely NOTHING to help bring our country back. They are so quick to judge, giving Republicans eight years to ruin our country and accept NO responsibility but give the current President only 10 months before they condemn him. Sure wish they had given the last President less time to ruin our country. It is so sad that the American people don't have the patience to allow this President to do the job that the majority of Americans elected him to do.

    You people listen to the likes of Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity and Republicans in Congress vilify President Obama and tell you that he is the one responsible for YOUR problems. You all are more than willing to listen to everything negative you can about President Obama but not even bother to give him a chance, the four years he was elected to serve to do his job. You are a pitiful, sad group of people . You get the country you deserve. The country Republicans left you. The country Republicans are more than willing to see destroyed just so they can say we told you so.

    November 11, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  7. Adam (From Chicago)

    I do not care about parties. I will vote for the fiscal conservative. I want to hear about jobs, cutting back on government, ending the endless wars and...did I mention jobs?

    November 11, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  8. John

    What lead? The 4% difference is reported as within the margin of error.

    November 11, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  9. natale from mass.

    i also will vote for a republican in mass. i will vote for sen scott brown i feel in my state one party rule is awful it does not work look at my state all the dems did was destroy it i like moderate dem not liberal all the dem running are all liberal to replace sen kennedy as a independent moderate im done with liberals they dont work it would be great for once to see half rep half dem and ind . but knowing my state and the voters in it i dont think it will happen im hoping the ind wake up just for once i like scott brown hes a social moderate and fiscal conserative

    November 11, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  10. Msdp

    Regardless of your polls (CNN, GALLUP OR WHOEVER) I do hope your overall sampling errors are out of sync with the truth as to how the rest of the USA are going to vote. And with that said, USA, please do not fall asleep now. "The GOP cares nothing about the American People!!! Please stay awake – WATCH CSPAN FOR YOUR SELF. Stop allowing FOX, MSNBC or CNN make your decisions. WATCH your SENATORS AND YOUR REPRESENTATIVES express their true motives via CSPAN, CSPAN1AND CSPAN3.

    November 11, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  11. Peoples Voice

    Once health care is out of the way, the economy will improve and the Dems will be able to portray the GOP as the do nothings that they are. Not to worry, not to worry.

    November 11, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  12. Right Leaning Independent

    Dems are losing support from many business folks because their agenda is anti business! They want to tax businesses to death, they constantly berate us for moving jobs, being greedy or not hiring folks and now they want to force health care penalties and costs on them as well. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that businesses are not hiring until we understand what these policies are going to cost us. You may not like big bad greedy business but they are the ones that provide jobs to folks! We are not hiring until we understand how much these policies are going to cost us.. So keep on being anti business and watch unemployment stay high and Dem polls numbers continue to fall...

    November 11, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  13. Black Viper

    It does not supprise me to see a support of a do nothing but harm america party increasing in popularity. Americans have a serious case amnesia and ready to believe any lies and fabrications without fact checking themsef and they have the media to render them dumber and dumber everyday. There no other choice betwen the 2 evil parties in USA.
    I rather chose One less evil party with is democrats.

    November 11, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  14. michael

    A year's a long time. There'll be another huge Republican screw up, scandal or lawsuit. No worries. Thank God for Sarah Palin – and her bizarre factor!!!!

    November 11, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  15. Roger

    Sampling errors of 6 or more percent? So, given the sampling error, its entirely possible that nothing whatsoever has changed. That's reaching a bit in terms of what constitutes news; every month you could announce a shift in public opinion to reflect where the numbers now fall within the sampling error range.

    November 11, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  16. Terry from West Texas

    As Harry Truman said, any farmer who votes contrary to his own interests – who votes Republican – ought to have his head examined. Today we can substitute "middle class voter" for "farmer." The agenda for our Conservative leaders has nothing to do with small government, free markets, local control, and rugged individualism. Their exclusive concern is more power for themselves and more wealth for their wealthy contributors. Nothing else.

    Now most Republicans who are reading this would deny it, but they have been hornswaggled by all that Conservative rhetoric. Look at what Conservatives DO when they are in power. Pay no attention to what they say they did or say they are going to do. Watch what they DO.

    November 11, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  17. Former Republican

    Huh? How is it a "gain" when the polls continue to be a statistical tie still within the margins of error?

    Besides, the real numbers for my former GOP can be seen by only 20% willing to identify as Republican now, and "independent" teabaggers pushing the party farther to the right again. No thanks.

    November 11, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  18. disgusted independent

    Doesn't really change all that much, we're still given the choice of voting for corrupt idiot A or corrupt idiot B.

    November 11, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  19. Mike

    Polls are for losers. These things are up and down all the time. If the wind blows from the East then the Dems are favored, from the West the Republicans are favored.
    And CNN polls are probably the most skewed of all. I read the blogs and the overwhelming majority of people on them are clearly liberals so what does that say about the people reading CNN.com and watching CNN? Even their comentators on TV claim to be unbiased but you can see the slant in their programs. It is not like they even try to hide their distrust and distate for the Republican party and for Conservatives.

    November 11, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  20. mac

    Proof that Americans have short attention spans. Already forgiving Republicans for the mess they made for democrats. I'm not a democrat, but they really are the lesser of the two evils. I still won't vote for any of them. But i trust Republicans less than democrats. When will people lose faith in these parties and start to reclaim America for the people? Never, they'll forget again, and again, et cetera.

    November 11, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  21. Rob

    Wow. The last time we saw this shift it was the result of grandstanding on a platform of lies to convince people of the GOP's "pro-life" position and that the democrats were evil baby killers. The social conservatives without the ability to think critically about what pro-life should actually mean, flocked to the GOP. This time all it took was a few lies about abortions, death panels, and socialism to drum up some misguided patriotism and absurd sense of morality. Why do lies seem to resonate with the American public more than truth and common sense? I guess its because believing lies is an easy way to validate your feelings without the burden of doing any of your own research.

    November 11, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  22. Dave

    A year in politics is a long time. I'd like to see the conservatives make big gains in next years election, however I'd be happy with a more equally divided congress. When it comes down to it, a lot of the election results will probably rest on the President. If he can convince people he's actually done something that helps them, they may side with the democrats if he can recapture some of his 2008 magic. But I don't think liberals should hld their breath on this one.

    November 11, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  23. Annette

    wha? wait! How can this be? I mean...we voted in the messiah?!

    November 11, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  24. Get Real

    These polls are a joke. Just a week ago you reported the exact opposite.

    November 11, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  25. Robert J 1

    I guess some people are just so dumb they can't help themselves. The kind of people who can't figure out a 4 way stop intersection. 15 years of Republican nonsense / 8 years of Bush republicanism and they can't see we are actually on a good course. A course that takes time but a GOOD course. Maybe these people should go live in the middle east (maybe Iran / Iraq / Saudi Arabia.) After all thats the kind of control the republicans think is acceptable.. You know a country where thinking is discouraged and cronyisim is king- Good ridance to those who should go!

    November 11, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
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