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. Pete

    The Democratic Party seems to be struggling for identity. The found a cohesiveness under the "Against George W" platform, but ideologically the party was perhaps more at odds then they cared to admit. Meanwhile the GOP is proffering the "Not Barrack H" movement and there are takers. Complicating things for the Dems in '10 is that the GOP factions appears more ideologically unified. I feel the Democrats also have the weaker party leadership. (an intentional distinction from political leadership) To win or hold in '10 they must internally unify, no small task without strong party leadership. Finally POTUS must pick his internal and external battles very wisely in the next 9 months. Discontent is hard to overcome, particularly when all of the money is gone.

    November 11, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  2. W l Jones

    Some people claim to be conservative. listen up if you or not middle class rich or above you are nothing but a pawn. Remember who made you what you are today! not the conseer on the soup line.

    November 11, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  3. Orville

    We Americans are so fickle! In 2008 we voted for change and now that we have that opportunity, there is a significant group of voters who are now afraid of the change they voted for!!! Could this be that they just now realize that it is going to cost each American some $$$. (Though they disregard that if they don't pay some now it will cost them a lot more in the future?)This group is so short sighted! Over the next several years before any medical insurance reform takes hold, regardless of what it looks like in its final form, several American families will suffer medical financial catastrophes and over 30 million people will still not have medical insurance.... But, I guess that is okay with some people!!! But, it sure sounds unAmerican to me!!!...This phobia about America becoming a socialist nation is absolute nonsense!... Capitalism is well rooted and will not be in jeopardy just because we may end up with a "government option." There is an old expression that says, "me think they protesteth too much."...it sure sounds like the insurance industry is fearful of loosing their 20-30% profits!!!

    November 11, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  4. dudochnicht

    The stunner is the differential with Independents. Numbers like that are going to have a lot of people worried.

    November 11, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  5. gwen

    Wait till the Democrats get health care passed-and they will/must-and the climate bill passed and obama gets the soldiers home from iraq in august – our numbers will go back up!! How could any working class/middle class voter vote for a republican when they have proven over and over again that they are only for the rich – and big corporations!!The republicans solved nothing when they were in control, got us into 2 wars, let wall street and the banks break our economy and tripled the deficit after walking in with a surplus from clinton!!! Wake up people they don't care about you, they just use guns, abortion and God to suck you in!!!

    November 11, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  6. jack

    Anyone who would vote for a Republican should be committed to a mental ward. They have no ideas for leadership. They only want to lead us back into the very place that we are now thanks to them. Power is like heroin to them. They are going to scream, kick and make a fuss until they get their next fix of power. They need to be treated like they are in rehab, keep them out until they have learned from their mistakes.

    November 11, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  7. HJA

    Just goes to show you there are either a lot of stupid people in this country or a lot with poor memories. After what the GOP did with their "less govenment" (deregulate big business) or the WMDs and total destruction of our economy that's your only two reasons for voting GOP. You want it? You got it! Just don't complain later.

    November 11, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  8. Lucullus

    I'll be the first to admit that the Dems are for the most part a bunch of corrupt, inept, sackless weenies but how in the name of God could anyone vote for the Republicans? The Republican party has shown itself to be the party of the rich and well connected. Their hypocracy stinks to high heaven whether it be family values which they want everyone to have but don't live up to or serving in the military which everyone should do but them and their children. They have ruined this country financially, politically and morally. They are truly a criminal enterprise.

    November 11, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  9. jeff jackson, alabama

    If you think the dems are losing ground now,
    wait and see what happens with another year
    of their lunacy.
    Conservatives have been saving liberals
    from themselves since the beginning of time.
    And by the way, water boarding works.

    November 11, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  10. Aric G.

    Guess what, "GB-Worst President Ever"? You call a mushrooming unemployment rate of 10.2% a "trend starting to reverse"? How desperate. Time to see the optometrist, my friend. There is more "change" coming in 2010 than you can possibly imagine.

    November 11, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  11. dave

    After what the republicans did to this country and to my life I wouldn't vote republican again if there was a gun to my head! It shocks me that anyone could. All they care about is war and the big shots. Their hatred for the little guy is treason.

    November 11, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  12. dudochnicht

    Not sure what polls about the public option people are referring to. The polls that say a majority of Americans favor a public option are few and far between. Nearly all I have seen have it about 55-45 against the public option.

    November 11, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  13. Candide

    The pendulum will continue to swing back and forth for a while, but I believe that as time goes on and people begin to realize that the change they got wasn't the change they really wanted ... or needed.

    November 11, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  14. Obama 2.0

    If they do not pass health care then Dems and many Inde's will not show up to vote.

    November 11, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  15. Chris - Seattle

    So what, by then we'll have passed so many historical milestones that I could care less about getting back to politics as usual. Plus, I know who I'll be voting for and not. Understanding, also, how many Americans have been influenced by the republican posturing, it's no surprise. I just hope that the impressionable folk among us know who the republicans are fighting for, because unless your donating hundreds of thousands to their campaign, it for sure won't be any American I know. Plus republicans want you to think that the best solution is less government intervention into big business and by know I would think we all know where that got us. May God bless!

    November 11, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  16. dudochnicht

    Winners realize that their lives are, with very few exceptions, of their own making and take that responsibility by the horns. Losers point fingers.

    November 11, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  17. California wizard

    And since the elections are not for another year the point of this poll is?????? Alot can happen between now and then. I at least thought you would stop with these senseless polls. Thank you for a palin free ticker. Make love not hate

    November 11, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  18. Nathan

    Wow, this article was a waste of time. When the difference falls withing the margin of error on any poll, the entire poll means nothing. I realize, CNN, that it is your job to make it look like something fruitful can come from all this work, but really this tells us nothing. Secondly, how do these polls account for people who only own cell phones? This group is growing all the time, especially amoung younger – and therefore usually more liberal – generations. It seems like you think this group of citizens is unimportant when election times come.

    And I agree with many of you on hear, both parties suck, and I am so sick of picking the lesser of two evils...

    November 11, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  19. Beyond Absurd

    I think that you can add to the analysis of this poll that 100% of the people who said that they would vote a certain way without knowing who the candidate is, are complete idiots and don't deserve the right to vote.
    Please stop with these polls. They are opinions and mean nothing.

    November 11, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  20. Texas Doc

    Can anyone say New York 23? Solid GOP, since forever, that is until the GOP got involved in a recent congressional race and turned it blue. If this is their idea of progress/victory keep it up.

    November 11, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  21. David

    Anybody who was alive for the past eight years and has a brain is unquestionably insane for considering bring the thug Republican Party back into office.

    November 11, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  22. Torch

    The amazing thing to me is that the Liberals on this board think they have the public on their side, and it couldn't be farther than the truth.
    They don't see or don't listen, just like Obummer, Pelnazi, and that weenie Reid.

    November 11, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  23. Greg

    i don't understand the mindset of people that vote for a party instead of the person running. i cant say who i would vote for in any election based on party... i vote for the best man/woman for the job regardless of their affiliation. im getting very sick of hearing republican and democrat.

    November 11, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  24. MS

    It's amazing to see the hatred for opposing parties...even in the comments below. Americans want things to be run right. Thus far, they have not – not 8 years ago, not today. Politicians, for the most part, run with party lines and refuse to listen to the people that voted them in. So we will continue to see this pendulum swing back and forth. It's not being "fickle", it's just wanting the person you voted in to actually "listen" to you. I don't care what party they are in, just please take the advice/care/concerns of your people to the floor.

    November 11, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  25. Craig of LA

    This is like predicting a football game outcome in the first quarter. We are a year away. If the economy rebounds and healthcare reform passes, the Dems retain power. If not, I fear the public will return to power the party that caused this train wreck we are in. Sad but true.

    November 11, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
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