Washington (CNN) - A new national poll suggests that major legislative victories for the Democrats this week have not helped the party in its goal to keep control of Congress in the midterm elections.
In May, the Democrats had a one-point edge in the so-called "generic ballot" question. But a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday indicates the Republicans have a 49 to 44 percent advantage when voters are asked which party's candidate they will vote for in their congressional district.
"Some of the biggest losses for the Democrats have come among senior citizens," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Among seniors, Democrats had a two-point edge in May but the GOP is currently winning 56 percent of that group."
The only bright spot for the Democrats is a significant drop in the number of Republican voters who say they are extremely or very enthusiastic about voting this year - from 54 percent in May to 42 percent now.
"But the number of Democrats who are enthusiastic about voting in the midterms has also dropped, and still lags 15 points behind the GOP," adds Holland.
This is despite a productive week for the Democrats, with congressional victories on financial reform legislation and unemployment insurance. The survey indicates nearly six out of ten Americans support the financial reform bill, which President Barack Obama signed into law on Wednesday. Independents questioned also support the law, which increases government oversight of major banks and financial institutions in hopes of preventing another major recession.
"It's also worth noting that a majority favor government regulation of business - up 16 points since the Reagan years," says Holland.
Thursday the president signed the Unemployment Compensation Act of 2010, which restores unemployment benefits to two and a half million Americans who lost their jobs in the recession. The Republicans argued against the legislation, saying that the Democrats bill would add to the country's already massive budget deficit.
The Democrats are winning the battle for public opinion when it comes to deficit reduction versus job creation. Only a quarter of those surveyed say it's more important for the Obama administration to focus on the deficit; 74 percent say that creating jobs is more important.
Even the health care bill passed into law in the spring gets some support in the poll. Roughly half questioned want to see it repealed, but half want to keep it as is or even increase the government's role in the country's health care system.
So what is dragging the Democrats down?
"Some of the Democrats' change in fortune is likely due to poor economic conditions; some may also be due to the low marks President Barack Obama gets on most domestic issues," says Holland.
For starters, according to the survey nearly eight in ten say they economy is in poor shape. And only about four in ten approve of how Obama has handled a host of domestic issues, ranging from the deficit (36%) and immigration (38%) to the economy (42%) and health care (44%).
Forty-seven percent think that the Tea Party is too extreme, with 43 percent saying that movement is generally mainstream. But that perception hasn't hurt the GOP: Fifty-six percent of Americans consider the Republican party's views to be mainstream.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national poll was conducted July 16-21, before final passage of the extension of jobless benefits but after passage of the Wall Street and financial reform legislation. One-thousand and eighteen adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.
–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report