(CNN) - Americans are divided over whether President Barack Obama or his predecessor has performed better in the White House, according to a new national poll.
And a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday also indicates in the battle for Congress, Republicans hold large advantages over the Democrats among independents, men and blue-collar whites. The poll also indicates that Republicans are much more enthusiastic than Democrats to vote.
By 47 to 45 percent, Americans say Obama is a better president than George W. Bush. But that two point margin is down from a 23 point advantage one year ago.
"Democrats may want to think twice about bringing up former President George W. Bush's name while campaigning this year," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
"But that doesn't mean that Americans regret their decision to put Obama in the White House in 2008. By a 50 to 42 percent margin, the public says that Obama has done a better job than Sen. John McCain would have done if he had won. And by a 10-point margin, Americans also say that Joe Biden has done a better job than Sarah Palin would have done as vice president," adds Holland.
According to the poll, 45 percent of the public approves of the job Obama's doing as president, up three points from late last month, with 52 percent disapproving. Fifty-nine percent of independents disapprove of how the Obama's handling his duties, with 37 percent giving him a thumbs up.
In the fight for control of Congress, 52 percent of likely voters say they would vote for the generic Republican candidate in their district if the election were held today, with 45 percent saying they would back the Democrat. The Republican's seven point margin is down from a nine point advantage late last month.
According to the poll, independents say they would vote for the Republican candidate over the Democrat by a two to one margin.
"Blue-collar whites are also a particular problem for Democrats. Among white voters who describe their family as "white collar," the two parties are essentially tied. But more than seven out of ten whites who describe themselves as "blue collar" are planning to vote Republican in November," adds Holland.
The poll indicates that opinions on the economy may have a lot to do with that. Only 17 percent say the economy is starting to recover, and nearly four in ten say that the country is still in a downturn and conditions are getting worse.
The survey also suggests a strong gender gap.
"Democrats appear to be making steady gains among women and now get a majority of their vote, but the gender gap persists and more than six in ten men say they plan to vote Republican this year," says Holland.
According to the poll, another gap also exists: The enthusiasm gap. Most Republicans say they are extremely or very enthusiastic about voting this year. But only a third of Democrats feel the same way.
"That's the principle reason why the "generic ballot" question is tied among all registered voters while the likely voter numbers show an advantage for the Republicans," adds Holland. "There are plenty of people who support the Democratic candidate, but many of them are probably not going to actually cast a ballot. In fact, if you look at "unlikely voters" - people who are registered to vote but unlikely to cast a ballot - the Democrats have a six-point edge on the generic ballot question."
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national poll was conducted October 5-7, with 1,008 adult Americans, including 938 registered voters and 504 likely voters, questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus percentage points, with a sampling error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points for likely voters.
–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story