November 11th, 2009
02:01 PM ET
13 years ago

Poll: GOP makes gains in battle for Congress

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. mtrl

    folks....this isn't a football game. This is OUR country we are talking about and letting these selfish idiot politicians destroy along with our jobs, education, etc.....don't vote for parties anymore. Vote for the individual. Why are we already talking about support for candidates when we haven't heard or seen what they stand for......and once they do speak we need to question them. And question them in a real way, not like the teabaggers are doing. That isn't discussion, that is simply disruption. They are doing more damage to the process than the actual politicians are doing.....

    November 11, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  2. Marion/Alabama

    The republicans may have left us in a hole but,the Democrats are trying to close the coffin on us,by all this Tax ,Spend and borrowing. We do not have a Trillion dollars to pay for health care,we do not have the money necessary to pay off the deficit,So why are the Democrats trying to start another government program which they can not fund? do not care which party is in pwoer as long as they will use some fiscal responsibility,and we have not seen that from Obama's Administration.

    November 11, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  3. Stef

    Problem is that Dems are bit too far left, Repubs are a bit too far right, and most of the working class is in the middle. Time for the moderate Dems like Joe Lieberman and the moderate Repubs like McCain to round up those of like minds and start the new American Centrist party. It would put the Dems and Repubs out of business.

    November 11, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  4. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    This poll suggest go with the devil unknown (since the Reps have proposed really nothing to help change the terrible course we were on both in the economy and on healthcare) vs. the known of what people are trying to do.

    I will say this – the Dems have a had a chance over the last 10 months to lead, and they've timidly done so. The Reps, when in power, just rammed everything thru. Maybe the Dems need to go that route and see the positive reaction they receive.

    November 11, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  5. Stu

    The reality is that the Democrats have controlled congress and the white house for the vast majority of the time since c.1900. To their credit we have the mess of social security, a ridiculous tax code, welfare galore, open borders, more welfare, government involvement in every aspect of our lives, more welfare, and let's not forget the illegal WW1 (the US was never attacked), the illegal WW2 (only Japan attacked, after we forced them into a corner), the illegal Korean war (the US was never attacked and we continue to spend untold billions there today), the illegal Vietnam war (the US was never attacked), the illegal war in Bosnia (the US was never attacked, and it was over influence proximate to the Siberian oil routes, not stopping genocide), the embarassment over the Iran hostage crisis (when a spineless Carter failed to act), setting the stage for Al Qaeda by getting involved in Afghanistan (another Carter fiasco), the start of the mortgage meltdown (Carter, CRA), and then Clinton's bumbling and refusing to take out Bin Laden when he had the chance.

    Yep, good job Democrats. The only good Democrat was JFK. He was undoubtably the best president in modern history.

    November 11, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  6. Chris - Seattle

    I also wish people would open their eyes and realize that it's globalization and our inability to align properly with it, that's killing American jobs more than anything else that I can think of. Other than maybe the fact that some in corporate America also want to see President Obama fail and what better way to do that than piss everyone off by sending them to the unemployment line and then blame this administration. I actually knew this was going to happen, because folk are to self indulged to continue to support this administration after we got them in, which is pretty indicative of how many folk didn't vote recently compared to how many last November.

    November 11, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  7. margy

    Obama is an idiot! too many broken promises. Republicans are better with the economy.

    November 11, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  8. Terry from West Texas

    Here is the problem. Between the Liberals and the Conservatives are a lot of voters who are very changeable. They bend with the wind like tall grass. Palin can't name a single book, newspaper, or magazine she has ever read and they're against Palin. Palin says, "Obama's death panels will kill your grandmother" and they are for Palin. Bush says, "Let's go to war" and they are all for war, then a coffin comes back home and they are all against the war. These folks are not thinkers, they are feelers. They go with their emotions without, apparently, a thought in their head.

    This favors the shrill emotional rhetoric of the Conservatives. There is no Liberal rhetoric because Liberalism is pretty much dead in America. The Democrats in office are mostly people who have found a really swell career, and all they want is to get reelected.

    November 11, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  9. Patrick

    "2010 = 1994. obozo is going down"

    Been in office a few months and all you want to do is "take him down". How productive and helpful.

    There isnt a presidential election in 2010 so you can't take him down anyway. Maybe there will be more repub senators/reps but that still doesn't "take him down".

    Americans are not so fickle that they elected for change and then say after Bush creates the biggest disaster given to any president that we should go back to the party that gave us BUSH.

    November 11, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  10. Conservative Independant

    I find it interesting that M. Jodi Rell, Governor of Connecticut has announced she'll not run for yet another term and wonder if she has an eye on Washington D.C..

    November 11, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |

    Obama, "The Iron Seed" must be the offspring of such seed never
    displaying any emotions nor connections toward country, people or

    November 11, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    In 2010, I will not vote for a Republican or a Democrat, I will simply vote "Present." Change, we can't decide on!! Obama for 2012 and beyond!!

    November 11, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  13. dudochnicht

    The unemployment numbers are not reliable. Some say real unemployment is at 15% and headed to 20%. Unemployment numbers and trends are something pols love to play with. Look instead to commercial real estate which is expected to be downhill for the next 3-4 years. There would not be a problem there if small busiinesses were doing fine. If small businesses are not doing fine, then unemployment cant be either.

    November 11, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  14. TCM

    that's good news! unfortunately, the bad news is we still have to suffer the onslaught to our nation caused by the irresponsible and anti-American democrats until 2010....and 2012 to unhinge the worst of all, Obama. It's a good test case though, for the American people to see that liberals truly are quite incapable of running the government or making effective decisions, both from a social or economic viewpoint. When you have cheerleaders for someone like Nancy Pelosi, who obviously suffers from some entrenched mental disorder, it's amazing how many still follow this Pied Piper....

    November 11, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  15. irwin

    Good news! The Dems need to learn they won't succeed by being more like the Repubs, and sacrificing principles! They become indistinguishable – and more important – THEY FAIL!!

    November 11, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  16. Kingssman

    I don't get it. After 8 years of bushco and the sweeps made in 2006 and 2008 which pretty much voted every republican out of office, and the people's choice to choose a liberal democrat over a moderate republican with a conservative VP that turned virginia into a swing state, NOw they want to try the republican ticket again? They say americans have short memories. Every election cycle only proves that point

    November 11, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  17. Zach K


    They ruined our country, and they screwed us over.

    November 11, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  18. Patrick

    Hard to understand why anyone with a job would be a Democrat. Easy to understand why those who want handouts are.

    Here we go again... repubs characterizing democrats as wanting a handout. Sorry I don't... I also don't want to give handouts to big corporations and big defense/big pharma/big healthcare but thats all the republicans do.

    I would rather "handouts" go to my fellow Americans... than to a giant corporation.

    November 11, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  19. vera

    who every say they will vote republican are sick in the head i will never vote republican no matter all they do is fool people because they only for the rich and mr steele not helping his own party. he need to wake up because he just there for show to fool people . never never mr steele i will never vote republican

    November 11, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  20. Rueben

    Is it any wonder. If Pelosi and Reid keep running things they will only get worse. The American public know it – some just may not admit it.

    November 11, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  21. Nathan

    I see several people think that Obama was not elected by a majority (from posts saying things like most of us did not vote for you). Seriously? Please tell me you know how an election works... Obama not only won the electoral vote by a wide margin, but also the popular vote. The only president to win without the popular vote was GWB in 2000.
    And those of you complaining about jobs being lost are complaining about the wrong people. Our economy was tanked by the Bush Administration, and Obama has done everything he can to prop it back up. I work for a non-partisan (but very conservative) financial firm, whose market analysts thinks that the stimulus, as well as Bush's TARP, were absolutely necessary to keep us from going into an all-out depression. Jobs will come back, but they always take the most time to do so – and it makes sense. First the market comes back, then people spend a little more money, then, way down the line after businesses start to pull in enough money to make up for a terrible 2008, new jobs will be created. But our lack of jobs now is solely due to our economic downfall which began when GWB was president.

    November 11, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  22. Nan

    I, for one, do not vote according to party. I vote for the individual. It appears many others are starting to do the same. I will say this though, polls change like the wind. I don't put much stock in them,. I change in the economy for the better or worse, nonpassage of healthcare etc. could turn the polls on their head overnight.

    November 11, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  23. mark

    Americans must retake our country in 2010. Please save America!

    November 11, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  24. Mike

    "Time for the moderate Dems like Joe Lieberman and the moderate Repubs like John McCain to round up those of like minds and start the new American Centrist party."

    I'd join-up in a heartbeat.

    November 11, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  25. JS

    Republicans offer nothing; and just wait until we see the can of assorted mixed nuts that the republicans will offer as candidates. It will be a collection of right-wing nut jobs that the people will reject.

    November 11, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12