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. Bob of Lompoc

    It's November 11th, 2009. I recall Father Bush had an 89% approval rating February 2001 as the 100 hundred hour Gulf War I began. By Election Day, ten months later, he was an also ran. Everyone, relax!

    November 11, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  2. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    After the last 30 years of Republican "leadership" we are finally emerging from the nightmare. If ANYONE votes to go back to that way of life you are either an idiot or a masochist!

    November 11, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  3. carolflowery

    Anyone who would vote for a republican after what they did to this country for 8 years have got to be out of their ever loving mind.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Anyone who would vote the dems back in after the last 10 months, never had one, mind that is

    November 11, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  4. rimantas

    Republican party, for all its faults, is the only hope for the people who want to take down Obama's policies – stop them before they start doing more damage. Obama and his liberal friends continue ignoring the good of the country. The regular people, not those the group think in the media, opposed and willing to do something will grow, and at that point will have to resort to GOP as the only means of throwing the dems out.

    Isn't it obvious to everyone? That Obama and his shouting is the best unifier for GOP? Seems like the republicans were never that inspired before – now they have a real, tangible, touchable cause to pursue.

    In a way it's not GOP who is trying to advantage of the people; it's the people who are trying to advantage of GOP.

    November 11, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  5. Don

    It's time for a new party that represents and listens to the people. We are not a government of the people by the people anymore. Most, but not all polititions vote with their part lines and do not vote how the public wants them too. We need term limits in congress and kick out all the lobbyist so our representatives will actually represent us instead of big corporations and wall street. WE THE PEOPLE have had enough.

    November 11, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  6. Nathan

    If CNN or any other network had done any vetting of Obama this poll would not be a shock to people. Instead we got Hope and Change bumper sticker slogans from almost every network for nine months. Face it....Obama is a Tax and spend Liberal with a dangerous Socialist Ideology. People are shifting their support because at the end of the day they realize that (at least in principle) one party stands for fiscal restraint and one party wants to spend us into oblivion. Republicans/Conservatives are not perfect, but they are a lot better than the Administration we have now.

    November 11, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  7. Bob in Kansas City

    American's still must remember how we got to where we are now and that the journey of "profit at any cost" the GOP ideology is what has brought us to the brink of economic collapse and the working class has been neglected for far too long!

    November 11, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  8. scc

    Well... Hope & Change should have been Change and (then) Hope (it works). Absolutely no idea what's going on....( sigh)

    November 11, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  9. Bubba

    All politics is local. Haven't you realized that yet? I'd even vote for a Repugnican if he'd stop my yard flooding and the Democrat wouldn't. We voted for Obama because he was NOT GEORGE BUSH. Not because we are starry-eyed moonbats or whatever you koolaid drinkers tell each other at the mad tea parties. I keep telling you, get a grip.

    November 11, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  10. Slappy White

    I predict a year from now the public will give Republicans real taste of what it means to be the Party of No when they don't make any sizeable gains in the House and are left with even fewer seats in the Senate.

    November 11, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  11. Patrick

    "barack hussein obama? the only ones who saved their political career are the ones who voted against it. This health care bill barely passed the House by 5 votes out of a total of 435 votes! How is this bill even close to representing what real americans (not ACORN workers) want. 2010 will make what happend in 94' look like child's play"

    Quickest way to lose Baracks middle name then mention Acorn.

    If what happened in 94 happens in 2010 then the 2011 recession (since it was Newt and republicans in the 90's that repealed Glass-Steagall which led to the financial collapse last year) will be much worse.

    November 11, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  12. Shadysider

    While Obama has been WAY more moderate than I or many thought he was going to be (get on don't ask, don't tell, and other 'easy' political moves) his administration has fallen prey to some of the same lobbyists that he said would have no place in his administration. He bowed to the banking and auto industries (though Republicans would have done the same thing), and also has allowed the health-care plan to be chopped by the Insurance and Drug Company lobbies. He's actually TOO moderate at this point. Republicans got us in the current predicament and had/have no idea how to get out of this mess and in the last election they ran a less than 1 term total QUITTER as their VP candidate and their base thought SHE is the good one! While I may disagree with more than a few of the things the Democratic Party has done in its less than one year in power, there is NO WAY I am seriously considering giving the Republican Party any consideration. They are going further and further Right and allowing the social conservastives to take over their party.

    November 11, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  13. scc

    As long as we get to choose between Tweedle dee and Tweedle dum... either way... we're gettin' a Tweedle

    November 11, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  14. Necie in OKC

    It's amazing how really stupid we (Americans) can be. We want everything quick, fast and in a hurry. With all the problems to fix from the Last administration....we should count our blessing that we finally have a leader who gets the Big Picture and works for long term solutions. It will take time to turn around our economy, jobs, healthcare and Both wars.

    Stop being pessimistic and Stuck on stupid. Do YOUR part, Be Patient and watch it get better.

    November 11, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  15. C. A.

    "...Americans are divided over whether they'd vote for the Democratic or Republican candidate in their district."

    This is why I read CNN!

    November 11, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  16. Rick CT

    Since the Dems want to control all aspects of our lives (health care, the banking system, the Fed, our compensation, the auto companies, etc), expect them to take the Massachusetts example of empowering their governor based on the governor's political affiliation one step further and try to pass a law mandating that only a democrat can win an election. After the voters defied St. Barack and crew in VA and NJ, expect them to be hopping mad and work tharder to gain control of us before the next elections.

    November 11, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  17. Paul from Phoenix

    Both parties are terrible. Neither Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi or John Boehner care about anyone but their politicas arse.

    I always find it funny when people say their party cares. The economy started going in the tank in 2007. Guess who was in charge of Congress? Are we better off today then we were before the 2006 election?

    No. Neither party can control power. That is why term limits are the only hope for our country. 3 terms for Senate, 6 terms for House.

    November 11, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  18. Ann

    The main reason Mr. Bush was a disaster is that he created conditions for Obama to be elected. The big disaster is just coming.

    November 11, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  19. CommonSense, BrooklynBranch#1215

    I, for one, has not been in a trance for the last 8 years of "Republican Leadership". They have failed, and failed miserably. The Republicans, as presently constitued, are totally devoid of worthwhile ideas. Their ideology of smaller government and smaller deficits have been rendered bogus by their past performance.

    As a pragmatic independent, I feel I have no choice but to give the Democrats a chance, at least for the next few years.

    November 11, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  20. LS

    It is interesting to notice how divided even these comments are. It is nearly every other one that backs dems or repubs. I would have to say at this point we are a nation divided. I am not saying anyone is at fault, but it is a little sad.

    November 11, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  21. lefty loosy

    Wow the party of change needs to change real quick and come accross with what they were elected for .
    Ain't gonna happen politics as usual in the USA.
    The Looney Left and the Religious Right are both out of touch with
    mainstream America.

    November 11, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  22. dick delson

    I have no problem voting for a Republican, as long as he/she is not a right wing jerk.

    November 11, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  23. dudochnicht

    Most Americans are not in the middle. Nor are the majority on the right or left. The majority just want Washington to go away, act important, pat themselves on the back, and then do nothing. Most of us know that Washington solutions, from whatever side, nearly always steal too many freedoms, limit our choices, cost too much, and ultimately cause more problems than they fix. A "Moderate" wants solutions from Washington that are in the middle. That is not the same as a libertarian that wants their solutions closer to home.

    November 11, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  24. k

    That just how stupid people are in this country. The democrats are trying to make things better for everyone, while the republicans just sit and complain. They do nothing.

    November 11, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  25. Dave

    The tide is turning! Yes, the republicans made mistakes in recent years. However, the democrats are exacerbating those mistakes with increased debt and deficits. Both parties better wise up, or a third party will emerge and overshadow them.

    November 11, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
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