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. Republicans are the American Taliban are really missing out on an opprotunity!! Why not have hourly polls regarding the 2016 could create big misleading headlines about how each party is up or trouble here...facing defeat there... It's just what America needs now and you would be filling that need.

    November 11, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  2. Ben in Texas

    One week a poll "proves" one thing, and the next it "proves" the opposite. Meanwhile, the differences in score between the two options is within the polling error in both cases, meaning that neither poll proves anything, and that the real results are totally inconclusive. And, it's a year until the election.

    I suggest that another story about Michael Jackson would be more news worthy than these poll results.

    In point of fact, there is no lack of news in the world that necessitates that CNN conduct worthless polls. It's just that major news stories from around the world, including important stories from this country, are carefully filtered out before they reach the American market. To get those stories, one has to listen to foreign radio or search diligently on the web. We can hardly be blamed if we think that America is the center of the universe.

    November 11, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  3. Me

    CNN, you forgot to mention the 2 to 1 preference of GOPers to Democrats by Independant voters and that the gap is getting wider. Ooops. Apparently all Democrats have to do to lose office is actually enact their assinine policies.

    November 11, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  4. Vote for the best person, not party

    I don't care about the party.

    I want honest, common sense leaders. Any that voted for the government healthcare overhaul should ALL be kicked out. Whenever you have to create a WHOLE NEW SYSTEM, you'll run into BIG PROBLEMS.

    Pelosi and Obama's healthcare plan is like demolishing a car because it's windshield wipers aren't working and a tire is flat. We should fix small issues one at a time.

    November 11, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  5. Richp

    When common sense independents make some inroads I'll be interested, until then democrat or republican are the same. Of course get some of the democrats in republican clothing out of the republican party and I might be interested.

    November 11, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  6. JP

    We only have two Parties. We will keep on switching them back and forth until we find one that cares about us. We know the Republicans don't care for the little people and the Dems don't know how to work together for the little ones. It's us agains them. (politicians) We need to start recalling them.People, don't let them play us like yoyo. Think about it. what have they done for us lately? The economy is bad but price is going up on everything and they're adding toll on the free roads. How we suppose to pay for it? Don't let none of them foul you. Vote for the party that has our interest; not in mind only but also does something for us. Unless, we see it don't believe them.

    November 11, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  7. bill

    fat lady is getting tuned up to sing the libs out of congress, maybe just maybe this country has a chance to survive. keep it up libs– keep doing all the crazy garbage you been trying to do...keep following this idiotic administration and its horrible policies. that being said, the right doesnt have much to say either. the spending has got to stop before we are bankrupt and bowing down to China. Give the country back to the people– which the majority have conservative views and we want this progressive bs to stop.

    November 11, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  8. Justin

    As a Democrat, I must admit, I'm not surprised. I hope it turns around and we don't lose too many seats.

    November 11, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  9. Stop the Spending

    You cannot continue to spend money at the current rate without paying a price.

    November 11, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  10. Tim

    The biggest part of this whole article is the Independent voters. 52% will vote Republican, while just 20% will vote democrat. How stupid are the democrats in the House and in the Senate? All summer long people from their districts (not fake ACORN workers) were showing up at town halls screaming at them to not vote for this health care reform bill, so what do they do, they vote for it. They gave up their political careers for someone named 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. Pelosi tries to convince all of these dems that in 94' they got voted out becauuse they didn't pass HillaryCare, when in fact they were voted out because they tried to pass HillaryCare.

    November 11, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  11. Brenda

    The Democrats have no idea how bad they are going to get their butts kicked in 2010.

    If CNN is going to mention their poll results-–you should see the Fox poll results!!! The Fox poll results are saying the same thing as the Gallup poll results (but worse)--that the Democrats are going to get clobbered in 2010.

    Most experts are now saying-they do not expect the economy/unemployment rate to be much better by Nov 2010-–and the Democrats will pay dearly for this during the elections!!

    November 11, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  12. tim

    Who has time to participate in daily poll's? I really don't care who's up or down americans typically vote in the same way they use the drive through window at McDonalds.

    November 11, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  13. NYCgirl

    Great – more republicans to take away my civil rights and make tax cuts for rich people. Joy.

    November 11, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  14. 30 Year Veteran

    A Used to be Democrat who says America needs a clean sweep of the immoral Democratic Party. This country needs a good cleansing. DO IT NOW before it is too late.

    November 11, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  15. Josh C

    So what this article is saying is that every study has been within the margin if error. So statistically things haven't changed since July. So how can you say the GOP has made gains? Come on CNN, get some real statisticians that know how to analyze data.

    November 11, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  16. Minnesotan

    CNN and their 'polls' are usually a joke: I love watching their election night returns when they 'predict' the winner when only 2% of the precincts have turned in their votes. Sorry, guys, you're making yourselves look as ridiculous as Fox Noise.

    November 11, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  17. Fair is Fair

    "Independent voters were decidedly stronger in their preference for a Republican candidate, choosing the GOP by a 22 percent margin - 52 to 30 percent - according to the survey."

    Bad news for the socialist agenda.

    November 11, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  18. Really???

    This is probably based on a lot of misinformation and attributing problems to the opposite party. Yesterday one of the normal right-wing posters screamed OUTRAGE! about the shooter at Fort Hood being known to have communicated with terrorists and Obama not doing anything about it. The report on this information showed that the information was found and reviewed in 2008, and it was decided that he didn't pose a threat. This reveiw was done by the Bush Administration. But hey, why worry about facts when you're just a raving lunatic anyway, eh?

    November 11, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  19. DJ

    So, basically, after decades of being closely divided on party loyalty, we Americans are, still, closely divided on party loyalty. One year it tips to the Republicans, the next time to the Democrats, over and over again. So we're still a 51/49 nation. And this is a big shock to some people?

    November 11, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  20. Obama Victim

    and the 2010 Dem bloodbath continues.....................

    November 11, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  21. Jack

    I think that what both parties fail to recognize is that many of us who are deeply disaffected are not voting FOR their party so much as we are voting AGAINST the folks in power. The Democrats won in 2006 and in 2008's Congressional election (leave the Presidential race aside for the moment) because we were all sick of the Republicans' apparently total commitment to hypocrisy and the abandonment of its small-government core value.

    We'll be sufficiently sick of the Democrats in 2010 that they will lose a record number of seats in Congress. Unfortunately, nothing much will change as a result.

    November 11, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  22. Bill

    Does it matter? Whoever we elect, they all exhibit the same political cowardice that prevents them from making the difficult decisions that are necessary to restore fiscal sanity to our once great country.

    November 11, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  23. Liberal Astroturf

    Over the past month I've noticed a bunch of liberal 'astroturf' posters. They attack anyone and everything that even hints to be conservative. Most of the stuff that these liberal buffoons (you know who you are), is PURE SLANDER and INTOLERANCE.

    As Americans, we can respectfully disagree. My liberal friends and I get along fine. We discuss/joke about politics (rarely) but understand that we all want WHAT IS BEST FOR THE COUNTRY.

    BTW: Liberal haters are the only reason Sarah Paliin gets so much time on CNN. If you stopped reading and writing 'hate mail', articles wouldn't be written. Seriously, CNN runs 10 stories to every one on other news sites.

    November 11, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  24. John

    More people would back a Republican after the financial mess we inherited from the Republicans? The wars? Lack of compassion? Dishonesty? Corruption? Hypocrisy? Illiteracy? Ignorance?

    All the attributes that apparently identify the American people who'd support such a choice.

    November 11, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  25. frank from Az

    Not surprising since the Republicans have a cohesive message. That message may be 'NO', but at least they speak with one voice. That shows a strength through unity. We as a people admire strength.
    The Democrats on the other hand shows a serious weakness of
    division. The Health Care debates reflects this most. The problem with the Health Care debates is that the Democrats are fighting with each other and showing they are incapable of getting anything done.
    The ALL need to realize that when they were voted in the people who
    voted for them knew what Obama's plan for the Public Option was, but
    voted Democrat anyways. There may be differences on abortion, but
    the people wanted Health Care reform, including a robust Public Option.

    November 11, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
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