Democrats Widen Lead in Gallup Poll

The Republicans continue their free fall in the latest Gallup poll.

A Capitol Hill sex scandal has reinforced public doubts about Republican leadership and pushed Democrats to a huge lead in the race for control of Congress four weeks before Election Day, the latest USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows.

Democrats had a 23-point lead over Republicans in every group of people questioned — likely voters, registered voters and adults — on which party’s House candidate would get their vote. That’s double the lead Republicans had a month before they seized control of Congress in 1994 and the Democrats’ largest advantage among registered voters since 1978.

Nearly three in 10 registered voters said their representative doesn’t deserve re-election — the highest level since 1994. President Bush’s approval rating was 37% in the new poll, down from 44% in a Sept. 15-17 poll. And for the first time since the question was asked in 2002, Democrats did better than Republicans on who would best handle terrorism, 46%-41%.

Granting that this is yet another poll of adults rather than likely voters–a given with Gallup, inexplicably–this is obviously not good for the GOP. While I suspect Republicans still lead Democrats on the terrorism question among those who actually vote, there’s no denying widespread disgust with the current crop of leadership.

UPDATE: Michael Demmons points out in the comments that the story, even the excerpt above, mentions registered voters. The question breakout, though, says the poll was “conducted October 6-8, 2006. Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,007 National Adults.”

The poll included a voter screen: “Regular voters are defined as registered voters who say they ‘always vote’ and who say they voted in the last mid-term election. The regular voter sample consists of 490 respondents and has a margin of sampling error of ±5 pct. pts.” Frankly, a likely voter subsample of 490 divided over three nights is virtually worthless.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2006, Public Opinion Polls, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. James,

    You said: “Granting that this is yet another poll of adults rather than likely voters

    But the article says: Democrats had a 23-point lead over Republicans in every group of people questioned — likely voters, registered voters and adults

  2. BTW, even the graph on the page you link says: “Source: USA Today/Gallup poll of 622 likely voters taken Friday-Sunday.”

    My problem with this is that 622 is a pretty small sample.

  3. Michael beat me to it.

  4. You make a point about the structure of the sample.

  5. Frankly, a likely voter subsample of 490 divided over three nights is virtually worthless.

    Unless, of course, you are trying to push an opinion.

  6. Pug says:

    For all the trashing of methodology, questions and other internal polling trivia, the polls do seem to come pretty close to the actual result most of the time.