Republicans Jump To Historic Lead In Gallup Generic Ballot
The newest Gallup Generic Congressional Ballot poll shows a dramatic turn in favor of the GOP:
PRINCETON, NJ — Gallup tracking of 2010 congressional voting preferences shows Republicans moving back ahead of Democrats, 49% to 43%, by two points their largest lead of the campaign to date. Registered voters’ preferences had been closely divided for the last several weeks.
These results are based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews conducted May 24-30. Republicans’ largest advantage on the generic ballot prior to now was four points during the week of April 5-11. The GOP held a three-point advantage the week of April 12-18.
The shift from a more competitive race to a Republican lead occurred the same week President Barack Obama averaged a 46% job approval rating, his lowest weekly average to date.
Given the Republican Party’s usual advantage in voter turnout in midterm elections, a tie on the generic congressional ballot among registered voters, as Gallup has been reporting, typically suggests that the party would win the national popular vote for Congress if the election were held today. Now, with a lead on the generic ballot, Republicans could be in a slightly stronger position than they have been in, though it is not clear whether the recent shift marks the beginning of a lasting change in the structure of the race or perhaps a short-term response to political events such as the Obama administration’s handling of the BP oil spill. The latter appeared to be the case earlier this year as Republicans built a small lead after the healthcare bill’s passage into law, but the slight bump for the GOP among registered voters did not last.
In addition to those factors, the poll also shows that Republican-leaning voters remain more enthusiastic than Democrats and that independent voters are decisively leaning toward the GOP by a margin of 47%-34%. While it’s hard to translate polls like this into predictions of how many seats might actually change hands in November, it seems fairly clear that the odds of significant Republican gains, in the range of 35-50 seats in the House and 5-7 seats in the Senate, are certainly within the realm of possibility.
As with all such things, of course, this is merely a snapshot it time and the only poll that matters is the one on November 2, 2010