More Bad News for Dems in the Generic Ballot

More Bad News for Dems in the Generic Ballot

By Sean Trende - September 7, 2010

Four generic polls have come in over the past few days which generally contained bad news for Democrats. Rasmussen Reports showed Republicans with a 12 point lead, 48 percent to 36 percent, tying their previous best showing. CNN showed Republicans up by seven, an improvement from their earlier 48 percent/45 percent lead. Since Rasmussen polls likely voters, while CNN polls registered voters, these polls are actually rather consistent. Republicans typically fare a couple points better among the actual electorate than registered voter polls would suggest.

Perhaps the biggest shock came from the ABC News/Washington Post poll, which showed Republicans leading 47 percent to 45 percent among registered voters, a swing of five points in the Republicans' direction since June. But among likely voters, Republicans led by 13 points, 53 percent to 40 percent. This is an improvement of nine net points from July. Though this is a slightly better swing from a registered voter sample to a likely voter sample than we might expect, it is certainly consistent with Gallup's measurement of the enthusiasm gap.

In its poll, Gallup showed the parties tied among registered voters, which is relatively good news for Democrats. But even this is consistent with a 1994-style result since the Republicans are probably up by about five points in the actual electorate thanks to their 25-point edge in enthusiasm.

Sean Trende is senior elections analyst for RealClearPolitics. He is a co-author of the 2014 Almanac of American Politics and author of The Lost Majority. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @SeanTrende.

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