News & Election Videos

September 09, 2008

GOP Looking Better?

Could the national landscape be getting better for Republicans? The party trails generic Congressional ballot matchups in three new surveys, but their deficit to Democrats is significantly smaller than it once was.

The polls, conducted by Financial Dynamics for The Hotline and Diageo; Gallup for USA Today; and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research for Democracy Corps, show Republicans trailing by four to nine points among voters, a significantly smaller gap than polls earlier this summer that showed Republicans in as poor shape as they were just before the 2006 midterm elections.

The Diageo/Hotline survey polled 924 registered voters between 9/5-7 for a margin of error of +/- 3.2%.

General Election Matchup
(All / Dem / GOP / Ind)
Generic Dem.......42 / 82 / 7 / 21
Generic GOPer.....33 / 7 / 74 / 20

The USA Today/Gallup poll surveyed 1,022 adults between 9/5-7 for a margin of error of +/- 3.1%, with subsamples of 959 registered voters (+/- 3.2%) and 823 likely voters (+/- 3.4%).

General Election Matchup
(All / RVs / LVs)
Generic Dem.......48 / 48 / 45 (-5 among adults since last, 8/23)
Generic GOPer.....44 / 45 / 50 (+6)

The Democracy Corps poll was conducted 9/1-3 among 1,000 likely voters for a margin of error of +/- 3.1%.

General Election Matchup
(All / Dem CDs / GOP CDs)
Generic Dem.......50 / 64 / 36
Generic GOPer.....45 / 31 / 57

Earlier this summer, Democrats held leads approaching 20%. But Republicans have long maintained that Congress' low approval rating -- sitting at just under 18% in the latest RCP Congressional Average -- would cost Democrats in November.

Many pollsters and pundits, including this writer, view Congressional approval ratings as a better reflection for the way voters see Washington as a whole, the reasoning being that few voters actually pay attention to what Congress is doing.

But National Republican Congressional Committee chairman Tom Cole made a good point in an interview with The Scorecard this week in St. Paul, hinting that internal polling showed more voters than average know which party is in charge of Congress. That reflects poorly on Democrats, who have so far taken shelter behind an unpopular president, and it could cost them marginal seats in November.

Republicans still face a harsh electoral climate as they trail the generic ballot matchups. But perhaps it's not as bad as it was even earlier this summer.