Good News For Republicans: Polls Show GOP Narrowing Congressional Vote Gap (UPDATED)
The latest Zogby poll is good — and big — news for Republicans:
Following an aggressive media blitz, the latest Zogby America poll finds the standing of President Bush and congressional Republicans climbing as the November elections rapidly approach.
The telephone survey was conducted Sept. 12-14, 2006, included 1,034 respondents, and carries a margin of error of +/â€“ 3.1 percentage points.
The poll contains good news for congressional Republicans battling a strong Democratic push to retake the House and Senate. While Republican congressional candidates trailed their Democratic counterparts in the â€œgeneric ballotâ€? question by a 39% to 31% margin a month ago, today they have whittled the Democratsâ€™ lead to just three points, 37% to 34%.
Yes, polls are like see-saws and are snapshots in time, as we often say. But this one is highly significant: it is NO LONGER “given” as it was months ago that the Democrats will take control of one or more houses of Congress…particularly if this trend in early September continues. AND:
Coming on the heels of a series of policy speeches culminating in a Sept. 11 address to the nation outlining the Presidentâ€™s vision for domestic anti-terror programs and the War in Iraq, the Zogby survey shows President Bushâ€™s standing has increased five points since mid-August, when just 34% of voters rated him positively. Bush had previously risen to 37% in a Sept. 5 Zogby America poll.
The poll does, however, suggest a Democratic strategy of â€œnationalizingâ€? the mid-term elections has succeeded, with 71% of respondents in the poll saying their vote this fall will be driven by national, rather than local, issues. But voters planning on casting ballots for Republicans are more likely than those voting for Democrats to say they are casting their ballot based on national issues by a 79% to 69% margin.
Another positive development for Congressional Republicans is that one in four of their supportersâ€”23%â€”consider terrorism the top issue as they go to the polls, easily the top issue for those backing the GOP. This is the same percentage as say they will vote for Democrats based on the War in Iraq and general U.S. foreign policy. Republican candidates also continue to benefit from the dual issues of morality and values, which are motivating one in nine voters planning to pull the Republican lever this fall. Another 8% of GOP supporters say the War in Iraq and U.S. foreign policy are their prime motivators.
For Democrats, meanwhile, the war in Iraq is clearly the top issue, at 23%. But more traditional Democratic issues like jobs and the economy (14%), education (10%), and healthcare (5%) round out the top four issues for Democratic voters. Terrorism barely registers, at 4%, while the environment is a non-issue for Democrats at 2%, despite repeated discussion over the past year of global climate change.
If you look at several other recent polls you see the same trend (as of September): the GOP and GWB seem in slow ascent.
UPDATE: Some other polls show Democrats still have a strong lead.