In this political season the see saw have been more “saw” for Democrats as they have seen their once high poll numbers slide to the South Pole. But a new Gallup Poll may give them reason for (perhaps slim) hope: Gallup now finds the two parties tied 46 percent in a generic Congressional election ballot:
Republicans and Democrats are tied at 46% among registered voters in Gallup’s weekly tracking of congressional voting preferences, marking a shift after five consecutive weeks in which the Republicans held the advantage.
These results are based on aggregated data from more than 1,650 registered voters surveyed Aug. 30-Sept. 5 as part of Gallup Daily tracking. The results reflect more competitive voting intentions than has been the case recently. Republicans’ leads over Democrats among registered voters in three of the previous four weeks were the highest Gallup has measured for this midterm election campaign, and higher than any GOP advantage Gallup has measured in a midterm election year since 1942.
So what has changed?
Last week marked the return of President Barack Obama from his 10-day vacation, and included his national address to announce the official end of combat operations in Iraq. The president’s three-day job approval rating rose to 47% for Aug. 29-31 — a level it had reached only once since mid-July. Last week also brought media commentary in the aftermath of conservative talk-show host Glenn Beck’s massive rally in Washington, D.C. It is not clear if these or other factors affected Americans’ voting preferences as measured by the generic ballot.
Whether the 2010 race has shifted more permanently to a more competitive positioning will be apparent in the coming weeks. Nevertheless, even the current tie in the generic ballot among registered voters points to a better year for Republicans than for Democrats, given the GOP’s usual advantage in voter turnout in midterm elections.
If you had to place money on the election a safe bet would be for a Democratic party meltdown for several reasons. These ilnclude:
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.