Generic Congressional Ballot: Nine Point Republican Lead

Scott Rasmussen, the best political pollster in the country in my opinion, had a stunner yesterday in his latest generic Congressional ballot:  the Republicans have a nine point lead, 44% to 35%.

The latest generic ballot numbers highlight a remarkable change in the political environment during 2009. When President Obama was inaugurated, the Democrats enjoyed a seven-point advantage on the Generic Ballot. That means the GOP has made a net gain of 16 percentage points over the course of the year. Support for Democrats has declined eight points since Obama’s inauguration while Republican support is up nine points.

The Republican gains began in February when Republicans in the House unanimously opposed the $787-billion economic stimulus plan proposed by the president and congressional Democrats. At that time, Republican gains came almost entirely from the GOP base. Currently, just 30% of voters believe the stimulus plan helped the economy while 38% believe it hurt.

The two parties were very close on the Generic Ballot throughout the spring, but Republicans pulled ahead for good in late June. Those GOP gains took place after the health care debate began and unaffiliated voters began to shift away from the Democrats. Only 40% of voters currently favor the health care plan, while 55% are opposed.

A little historical perspective is needed to understand what this could mean.  In 1994 when the Republicans took 54 Democrat seats in the House and took control of the House,  they were dead even with the Democrats on the generic Congressional ballot in the last poll done by Gallup just before the November election.  It is bad for the Democrats when the Republicans are within a point or two on the generic ballot, since Republicans tend to vote at a higher percentage than Democrats do.  A nine point gap, or anything close to nine points, indicates an electoral disaster of truly epic proportions for the Democrats.

19 Responses to Generic Congressional Ballot: Nine Point Republican Lead

  • “A nine point gap, or anything close to nine points, indicates an electoral disaster of truly epic proportions for the Democrats.”

    If it were already September or October I’d say that’s true, but 9 1/2 months out from the general election, I’m not so sure. Was the “gap” as big or bigger than this in early ’94?

  • In March 1994 Elaine the Democrats had a one point lead in the Gallup generic Congressional ballot. The largest lead the Republicans had on the Gallup generic ballot in 1994 was 5 points in mid August in 1994.
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/124010/generic-ballot-provides-clues-2010-vote.aspx

  • Here’s another very significant Rasmussen poll result: in Massachusetts the GOP candidate in the special election to fill Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat is only 9 points behind the Democrat — very unusual for a state as “blue” as Massachusetts.

    Among poll respondents who say they definitely WILL vote in that election, the GOP candidate is behind by only 2 percentage points! And that election is less than 2 weeks away (Jan. 19).

    If the GOP pulls off this upset — or even if they just make it a close race, say within single digits — then we’ll know something really is brewing.

  • Quite right Elaine. If a Republican takes Ted Kennedy’s old Senate seat there will be few Democrats in Congress outside of major urban centers who will not be feeling very nervous. It is an extreme long shot, but the fact that people even think it is possible is an indication of what a different type of political year 2010 may well be.

  • While I’m not excited about Republicans taking power, oh how I love seeing the Dems take it on the chin.

  • Steve, I feel the same way.

    The idea that either one of these parties will ever change society for the better is a joke. I have no faith in the GOP. But I do believe the Dems deserve to lose, and badly.

  • “The idea that either one of these parties will ever change society for the better is a joke. I have no faith in the GOP. But I do believe the Dems deserve to lose, and badly”

    Well I am not so down on the GOP as some folks are. I realize its limitations. I am not sure I want the GOP to change society. Or at least do it by itself. Often political parties are rather bad vehicles to do it. Though in the past at certain times they were in the forefront on important issues.

    Parties are just one of many vehicles to do it but they cannot do it on their own.

    Right now I just want the GOP slow some this down. I think using raw political power the powers that be in the DEM party wanted to change society on many fronts. We are seeing how the public is reacting to that.

  • My party, the Republican party, often fails to live up to my expectations when the GOP is in power. The Democrats on the other hand usually have no difficulty in exceeding my fears when they are in power.

  • Donald I think that is a good point. One of the problems is the GOP is if I might say a tad more diverse than the Democrats. Thus getting this coalition to agree on stuff is a tad harder.

    THe Dems used to be this way when Conservative blue dogs were not on the endangered species list.

  • I am bewildered that any one who knows how to think would expect a political party to change society. The parties are symptoms of the problems, not possible cures.

    The difficulty with democracy is that the representatives are indeed representative of the populace, whether Joe Six Pack or members of Mary Daly’s academentia.

  • “I am bewildered that any one who knows how to think would expect a political party to change society.”

    The Republican Party and its anti-slavery and pro-Union policies changed society radically, as did FDR and his New Deal. Political parties change societies all the time, for good and ill.

  • Don’s right. Political parties are important institutions, and they are quite often change agents, for better or worse.

  • I’m with Steve and Joe,

    I have little or no faith in either party.

    Bring back the WHIG party!

  • Tito,
    The Whig Party had its imperfect platforms and leaders too, and I don’t think anyone is suggesting that we should have “faith” in a political party. While Catholic teaching requires that we be socially engaged to appropriate ends, and even favors political engagement, it is not at all necessary for that engagment to involve the support of a political party. But nor does Catholic teaching disfavor political party involvement, even acknowledging the inevitable imperfections of all political parties. It is important that our political parties include serious lay Catholics who work to advance policies informed by Catholic teaching. The temptation in various Catholic quarters to declare some type of moral (and often intellectual) superiority derived from a self-removal from party politics is just smug nonsense. There are many trenches to be worked, and political parties are among them.
    That said, it is true that there is also the temptation for Catholics to allow their Catholicity to be subordinated to party loyalty. There is a place for loyal opposition within political parties, and perhaps Rep Stupak is giving us a lesson in it.

  • Mike P.,

    I agree with you on your points.

    Probably what I am yearning for is more a parliamentary type of governance that the U.K. has. Which would allow for more specialized parties that would cater to Catholic’s interest more effectively.

    Rather than working through the Democratic and Republican Party’s infrastructure which can be daunting at times.

  • Probably what I am yearning for is more a parliamentary type of governance that the U.K. has.

    No thanks. A parliamentary or multi-party system is not something we should ever desire, nor is it the way the country was designed.

  • No thanks. A parliamentary or multi-party system is not something we should ever desire, nor is it the way the country was designed.

    I see both the benefits and drawbacks of this, but with wishy-washy Catholics infecting both parties, ie, Nancy Pelosi and Rudy Guiliani, we get drowned out by these dissidents and end up with tools such as Bob Casey Jr. and Olympia Snowe.

  • A parliamentary or multi-party system is not something we should ever desire, nor is it the way the country was designed.

    A country is not a thing ‘designed’. Separation-of-powers and bicameralism are mere instruments, and disposable at that.

    One trouble we have is a crappy political class. A discussion of some of our predicament is here:

    http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NGM0ZmJlZmU0Yzg2YjM5YmIzM2M1YzEyN2JmNDcwODA=

Follow TAC by Clicking on the Buttons Below
Bookmark and Share
Subscribe by eMail

Enter your email:

Recent Comments
Archives
Our Visitors. . .
Our Subscribers. . .