2010: It's Close

Democrats and Republicans are neck-and-neck in generic balloting for the 2010 elections, a sign that all the prognostications of a tough midterm battle are correct.

Democrats retain a 46 percent to 44 percent lead over the GOP among registered voters, when asked which party they'll vote for in the 2010 congressional races, according to a new survey from Gallup. That's closer than it's been, for the most part, since Democrats took control of Congress in 2006, except for moments of party parity in late 2006 and just after the Republican National Convention in September '08.

But Gallup actually predicts that, if the elections were held today, Republicans would come out on top--something House Minority Whip Eric Cantor predicted not too long ago.

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Registered voters, who are the basis of this survey, aren't the same as "likely voters" in polling terminology. When elections approach, Gallup polls a pool of "likely voters" instead--a switch that, the firm says, usually sees GOP numbers go up. So according to traditional turnout models, Gallup says, Republicans would win if the election were today.

Republicans lead flat-out according to Rasmussen, by a margin of 43-39. Rasmussen has reported lower-than-average numbers for President Obama in its approval-rating tracking poll, while Gallup has given the president higher-than-average measures of public support. If, by some chance, the same phenomenon is true for generic congressional balloting, other polling agencies will likely find a number somewhere in between these two results.