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Four years after Democrats trounced Republicans in the 2006 midterm elections over outrage against the Iraq War, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds the GOP making big gains and ready to retake much of Congress this November. Here's what the poll says and what it means for the political parties and their prospects.

  • Voters Trust GOP, Dems About Equally  The Washington Post's Dan Balz and Jon Cohen report, "For the first time in more than four years, Republicans run about evenly with Democrats on the basic question of which party they trust to handle the nation's biggest problems. Among registered voters, 40 percent say they have more confidence in Democrats and 38 percent say they have more trust in Republicans. Three months ago, Democrats had a 12-point advantage."
  • Part of Bleak Picture for Dems  The Washington Monthly's Steve Benen writes, "three national polls have been released over the last 24 hours. To say that they all offer bleak news for Democrats would be a dramatic understatement. Last week, I was dismissive of Gallup's erratic generic-ballot poll showing the GOP with a 10-point edge. It's impossible, however, to dismiss the obvious trend evident in the latest data." He adds, "the CNN poll shows an unpopular Republican Party, which voters blame for the nation's economic problems. The same poll shows Republicans leading on the generic ballot by seven, 52% to 45%, up from a three-point edge a month ago."
  • GOP Gaining on Economy  National Review's Daniel Foster writes, "Sizable majorites — 57 and 58 percent respectively — disapprove of the president’s handling of the economy and deficits. Significantly, Republicans enjoy a 4-point lead over Democrats, 43-39, on the handling financial problems. That is the first time since 2002 that Republicans have led on this question in the poll."
  • 'It's The Economy, Stupid'  Mother Jones's Kevin Drum writes, "Americans trust Democrats more to handle the country's problems, they think Democrats represent their values better, they think Democrats are more concerned with the needs of people like them, and they think Democrats deserve to be reelected at a higher rate than Republicans. They also think ... that George Bush is substantially more to blame for the lousy economy than Barack Obama. And the result of all this? They say they plan to vote for Republicans by landslide numbers. It's the economy, stupid."
  • Why Voters Blame GOP, Plan to Vote Against Dems  The Washington Monthly's Steve Benen explains, "I realize that results like these don't make a lot of sense. Given a choice between the party that created the mess and the party cleaning it up, voters are prepared to side with the former in large numbers. It's irrational and counter-productive, but it's happening anyway -- voters are angry and frustrated, so they intend to punish the majority, even if it works against their interests; even though it's not the majority's fault; even if makes things worse." The Washington Post's Greg Sargent puts it bluntly: "Voters have very short memories."

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