BY SCOTT RASMUSSEN – With Election Day eight days away, Republican candidates hold a nine-point lead over Democrats on the Generic Congressional Ballot for the week ending Sunday, October 24, 2010. It’s the second week in a row the gap between the parties has been that wide.

Forty-nine percent (49%) of respondents say they would vote for their district’s Republican congressional candidate, while 40% would opt for his or her Democratic opponent.

Even more worrisome for Democrats, however, is the finding that among the voters who are most closely following the midterm elections Republicans hold a 56% to 38% lead.

While the margin has varied somewhat from week-to-week, Republicans have been consistently ahead on the Generic Ballot since June of last year, and their lead has run as high as 12 points and as low as three points. When Barack Obama first took office as president, the Democrats enjoyed a seven-point lead on the Generic Ballot.

Among voters not affiliated with either major party, Republicans now hold a 14-point lead.

The Republican advantage comes from a number of factors. One is the fact that midterm elections typically feature an older electorate with a smaller share of minority voters. Additionally, in 2010, there is clearly an enthusiasm gap favoring the GOP.

Results for this survey are compiled on a full-week basis, and crosstabs for full-week results and generic ballot trends are available for Platinum Members only.

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The Generic Ballot results were much different during the last two election cycles when Democrats regularly had large leads. The two parties were very close through the spring of 2009, but in June, around the time Democrats began their campaign for health care reform, Republicans pulled ahead for good.

The Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 Senate Balance of Power rankings shows Democrats with a 48-46 advantage, while six races remain Toss-Ups (California, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Washington).

The Rasmussen Reports Gubernatorial Scorecard shows Democrats solidly ahead in three states, with three more leaning their way.

Republicans are running strongly in 14 states, and eight more are leaning GOP. Eight states are currently viewed as Toss-Ups (Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon and Vermont). An Independent is leading Rhode Island’s gubernatorial race.

Most Likely Voters think their representative in Congress does not deserve reelection if he or she voted for the national health care law, the auto bailouts or the $787-billion economic stimulus plan.

Half of voters now say they’d like their vote to turn control of both the Senate and the House over to the Republican Party. But a plurality says neither political party in Congress represents the American people.

Just 30% of voters now say the country is heading in the right direction.

A majority of voters continue to favor repeal of the new national health care law, and the number who sees this outcome as likely has reached a new high.

Voters trust Republicans more than Democrats on eight out of 10 important issues regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports including the economy and health care. 

Most voters are more likely to pull the lever for a candidate who has political experience this November, and they’re more concerned with the candidates’ policies than their party affiliation.

A sizable majority of Americans say their states are now having major budget problems, and they think spending cuts, not higher taxes, are the solution. But most expect their taxes to be raised in the next year anyway.

Most voters (65%) say they prefer a government with fewer services and lower taxes rather than one with more services and higher taxes.

Forty-seven percent (47%) of voters give President Obama good or excellent marks as a leader. That’s a nine-point jump from last month but well below the 64% who felt that way one week after he took office in late January 2009.
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