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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bad news for Congressional Republicans

From Public Policy Polling






PPP's newest national poll finds that after a little more than 3 months in charge House Republicans have fallen so far out of favor with the American public that it's entirely possible Democrats could take control of the House back next year.

43% of voters think that House Republicans are doing a worse job now than the Democrats did, compared to only 36% who think the GOP has brought an improvement. 19% think things are about the same. 62% of voters thinking that the Republicans have either made things worse or brought no improvement to an already unpopular Congress does not bode particularly well for the party.

46% of voters say that if there was an election for Congress today they would vote Democratic, compared to only 41% who would vote Republican. That five point advantage for Democrats is only a hair below the margin Republicans won by in the national popular vote last year. A victory of that magnitude for the Democrats next year would at the very least result in the party taking back a large number of the seats it lost last year, and it could be enough to take back the outright majority- hard to say at this point without knowing how good a number the GOP can do in redistricting.

The key to this strong movement back toward the Democrats right now is the same as the key to the strong movement away from the Democrats last year- fickle independents quickly growing unhappy with the party in power. Exit polls showed independents supporting the GOP by a 19 point margin last year at 56-37. Now only 30% of those voters think that the Republican controlled House is moving things in the right direction, compared to 44% who think things were better with the Democrats. Given those numbers it's not much of a surprise that independents now say they'd vote Democratic for the House by a 42-33 margin if these was an election today, representing a 28 point reversal in a span of just five months.

These poll numbers also point to the reality that Republicans taking control of the House may have been one of the best things that could possibly have happened for Obama's reelection prospects. Although we found the President with slightly negative approval numbers on this poll, when asked whether they had more faith in Obama or Congressional Republicans to lead the country in the right direction 48% of voters picked Obama to only 42% who went with Congressional Republicans. Voters may not love Obama as once they did but they're finding him to be more reasonable than the alternative and that means it will be hard for the GOP to knock him off next year without a top notch nominee.

One thing is very much for certain- it's not 2010 anymore.
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