- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Registered voters now prefer Republican over Democrat candidates in the 2010 House elections, a change largely based on the shifting sentiments of independents, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday.

The new poll shows Republicans ahead of Democrats 48 percent to 40 percent after trailing by 6 percentage points in July, then 2 points last month, the polling group found.

The poll was based on a generic ballot, which means the voters were not picking specific candidates, and followed the recent elections in New Jersey and Virginia in which Republicans replaced Democrat governors.

“As was the case in last Tuesday’s gubernatorial elections, independents are helping the Republicans’ cause,” said Gallup’s Jeff Jones.

In the new poll, independent registered voters favor the Republican to Democrat candidate 52 percent to 30 percent.

Meanwhile, the major parties maintained loyalty from their bases: 91 percent of the Democrat voters preferring the their party’s candidate and 93 percent of the Republican voters preferring the Republican candidate.

Gallup indicated that the results suggest a strong showing by Republicans if the House elections were held today and that the party holds a rare advantage since the group began such polls in 1950.

A note on the poll warned that voter turnout, however — in which Republicans usually have an advantage — plays a big role in midterm elections.

The poll results were based on phone interviews with 894 registered voters with a 95 percent degree of confidence. The maximum margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Gallup said the results show “Republicans seem well positioned to win back some of their congressional losses in 2006 and 2008.”

Rasmussen Reports said Wednesday that Republicans have opened a six-point lead in a similar poll and that its daily Presidential Tracking Poll shows 30 percent of the country’s voters strongly approve of the way Mr. Obama is performing his role as president. Forty percent strongly disapproved.

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