Gallup: Dems & Repubs Tied in Generic Ballot

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Democrats, Polls, Republicans

What a difference a week makes, at least according to Gallup.

The key graph…



However, the enthusiasm gap remains the same.



Repubs are excited and Dems not at all. You’d think that Independents would be less enthused, but Dems are downright depressed at this point and in midterms it’s all about GOTV. If the preference is split and the enthusiasm isn’t there on the Dem side, it could be a bloodbath.

Here’s Gallup’s bottom line:

The latest Gallup update on 2010 voting preferences marks the first time in over a month at which Republicans have not held an advantage among registered voters on Gallup’s weekly generic ballot update. This shift, coupled with the fact that Democrats led on the measure earlier in the summer, shows that voter sentiments are not immune to change. Hoping to prove this, Democrats from the president on down are gearing up to maximize their chances of keeping party control of the House, just as voter attention to the campaign is increasing after the Labor Day weekend.

The most telling polls are still a month and a half off. As we get closer to the elections, we’re sure to see a clear trend.

More as it develops…


This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 8th, 2010 and is filed under Democrats, Polls, Republicans. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

5 Responses to “Gallup: Dems & Repubs Tied in Generic Ballot”

  1. kranky kritter Says:

    Wow. I mean WOW! You went from

    “there really is no anti-incumbent trend”

    to

    “it could be a bloodbath”

    In just over a week. What finally sent the aroma your way?

  2. Justin Gardner Says:

    Correction…no anti-incumbent trend in the primaries. We’re not talking about the general election right now. And, in the primaries, what you’re seeing is anti-incumbent venom directed at Republicans…which in turn make a GOP pickup possibility less likely.

    As far as it being a bloodbath, I’ve said from the beginning that the GOP will pick up seats. What I said I didn’t think would happen is both the Senate and the House turn back to the GOP. I still don’t think it’s going to happen, but allow me an aside and a “could.” :-)

  3. kranky kritter Says:

    I’ll stop belaboring my objections to that post after saying the following: My impression was that you had implied that since the anti-incumbent trend did not manifest in the primaries, there really wasn’t very much to it at all.

    By what you are saying now, it’s clear to me that you are acknowledging that this trend is going to manifest in a very strong swing towards Republicans, but that you are currently still hopeful that it won’t crest so high as to return both houses of congress to the GOP.

    As it stands today, I think there is every reason to believe that as the mid-terms approach, they’ll come to be seen by most Americans as a really serious fight for control of congress. There’s even a very good chance that turnout for this midterm election will besubstantially higher than usual. Clearly, the democrats are done with the “nothing to see here, move along” theme.

    Now they’re well into pushing the panic button and rallying the troops. Which is fine. I think a strong case can be made for not trusting the Republicans based on their recent performance while in power.

    There would be a really legitimate opportunity for independents to take advantage of dissatisfaction with both parties, if there were only enough viable, recognizable, well-funded, trustworthy independents to take advantage. But there aren’t.

    These midterms are virtually certain to be the end of democratic party’s domination of congress, regardless of whether the GOP retakes congress. But they are VERY unlikely to be the end of popular dissatisfaction with both parties. Unless you are foolish enough to think that the next 2 years is going to fix the real estate and job markets and bring about a sudden economic resurgence.

    So I think there’s a very good chance that the 2012 election will see the maturation of the sentiment that rejects the oversimplfied half-truths that we see in the ideological rhetoric of both parties. Or at least the cresting of that sentiment.I would not predict that trend has staying power. I hope it does, but I know that if and when things improve economically, folks will lose interest.

    Right now, I sense more intense interest in the bullshit to insight ratio of what BOTH parties are saying. And that makes it harder for candidates to rely on cant. And that’s a good thing.

  4. WHQ Says:

    Republicans’ leads over Democrats among registered voters in three of the previous four weeks were the highest Gallup has measured for this midterm election campaign, and higher than any GOP advantage Gallup has measured in a midterm election year since 1942.

    What I’d like to know is how the actual outcomes of congressional election have compared to what these polls have indicated over the years. I ask this because they are taking a national poll that is supposed to apply to local races.

    It really doesn’t matter what percentage of Americans think this or that about either party with regard to some district in, say, Iowa. It matters what people in that district think.

    We’re talking about hundreds of little winner-take-all elections, be the win by some plurality, possibly less than 50%, or by 100% of the vote. How do these marginal differences in national polls shake out over the voting districts, and how much of a correlation is there, really?

  5. kranky kritter Says:

    I haven’t seen any measure of correlation, but I am sure there’s some. Maybe even quite a bit. Not enough for a republican to win in a district that’s 80% democrat or vice versa, but still.

    Your comment hints at a much better approach for folks who want to see where things seem to be headed. RealClearPolitics does a really good job of tracking local polls and aggregating the results. They give a conditional win to any candidate who is ahead in the local polls. That’s based on a rolling average of available polls so that the most recent result doesn’t override other recent results. [Other sites take a very similar approach, and I think it's as sound as is available, so I'll ask folks to spare me any comments about the allegedly slanted nature of RCP. Even if it's true, it's not that relevant to the soundness of this forecasting approach.]

    These polls forecast that the GOP will close the senate gap to within a seat or two, and that there’s a decent chance they’ll re-take the house.

    Whether you look at either set of polls. I think there’s something important to focus on in the context of recent history. Popular dissatisfaction meansvolatility. Both parties want to sell big changes in their favor as a vindication of their set of half-true talking points.

    But we know that’s self-serving partisan bullshine. It was bullshine when crowing progressives declared conservatives irrelevant in February of 2009. And it’s bullshine now when conservatives are ready to declare the impending results to be an expression of preference for GOP cant.

    If anything, the impending 2010 midterm results are an awful lot like booing. They’re not nearly as much about what Americans think as they are about how they feel: afraid and pissed off and ready to keep pulling on a short leash until its leaders show some interest in obedience to public sentiment. Public sentiment which wants more than either side’s half truths on important issues like stimuli, spending, healthcare, immigration, bailouts, and so on.

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