Republicans have moved ahead of Democrats by 48% to 44% among registered voters in the latest update on Gallup's generic congressional ballot for the 2010 House elections, after trailing by six points in July and two points last month.The Nov. 5-8 update comes just after Republican victories in the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial elections, which saw Republicans replace Democrats as governors of those states.
As was the case in last Tuesday's gubernatorial elections, independents are helping the Republicans' cause. In the latest poll, independent registered voters favor the Republican candidate by 52% to 30%. Both parties maintain similar loyalty from their bases, with 91% of Democratic registered voters preferring the Democratic candidate and 93% of Republican voters preferring the Republican.
Over the course of the year, independents' preference for the Republican candidate in their districts has grown, from a 1-point advantage in July to the current 22-point gap.
Noting that the survey included registered voters, not likely voters, Gallup analyst Jeffrey Jones adds: "Gallup will not begin to model likely turnout until much closer to the 2010 elections, but given that Republicans usually have a turnout advantage, if normal turnout patterns prevail in the coming election, prospects for a good Democratic showing appear slim."
Three years ago, Gallup analyst David Moore pointed out that "our experience over the past two mid-term elections, in 1998 and 2002, suggests that the RV [registered voters rather than likely voters] numbers tend to overstate the Democratic margin by about ten and a half percentage points."