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Gallup Poll: GOP gaining on Dems for control of Congress

Forty-six percent of voters still prefer a Democratic candidate, compared with 44 who'd go for a Republican, Gallup says. But the Dems' margin was bigger in July.

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The battle for control of Congress in 2010 is growing more competitive, a new Gallup Poll indicates.

Roughly a year before the 2010 congressional elections, Republicans and Democrats are nearly tied among registered voters, who were asked which party’s candidate they would prefer in their congressional district, Gallup found. Some 46 percent said they would vote Democratic, versus 44 percent who favored a Republican candidate. The Democrats’ two-percentage-point lead in October is down from a six-point advantage in July.

Independents shift to the GOP

The Republican Party’s relatively strong position on the generic ballot, in which no candidate is mentioned by name, “stems from the support of political independents, who now favor Republican over Democratic candidates by 45 to 36 percent,” wrote Gallup analyst Lydia Saad.

The issue for Democrats is how many seats they lose in the midterm election and what that does to President Obama’s ability to move legislation through Congress. Charlie Cook, of National Journal’s Cook Political Report, recently wrote that there is “a consensus forming that the chances of Democratic losses going higher than 20 seats [in the House] is just as good as the chances of Democratic losses going lower than 20 seats.” That would not necessarily turn House control over to Republicans, but would make it tougher for the Obama administration to pass its legislative agenda.

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