New polling indicates that the Congressional races in 2008 – long thought to be a Democratic lock by political analysts, including this reporter – may be significantly more competitive.
A USA Today/Gallup survey asking likely voters about their plans indicates that the national generic ballot question has shifted ten points in the Republicans’ favor since the beginning of the year. In January of 2008, voters asked about their pick between a Democrat and a Republican on their congressional ballot favored the Democrats by 53% to 40% – a thirteen-point spread. The most recent poll, taken from September 5 through September 7, puts the figures at 48% for the Democrats, 45% for the Republicans – a dramatic shift that may make a number of Democratic blowouts close races, and push many close races to the Republican side. (This reporter opined off-the-cuff that the Palin nomination had moved the election by ten points – nice to see one’s guesswork confirmed by analysis.)
Pollsters credit the shift to a large upsurge in Republican enthusiasm, with 60% of Republicans now saying they are enthusiastic about getting out to vote this November – up from just 42% just prior to the Democratic convention in late August. Analysts report that if these numbers hold up through election day, the Republicans may even regain control of the House of Representatives.