[Posted by Karl]
Allahpundit neatly wrapped the latest 2010-centric polling from Gallup and Pew yesterday, but it’s worth adding a few notes.
Gallup has the GOP with a four-point lead among Registered Voters on the generic congressional ballot for the 2010 House elections — 48% to 44% — after trailing by six points in July and two points last month. The lead among Independents has gone from a virtual tie to a 52% to 30% GOP advantage over the period. Last week, Gallup noted:
Given the usual Democratic advantages in party identification among the general public, it is rare for Republicans to lead on the generic ballot among registered voters. This was the case even when Republicans were the majority congressional party from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s.
Gallup has developed a statistical model to attempt to estimate the House seat distribution based on the national vote, and a 44% share of the two-party vote would spell disaster for the Dems in 2010, likely leaving them with fewer than 186 seats.
Gallup includes the caveat that turnout is “crucial” in the outcome of midterm elections, though the data from 2009 suggests disenchantment with the Democrats was a bigger factor recently.
Nevertheless, specific polling on whether people will vote to re-elect their Representative is generally more predictive than the generic congressional ballot. Yesterday’s Pew poll was loaded with bad news for Dems on that front also, including this:
About half (52%) of registered voters would like to see their own representative re-elected next year, while 34% say that most members of Congress should be re-elected. Both measures are among the most negative in two decades of Pew Research surveys. Other low points were during the 1994 and 2006 election cycles, when the party in power suffered large losses in midterm elections.
Support for congressional incumbents is particularly low among political independents. Only 42% of independent voters want to see their own representative re-elected and just 25% would like to see most members of Congress re-elected. Both measures are near all-time lows in Pew Research surveys.
[V]oters who plan to support Republicans next year are more enthusiastic than those who plan to vote for a Democrat. Fully 58% of those who plan to vote for a Republican next year say they are very enthusiastic about voting, compared with 42% of those who plan to vote for a Democrat. More than half (56%) of independent voters who support a Republican in their district are very enthusiastic about voting; by contrast, just 32% of independents who plan to vote for a Democrat express high levels of enthusiasm.
Allahpundit noted that Greg Sargent (among other lefties) thinks that enthusiasm gap could be closed by passing ObamaCare. Sean Trende’s regression analysis of the 1994 midterm election suggests the opposite is true. There are those hoping that these bad numbers are all about the economy, and that unemployment will turn around in time to save the Dems in time for the 2010 election. However, Gluskin Sheff economist David Rosenberg, formerly of Merrill Lynch, now thinks the unemployment rate is going to at least 12%, maybe even 13%. Even if the recession has ended, unemployment may not peak until a year from now, as happened in the 1991 and 2001 recessions. If that scenario plays out, David Axelrod’s suggestion that next year’s congressional elections will be “nationalized” sounds like a recipe for disaster.