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House GOP Feeling Economic Burn

Dems Lead Or Close Gaps In Slew Of Battleground Races, Left-Leaning Poll Finds

Economic misery loves company.

While John McCain has seen his poll numbers plummet in light of the financial crisis, House Republicans aren't faring too well, either. Democratic House candidates in both GOP-held and Democratic-held battleground districts are seeing a sizable jump in their poll figures.


A recent poll from Democracy Corps and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (D) surveying 860 likely voters in 10 competitive Democratic-held districts [PDF] and 1,600 likely voters in 50 Republican-held districts [PDF], finds that the ongoing federal bailouts and financial turmoil on Wall Street have triggered a shift to the Democrats in virtually all districts polled.

Democratic incumbents are not nearly as vulnerable as their GOP counterparts, the survey found. Two weeks ago, Democracy Corps recorded a dead heat between candidates of each party in the 10 Democratic-held districts (results from each individual district were combined), while Democrats now garner an overall advantage of 12 percentage points (54 to 42 percent). And in the 50 Republican-held seats? Democrats remain about even with the incumbents they're challenging, and are even gaining in some of the districts deemed the "toughest" GOP seats by Democracy Corps.

Other nonpartisan polls back up Democracy Corps' findings. Recent numbers from the Diageo/Hotline daily tracking poll show 45 percent of likely voters nationally preferring a generic Democratic candidate for Congress (up 2 points since Oct. 6) and only 35 percent favoring the generic Republican (down 2 points from Oct. 6).


The latest polling from USA Today/Gallup also shows an uptick for Democrats: Fifty-one percent of registered voters said they would vote Democratic in their congressional race, compared with 44 percent who leaned Republican. When pollsters asked this question after the Republican convention -- and at the onset of the Sarah Palin frenzy -- Democrats had only a 3-point lead. These numbers suggest that the post-convention/Palin bounce the GOP brand saw in September has all but evaporated.

The Democracy Corps poll found Democratic candidates besting their Republican counterparts on various issues, but especially on the economy. In Democratic-held districts, 45 percent said the majority party was best equipped to handle the issue, compared with the 34 percent who said Republicans were. In the GOP-held districts, 41 percent chose Democrats, while 37 chose Republicans. Other hot-button presidential election issues that Democrats are leading in -- most notably in Republican-held districts -- include which party's candidate could bring the right kind of change to Washington and which could break the gridlock in Washington.

Likely voters also gave higher grades to Democratic lawmakers on job performance. When respondents were asked if they approved of the way their incumbent was handling his or her job, 49 percent of respondents in Democratic districts approved, while only 4 in 10 said the same in GOP-held districts. And when pollsters asked respondents if what they've seen or heard in the past month about their district's candidate had changed their opinion of them, more showed an increased favorability toward Democrats than toward Republicans, across all districts.

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