Republicans appear poised to win big in US poll

By Arun Kumar, IANS
Sunday, October 31, 2010

WASHINGTON - Even as President Barack Obama prepares to leave over the weekend for a four-nation trip to Asia, including the first stop in India, his Democratic party is expected to lose control of the US House of Representative to the Republicans, according to latest polls.

The final USA Today/Gallup measure of Americans’ voting intentions for Congress shows Republicans continuing to hold a substantial lead over Democrats among likely voters, a lead large enough to suggest that regardless of turnout, the Republicans will win more than the 40 seats needed to give them the majority in the US House.

The Gallup’s Oct 28-31 survey of 1,539 likely voters finds 52 percent to 55 percent of likely voters preferring the Republican candidate and 40 percent to 42 percent for the Democratic candidate on the national generic ballot-depending on turnout assumptions.

Gallup’s analysis of several indicators of voter turnout from the weekend poll suggests turnout will be slightly higher than in recent years, at 45 percent. This would give the Republicans a 55 percent to 40 percent lead on the generic ballot, with 5 percent undecided.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national survey released Sunday also indicates that Republicans have a 10-point lead over the Democrats in a crucial indicator in the battle for control of Congress.

The Republicans 10 point advantage in the “generic ballot” question in the CNN poll is slightly larger than the seven point advantage Republican candidates had on the eve of the 1994 midterms, when the party last took control of Congress from the Democrats, two years after Bill Clinton’s election as President.

“But unlike 1994, when polls indicated the public had a positive view of the Republican party, a majority of Americans now do not have a favourable view of the Republicans,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

The public is split on the limited-government Tea Party movement, with 37 percent seeing it in a favourable light and an equal amount viewing it in a negative way, and just over one in four undecided.

According to the poll, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s favourable rating has dropped to a new low, just 26 percent, while a majority have a negative view of her.

But House Minority Leader John Boehner, who would most likely succeed Pelosi as House Speaker if the Republicans win back the chamber, is still an unknown quantity to most Americans. Nearly half questioned don’t know him, and those who do are evenly divided.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at

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