Registered Voters Evenly Divided on Vote for Congress

by Jeffrey M. Jones

Republican advantage on enthusiasm grows

PRINCETON, NJ -- Gallup's latest update on the generic ballot shows registered voters evenly divided in their current voting intentions for Congress, with 46% saying they would vote for the Republican candidate in their district and 46% for the Democratic candidate.

March-June 2010 Trend: If the Elections for Congress Were Being Held Today, Which Party's Candidate Would You Vote for in Your Congressional District -- the Democratic Party's Candidate or the Republican Party's Candidate?

These results, based on interviews conducted June 1-6, show Republicans down three percentage points and Democrats up three points compared with the prior week, though these changes still fall within the poll's margin of sampling error. Voter preferences have been closely divided for much of the time since Gallup began tracking these in March.

Regardless, the political environment still looks favorable to the Republican Party just inside of five months before Election Day.

First, because Republicans typically turn out at greater rates than Democrats on Election Day, a tie on the generic ballot among all registered voters would generally translate to a Republican advantage among likely voters. Gallup will begin assessing voting likelihood in the fall.

Second, Republicans continue to hold the upper hand in voting enthusiasm, with 46% saying they are very enthusiastic about voting, compared with 24% of Democrats. That 22-point gap is the largest Gallup has measured for Republicans over Democrats in any week this election year to date.

March-June 2010 Trend: Percentage Very Enthusiastic About Voting in 2010 Midterm Elections, by Political Party

Third, Republicans maintain a significant advantage over Democrats among independent voters -- 45% to 35% in the past week, which is in line with what Gallup has measured most of this year.

Bottom Line

Any additional positive momentum Republicans appeared to be gaining in last week's Gallup generic ballot update dissipated quickly, and the race has this week reverted to an even split among all registered voters. Even so, the fundamentals of the 2010 political environment continue to point to a solid Republican showing in the midterm elections this year.

Explore more Gallup data relating to the upcoming congressional midterm elections, including Gallup's complete generic ballot trend since 1950 in our Election 2010 key indicators interactive.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking June 1-6, 2010, with a random sample of 1,378 registered voters, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, selected using random-digit-dial sampling.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each daily sample includes a minimum quota of 150 cell phone respondents and 850 landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents for gender within region. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, cell phone only status, cell phone mostly status and phone lines. Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2009 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.

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