It's been a fractious summer for Congress: the United States came close to the prospect of defaulting on our debt for political reasons instead of economic ones, there's another looming budget crisis when they return, and Americans hate the legislative body more than ever. So it's not a huge surprise in this era of lightning quick political reaction that Americans are swinging back to the party they just kicked out of the House, according to new Gallup data released Friday and a PPP(D)/Daily Kos survey from earlier in the week.
Both polls showed Democrats taking the lead in the Generic Congressional Ballot, a metric showing who voters generally feel they want to control the House and Senate. Gallup consistently measures it, and Democrats held a healthy lead throughout 2007 to the end of 2009, when the GOP started making gains and eventually led. The Republican high water mark was around election time in 2010, but it didn't last very long: early into 2011 Democrats surpassed them again, the data shows, and have opened up a lead. The newest rating is 51% in favor of a Democratic candidate versus 44% for a Republican one.
Gallup identified a possible reason for the drop in support for GOPers. From the report:
Gallup also asked registered voters how a Tea Party endorsement would affect their likelihood of voting for a congressional candidate. The effect is nearly 2-to-1 negative, with 42% saying they would be less likely to vote for such a candidate versus 23% saying they would be more likely. About a third say it would make no difference or are unsure.
A PPP(D)/Daily Kos poll showed similar results in a national poll conducted from August 4th to the 7th. That poll showed a 47 - 40 break for Democrats, including a slight advantage with independent voters, 39 - 36.
The most recent Gallup poll used live telephone interviews with 1,319 American adults conducted from August 4th through the 7th, with a sampling error of four percent. The PPP/Kos poll was conducted at the same time using automated telephone interviews among 1,000 registered voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent.