A new national poll from Quinnipiac University shows that national races on both the presidential level and for Congress are in a dead heat as Washington prepares to return to work in September. Tex. Gov. Rick Perry now leads the announced GOP field in his quest for the presidential nomination, the first choice of 26 percent of Republican voters, followed by former frontrunner former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney at 20 percent, in what is now the fifth national poll Perry has taken the lead.
The poll also shows that President Obama, whose approval rating has been weakened by a slow economy and general disdain for Washington, is running very closely with both Perry and Romney. Obama leads Perry with 45 percent to the Texas governor’s 42, and ties Romney at 45 percent. Both matchups are within the poll’s margin of error and therefore a statistical dead heat.This is the second national poll in little more than a week to show the President in a tie with the strongest Republican challengers, as Gallup released numbers showing similar results against Romney and Perry, but also against other GOP candidates Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX). Bachmann does not do as well against Obama in the new Quinnipiac poll: the President bests her by a 48 – 39 margin, and her favorability among voters is under water at 26 percent who like her to 36 who view her in a negative light.
In some good news for the Democrats, the generic Congressional ballot question is tied at 38 percent in the Quinnipiac poll. Other polling has shown that despite losing it just last year, control of Congress may again be within reach of Democrats as voter disgust with the legislative body is at an all time high in polls.
One interesting note from inside the Quinnipiac poll is the healthy margin by which white voters are breaking for the two major GOP candidates: they go for Perry 51 – 35 in a matchup and Romney 54 – 35. Obama was able to garner the support of 43 percent of whites in 2008.
Additionally, Perry is running well against the President despite being relatively unknown overall: a majority in the Quinnipiac poll (55 percent) still don’t know enough about him to give him a favorability rating, which clocks in at 22 percent favorable against 23 percent. Obama’s split evenly at 47, which is a little low for the President, as the TPM Poll Average still has him maintaing a favorable rating of about 50 percent.
The Quinnipiac poll used a wide swath of 2,730 live interviews with registered voters conducted from August 16th to the 27th, and has a sampling error of 1.9 percent. The Republican cross section is of 1,185 voters with a 2.9 percent margin of error.
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