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Congressional Gallup poll shows wild swing in short span

Results go from a 10-point lead favoring Republicans a week ago to a tie with Democrats. The shift proves 'voter sentiments are not immune to change,' the pollster says.

September 07, 2010|By Michael A. Memoli, Tribune Washington Bureau

A week ago, Republicans surged to what was described as an "unprecedented" 10-point advantage in Gallup's survey of congressional voting preference.

Now, the pollster finds Democrats and Republicans tied in its so-called generic ballot test, a swing that would seem just as remarkable.

Gallup surveyed 1,650 registered voters between Aug. 30 and Sept. 5, a period that included President Obama's nationally televised address on Iraq and a new jobs report showing only meager improvement in private-sector hiring.

Asked if they preferred a Republican or Democratic candidate in November, 5%1 chose the Republican and 41% the Democrat in Gallup's previous survey. Now, the parties are knotted at 46% apiece. It's the first time in more than a month that Democrats have not trailed.

"This shift, coupled with the fact that Democrats led on the measure earlier in the summer, shows that voter sentiments are not immune to change," the pollster says in its weekly release.

Meanwhile, Gallup's most recent three-day average of Obama's job rating, covering the period from Sept. 4-6, finds 46% approve and 47% disapprove.

Also out Tuesday, a Washington Post/ABC News poll found Republicans leading by 13 points among likely voters, while a Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey showed voters divided on the question of a Democratic or Republican-controlled Congress.

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