Because political junkies can’t get enough, here’s a poll from Democracy Corps, suggesting that House Republicans may have some difficulty holding on to their gains. As dubious as we all ought to be about such early predictions, their summary seems logical (although I’ve not yet dug into the details).
A new survey by Democracy Corps in 50 of the most competitive battleground Congressional districts – nearly all of which gave a majority to Obama in the last presidential election – shows the new Republican majority very much in play in 2012.
The Republican incumbents in these districts, 35 of them freshmen, remain largely unknown and appear very vulnerable in 2012 (depending on redistricting). In fact, these incumbents are in a weaker position than Democratic incumbents were even in late 2009, or Republican incumbents were in 2007 in comparable surveys conducted by Democracy Corps.
These incumbents, identified by name, have an average approval rating of 35 percent across the 50 districts, with 25 percent disapproving. Another 38 percent were not able to give the candidates a rating, suggesting lack of visibility. This is about 10 points lower than the approval rating Democratic incumbents held in July of 2009 (with comparable disapproval rating).
More importantly at this early point, just 40 percent of voters in these districts say that they will vote to reelect their incumbent (asked by name in each district), while 45 percent say that they “can’t vote to reelect” the incumbent.
This leads to a congressional race that is dead-even in the battleground. After winning these seats by a collective 14 points in 2010, these Republicans now lead generic Democratic challengers by just 2 points, 44 to 46 percent, and stand well below the critical 50 percent mark. The race is dead even in the top tier of the 25 most competitive seats—46 percent for the Democrats versus 45 percent for the Republicans. In the next 25 seats, the Republicans have a slight 42 to 47 percent advantage.