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Poll: GOP Making Striking Gains Against Dems

By John Rossomando   |   Wednesday, 10 Feb 2010 07:43 PM

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll is signaling that the Republican Party’s resurgence is gaining strength as a growing number of Americans seem to think conservatives may be better at managing the economy than President Barack Obama and the Democrats.

The poll of 1,004 adults nationwide shows Republicans have narrowed the gap with the Democrats when it comes to who voters trust more to deal with the country’s problems. This shift erodes one of what had been Obama’s major political advantages.

Last summer, Obama enjoyed a 20-point advantage over congressional Republicans when it came to who the public thought would be more trustworthy when it comes to handling the economy, healthcare, the deficit and terrorism.

But that advantage has since evaporated. Although Obama’s overall job approval rating comes in at 51 percent, a majority of Americans now disapprove of the way the president has handled these same issues.

When it comes to the economy, Obama’s advantage narrowed from 35 points to five points and his lead when it comes to the deficit has narrowed from 26 points to two points.

Obama gets good marks from 56 percent of Americans when it comes to his handling of terrorism, but they strongly disapprove of his plans to try terror suspects in federal courts.

The president’s erosion in approval among independents has been most striking, and they played a major role in electing Scott Brown last month in the race to fill the late Ted Kennedy’s former Senate seat in Massachusetts. An unrelated Rasmussen Reports poll found that 73 percent of independents voted for Brown because they were dissatisfied with how healthcare and other major issues were being handled by Obama and the Democrats.

[See the exclusive Newsmax/Zogby Poll: “Scott Brown Could Defeat Obama in Presidential Race” Click Here Now]

Obama and the Democrats have responded to the loss in Massachusetts by trying to convince jilted voters he believes in bipartisanship and is committed to solving the nearly 10 percent unemployment rate. But critics are not convinced they are serious and have insinuated that bipartisanship in Obama’s mind equals a GOP surrender.

These poll numbers for the president could bode ill for his party this fall.
The poll found seven in 10 Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing, and the same number say they want a change in their representation. This number mirrors popular sentiment in 1994 and 2006 ̶ the last two times control of Congress changed.

The survey found Americans evenly divided in terms of which party they said they intend to vote for in November, which marks a shift from an earlier poll that found Democrats enjoyed a 51-39 advantage four months ago.

Republicans hold a 51 percent to 35 percent advantage over Democrats among independents when it comes to what party they plan to vote for in November. This closely mirrors the same trend when voters swept the Democrats into power in Congress in 2006.

Conservative estimates show Republicans picking up 25-30 House seats. But both parties need to take heed of the fact the electorate is not pro-Republican or anti-Democrat, but are “anti-incumbent” instead and are skeptical of both parties.

Let Freedom Ring President Colin Hanna told Newsmax via e-mail the survey reflects a new idealism rooted in the nation’s founding principles, such as individual liberty and personal responsibility.

“Those are the rallies of the tea party movement,” Hanna said. “The mood is only anti-incumbent or anti-establishment, or anti-party (either one) to the extent they do not hold firmly to these principles.”

Hanna believes this mood embraces fundamentally conservative ideals that benefit Republicans because they are out of power in the House, Senate and White House, but he warns the same forces that have pushed them up in the polls could sink them if they betray conservative principles again.

“If Republicans win majorities in either or both congressional chambers and then do not govern according to conservative ideals, they will feel the voters’ wrath as much as the Democrats feel it now,” Hanna said.

The poll was conducted Thursday to Monday and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

[See the exclusive Newsmax/Zogby Poll: “Scott Brown Could Defeat Obama in Presidential Race” Click Here Now]

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