The Democrats’ lead over Republicans in this fall’s congressional races has dwindled and they are now in a statistical dead heat with Republicans, a new USA Today/Gallup Poll reveals.
The poll, conducted after the close of the Republican convention, did not indicate specific candidates but instead asked registered voters if they would support a Democrat or Republican. The Democrats were cited by 48 percent of respondents, and Republicans by 45 percent — within the 3 percent margin of error.
Significantly, Republicans actually lead among likely voters by a margin of 50 percent to 45 percent, Gallup found.
That measure favored Democrats by a 51 percent to 42 percent margin just before the Democratic convention in late August, The Hill newspaper observed.
A new CNN/Opinion Research poll also showed Democrats leading by only 3 points, 49 percent to 46 percent.
Republicans say the new polls indicate that predictions of Democratic gains in November’s House and Senate races might be premature.
“The new USA Today/Gallup measurement of generic ballot preferences for Congress casts some doubt on the previously assumed inevitability of the Democrats' maintaining control of Congress,” said a spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Rebecca Fisher.
Democrats have already expressed concern that Barack Obama’s faltering presidential campaign could hurt their re-election chances.
The latest Fox News poll showed McCain leading Obama by a margin of 45 percent to 42 percent.
One Democratic fundraiser told the Financial Times: “There is a growing sense of doom among Democrats I have spoken to.”
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