Poll: GOP takes lead in see-sawing congressional matchup

Republicans are the latest party to take the lead in the see-sawing generic congressional ballot.

Voters prefer a generic Republican candidate over a Democratic candidate by a 5-point margin, according to a Gallup tracking poll released Monday.

48 percent of registered voters said they would choose a Republican candidate for Congress, while 43 percent said they would prefer a Democratic candidate.

Those numbers follow two weeks of polling during which the opposite was true. In mid-July, Democrats were riding high after passing Wall Street reform in the same tracking poll, leading GOP candidates 49-43 percent.

Gallup noted the 5-point lead for Republicans in this week's poll wasn't significant — the poll has a 3 percent margin of error — but argued the shift could be driven by Republican headwinds in the 2010 cycle, and a series of good news items for Republicans, including increased focus on the war in Afghanistan and the ethics problems of two veteran Democratic lawmakers.

The tracking poll reflects the up-and-down battle for Congress that's taken place this year and is likely to continue through the fall. See the graphic below as an example:

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The poll was conducted between July 26 and August 1.