Poll: Voters prefer GOP control of Congress in 2012 elections

Voters prefer to see Republicans in control of Congress after the 2012 election, a new poll found Tuesday.

Fifty-four percent of likely voters said they would like to see Republicans in control of Congress as a result of the 2012 elections, compared to 39 percent who would prefer Democrats in charge, according to a Newsweek/Daily Beast poll released Tuesday morning.

An additional 13 percent of likely voters said they would prefer to see divided government, while 18 percent were unsure about whom they prefer to see in control of Congress.

The poll suggests that Republicans enjoy an early advantage in their bid to retain control of the House in 2012 and take control of the Senate in next fall's elections. Democrats need at least a couple dozen seats to reclaim the House in that election, while Senate Republicans are hopeful that a favorable electoral map will help them pick up the net gain of four seats they need to retake the Senate. 

It's still worth noting, however, how early it is in the 112th Congress. At this point in the previous Congress, polls suggested that Democrats were likely to add a number of seats to their hefty majorities in the House and Senate.

Fifty-four percent of voters said they prefer the current arrangement in Congress, with Republicans in control of the House and Democrats in control of the Senate and White House, while 23 percent preferred the situation from 2009-11, when Democrats held all the levers of power. Twenty-three percent were unsure.

The poll, conducted Feb. 12-15 among likely voters, has a 3.5 percent margin of error.