A new Rasmussen poll shows Republicans hold a seven-point advantage in a "generic ballot" matchup against Democrats, indicating the GOP is poised for substantial gains in the midterms.

44% of respondents said they're likely to vote for a Republican candidate in the 2010 midterm elections, compared to 37% who favor a generic Democrat.

Of course, the midterm elections are a long way off. But consider this context:

Looking back one year ago, support was strikingly different for the parties. Throughout the summer of 2008, support for Democratic congressional candidates ranged from 45% to 48%. Republican support ranged from 34% to 37%.

In other words, Republicans now have the kind of advantage that Democrats had going into 2008.