About The Hill/ANGA poll

The Hill’s front page today is dominated by the first of a series of important polls that, over the next four weeks, will point more clearly than any others to the outcome of the midterm elections.

The Hill/ANGA 2010 Midterm Election Poll is unique because it will give readers information that does not normally become public. We’re building a big picture using detailed polling in 42 toss-up House races. This is not a national survey, which can say nothing about what will happen in any given district. It is, rather, a midterm mosaic created from polling of likely voters in congressional battlegrounds.

“The breadth and scope of this investigation into the battle for control of the House is quite comprehensive,” said Mark Penn, who led the Penn Schoen Berland team that conducted the poll. “In this cycle, no other news organization has conducted and published polling of so many battleground districts. This research gives The Hill’s readers access to insights previously held as guarded secrets by campaigns and party committees.”

The districts we’ve chosen are widely agreed to be those that will determine whether Democrats keep the House or Republicans take it back. These are the 42 most competitive seats in the nation, mainly held by Democrats. And the GOP needs a net gain of 39 if it is to control the House in the 112th Congress.

The polls this week, and for the next four weeks, are sponsored by the American Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA).

In this first week, the focus is on 12 districts represented by freshman Democrats. The surveys, in Mich.-7, Ariz.-1, Ill.-11, Md.-1, N.M.-2, Nev.-3, Ohio-15 and -16, Colo.-4, Va.-2 and Pa.-3., were conducted between Sept. 25 and 30. The margin of error for each is plus or minus 4.9 percent, larger for subgroups. In aggregate, each week of polling will involve 4,000 to 4,800 respondents, with a margin of error of plus or minus 1.6 percent across the areas sampled.

The results are striking. In all but one race, the Republican challenger is ahead; and in the12th, the incumbent Democrat and GOP challenger are tied. Enjoying a lead in 11 out of 12 districts, Republicans might expect to run the table — except that none of them is above 50 percent, and the lead for half of these districts is within the margin of error.

So, while suggesting the possibility of a tsunami that could sweep away Democratic freshmen, many races nevertheless remain wide open and the GOP wave could dwindle into a ripple.

In addition to crucially important findings in the headline congressional races, The Hill/ANGA poll also gets answers to fascinating questions such as whether and how much midterm voting decisions will be determined by President Obama’s popularity or lack of it; whether voters want divided government or one-party control; and whether they support repeal of the new healthcare law.

ANGA President and CEO Regina Hopper said: “Our partnership with The Hill offers a unique opportunity to shed light on American attitudes during one of the most-watched election cycles in recent history.”

Our pollsters are already in the field surveying voter opinion for the second wave of districts. Those races are in open seats, vacated by retirements or because the incumbent is seeking higher office. Then we will move on to another and yet another category of race until the last week of October, the eve of the Nov. 2 vote.

Taken together, the data in The Hill/ANGA poll will answer the big question: Who will win?

The Hill/ANGA 2010 Midterm
Election Poll Stories

About the poll

GOP leads widely, Dems in danger but races tight

Feelings about Obama make midterms a national election

Independents prefer divided government, lean Republican

Distaste for healthcare law crosses party lines

Editorial: Knowing who will win

District by
district results

New Mexico