Democrats and Republicans are nearly tied in Gallup's recent generic ballot poll — perhaps a problem for the majority party, which has witnessed its lead wither in recent months.
In July, roughly half of all voters said they would select a Democratic candidate at the 2010 ballot box, compared to only 44 percent of voters who said they would instead opt for a Republican. But that six-point lead has shrunk by about four points over the last three months. Now roughly 46 percent of likely voters lean toward the their district's Democrat, 44 percent still prefer a Republican and around 10 percent would side with an Independent.
Taken together, those numbers are likely concerning to Democrats, who have historically performed well in Gallup's poll, especially during the months prior to scoring big election victories.
In the year leading up to the 2006 midterms, when Democrats recaptured the House, the party claimed a nearly consistent, double-digit lead over its Republican counterparts. And just one month before the 2008 presidential election, Democrats wielded a 15-point advantage over the GOP in measures of party preference.
Gallup cites a number of reasons Democrats have witnessed this recent steady decline, but perhaps foremost among them is this month's surge in congressional disapproval. More than seven in 10 voters currently disapprove of the way Congress is doing its job, while only two in 10 approve of it — a 10-point drop since just last month. Interestingly enough, Democrats contributed most to October's dismal numbers; support among the party faithful has dropped 18 points since September.