Bad News for Republicans

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In a nationwide Times/Bloomberg poll:

The poll contained ominous findings for the Republican House and Senate majorities as the midterm elections approached.

Although President Bush’s job approval rating was essentially unchanged from his 38% showing last month, the new poll found Democrats opening double-digit leads on the key measures of voters’ early preferences for the November balloting.

Democrats lead Republicans 49% to 35% among registered voters who were asked which party they intended to support in their congressional districts this fall. When registered voters were asked which party they hoped would control the House and Senate after the midterm election, 51% picked the Democrats and 38% the GOP.

On both questions, independent voters preferred Democrats by ratios of about 3 to 1 or more.

The Republicans “don’t have it anymore,” said Alfred Smith, an independent in Bucks County, Pa., who runs a printing company. “They don’t trust each other. They don’t look like they are all together anymore.”

Forecasting the effects of these broad national attitudes on the results in individual congressional contests is an imperfect science. Republicans could be helped this fall because relatively few House districts are closely balanced between the parties, and many of the key Senate races are in states that already lean toward the GOP.

Even so, the Democratic advantage found in the poll is nearly three times the advantage Republicans had in 1994 when they made landslide gains in congressional elections.

The L.A. Times article notes that the gender gap has reopened as well: men split pretty evenly between the parties, but women go Democratic 57% to 31%, and that “commanding advantage” also holds among married women, who broke Republican in 2004.

I’ll refrain from my usual snarky comment wondering how the Democrats are going to blow it.

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