New GOP Poll Shows Changing Political Reality

by Stuart Rothenberg September 11, 2009 · 9:00 AM EDT

A newly released Republican survey of 1,200 likely voters conducted Aug. 25-26 by OnMessage Inc. suggests that the national political landscape has changed noticeably over the past two months, with Republicans benefiting.

The survey, which was released Thursday, shows Democrats and Republicans tied at 36 percent in the Congressional generic ballot, a dramatic improvement for Republicans, who trailed Democrats by 5 points, 38 percent to 33 percent, in the firm’s mid-June poll.

The survey also showed considerable movement in the public’s attitude toward the two parties. In June, OnMessage found 41 percent of those polled with a favorable view of Democrats in Congress, while 42 percent had an unfavorable view. The new survey found that 40 percent of respondents now have a favorable view of Democrats in Congress, while 46 percent have an unfavorable view, a worrisome rise in the Democrats’ negative rating.

Congressional Republicans, however, are still “upside down” in the new survey, with only 38 percent of those surveyed having a favorable view of Congressional Republicans, while 44 percent have an unfavorable view. Still, that’s an improvement for Republicans from June, when they had a 33 percent favorable/47 percent unfavorable rating.

President Barack Obama’s job rating came in at 55 percent approve/43 percent disapprove in the new GOP survey, down from 61 percent approve/34 percent disapprove in June. Among independents, the president’s August ratings were down to 46 percent approve/50 percent disapprove.

The new survey also found Republicans closing ground on a number of issues.

While more respondents said they trusted Democrats to cut taxes for the middle class, the party’s 45 percent to 31 percent advantage over the GOP in June narrowed to 39 percent to 35 percent in August.

On health care, voters still trusted Democrats very narrowly on health care, 41 percent to 39 percent, but that was a dramatic narrowing after Democrats’ 48 percent to 29 percent advantage over the GOP in June.