Gallup: Congressional Dems beat GOP on generic 2012 ballot

In a new Gallup poll released Friday, a majority of registered voters say they would vote for a Democrat over a Republican if the 2012 congressional elections were held today.

The poll found 51 percent of voters leaning towards voting for a Democrat in next fall’s congressional election, with 44 percent saying they would vote Republican. Six percent were undecided, or would vote for a third party.

The Hill reports that although both major political parties were hurt by the debt ceiling debate, which ultimately resulted in a decision by Standard and Poor’s to downgrade the United States’ credit rating, the poll suggests Republicans will suffer more in the eyes of voters.

Incumbent members of Congress are also in trouble. Only 24 percent of voters say their representatives deserve to be reelected, a Gallup poll released earlier in the week found. That’s the lowest number Gallup has ever recorded for this question.

Congressional approval ratings are also at an all-time low. A New York Times/CBS News poll released last week found 82 percent of Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing. Only 14 percent said Congress was doing a good job.

The Gallup poll released Friday also spells bad news for tea party candidates. Forty-two percent of registered voters (and 38 percent of independent voters) said they were less likely to vote for a candidate associated with the tea party movement. Meanwhile, 23 percent said they would be more likely to vote for tea party- affiliated candidate..

But Democrats shouldn’t pop the champagne corks just yet. Though Democrats win the generic ballot, their “favorable” and “unfavorable” public opinion numbers are both at 47 percent.

The poll does bring some good news for President Obama, who has trailed generic Republican candidates for two straight months. Friday’s Gallup poll has Obama beating a nameless Republican by six percentage points, 46 percent to 39.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points. Gallup asked the questions after the recent debt ceiling battle subsided.