Republicans take the lead

This is unusual – Gallup has the Republicans in the lead in their generic congressional ballot. For the first time, more people say Republican 48% to Democrat 44%.

Why? The Independents. They are now splitting 52% Republican to 30% Democrat. This is what happens when you veer towards your base, and not the centre.

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This graph shows the movement amongst Independents in the last five months.

Now it is a year to go until the elections, and lots can happen. But this poll is unusual, as Gallup explains:

Since Gallup regularly began using the generic ballot to measure registered voters’ preferences for the House of Representatives in 1950, it has been rare for to have an advantage over . This is likely because more Americans usually identify as Democrats than as Republicans, but Republicans can offset this typical Democratic advantage in preferences with greater turnout on Election Day. Most of the prior Republican registered-voter leads on the generic ballot in Gallup polling occurred in 1994 and 2002, two strong years for the GOP.

Significantly more people do identify as Democrats. So again this makes a lead in the generic congressional ballot quite significant.

Of course too early to start saying how many seats may be lost, as it will depend on regional trends.

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