They’re already ahead of the Democrats on Gallup’s generic ballot of registered voters, but as James Earl Jones famously said, this is CNN. From a sample of more than 1,000 adults:

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Thursday, 40 percent of people questioned say the U.S. would be better off if Democrats ran Congress while 39 percent feel things would be better if Republicans took charge on Capitol Hill. The 1-point margin is a statistical tie.

Support for Democrats is down from a 10-point advantage in August and a 25-point margin in January.

Remember, the generic ballot among registered voters on election day 1994 was dead even at 46. No wonder the Dems want to boost the debt ceiling by a few trillion now so that they won’t have to do it next year: The ice could conceivably be so thin politically for them by then that any jolt will send them crashing through.

And yet, believe it or not, the ballot’s not the big takeaway from this poll. Behold the state of health reform, Hopenchange-style:

sen61
sen75

Ace has been speculating for months that ObamaCare won’t truly be on life support until we hit 60 percent opposition. Not only do we have that in one question here, but in the other, you’ve got fully 75 percent who don’t expect to benefit personally from the legislation. A caveat, though: Those questions were asked before Reid floated his new public-option “compromise,” which I’m guessing will goose support just because the public’s already comfortable with the Medicare brand. If the great fear of health-care reform is unintended consequences, what better way to calm those fears than by selling it as an expansion of a program whose consequences are already known? Medicare’s bankrupting the country; now it’ll simply bankrupt us a little bit sooner.

It should be noted that 53 percent say they support some kind of public option, but then, 66 percent of the public doesn’t even know what the public option is. For your viewing pleasure, here’s Jim DeMint expressing his Christmas wish for a “few new Republicans” to work with next year. Per these numbers and Rove’s point about the GOP’s “stellar” recruiting class, he should get them.