Democrats who took comfort in the surprising results from last month on the Gallup generic Congressional ballot may feel even worse than they did before Gallup showed them making a comeback. Gallup’s new survey returns the results to where they had been for most of the year — with the GOP in the lead. Republicans took the second straight lead and extended it to six points after two surprising outlier results in July:
Republicans have a 49% to 43% lead over Democrats among registered voters in Gallup’s generic ballot for Congress for the week of Aug. 2-8, the second straight week in which Republicans have held an edge in projected voting.
The current six-point Republican lead ties the largest for either party so far, although Republicans have generally tied or held an advantage over Democrats since Gallup began tracking the generic ballot in March. The major exception to this prevailing pattern came July 12-25, when Democrats moved ahead with six- and four-point weekly advantages.
Republicans have maintained at least a 10-point advantage in voting enthusiasm since March, including this past week’s 16-point lead over Democrats in the percentage who are “very enthusiastic” about voting. The widest such gap was 24 points in late June.
The reason most of us considered the July numbers an outlier — and a strange artifact — is because of this chart on voter enthusiasm:
Even while projecting a Democratic lead in July, enthusiasm was remarkably higher among Republican voters. It never even got close. In the mid-July poll, while claiming that Democrats had a six-point lead in the generic ballot, Republicans held a 23-point lead in enthusiasm. The numbers made no sense.
At the same time, other pollsters confirmed that Republicans held the Congressional ballot lead. Rasmussen had the GOP up 10 at the end of July; CNN had Republicans up by 5 at the same time. Quinnipiac showed Republicans leading by three, and James Carville’s Democracy Corps showed the GOP up 15 in a slightly less direct question asked in their survey.
The Gallup outliers gave Democrats a moment to brag over their passage of the financial regulation bill, but clearly that wellspring of support was an illusion created by Gallup’s odd results. Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama are back where their Recovery Summer began — doing a wipeout.