Republicans now hold an eight point lead over Democrats in the generic ballot, with 45 percent of likely voters saying they would support the Republican candidate for the House, and 37 percent saying they would support the Democrat. Last month Republicans led Democrats by a margin of only 2 points, with 40 percent saying they would vote for a Republican and 38 percent saying they would vote for a Democrat.

President Obama’s overall favorability remains steady, the poll indicates, with 44 percent positive ratings and 45 percent negative, but his ratings on the economy are lower than ever before: 38 percent of respondents approved of his handling of the issue, while 50 percent disapproved. Last month, 41 percent approved, and 51 percent disapproved.

But while Democrats have lately been making widespread efforts to diminish the so-called “enthusiasm gap” between Republican and Democratic voters, the poll, which was conducted from October 1 – 5, indicates that the gap has in fact expanded. Sixty percent of Republicans said they were more enthusiastic than usual about voting this year, while only 40 percent of Democrats said the same. Last month, 47 Democrats and 58 percent of Republicans said they were more excited than usual to vote.