Election Day (November 2, 2010) is 97 days away. The House of Representatives will pack up for the summer by this Friday (July 30), with the Senate planning to follow suit in a week (August 6). Some will escape the DC heat to vacation with their families and participate in parades and town hall meetings; others will face heat of an entirely different kind.

The months of August and September will bring a spate of congressional and gubernatorial primaries in numerous states, and with that will come a slew of new polling data and election forecasts to ponder and debate. For now, though, here's where things stand at the end of July (polling data taken from Real Clear Politics):

  • Based on averages of several different polls, roughly 61% of respondents think that the country is on the "wrong track," with 33% believing the U.S. is headed in the "right direction";
  • On average, 49% of respondents disapprove of the job President Obama is doing, compared with 46% who approve;
  • Congressional job approval ratings are much worse, with an average of 71% of respondents disapproving of the job Congress is doing; and
  • Republicans are slightly preferred for the generic congressional ballot (i.e., "If the election were held today and you had to choose between the Republican candidate and the Democratic candidate, which would you choose?"), edging Democrats by a 3% margin (45% to 42%).

Typical election wisdom suggests that Republicans are primed to make gains in the House and Senate this year. It is less clear, however, whether those gains will equate to a shift in the balance of control of Congress. Make of this polling data what you will, there are many twists and turns yet to come before we can count the "red" and "blue" states/districts.


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