Unlike most polls, this one didn’t just call likely voters nationwide and try to extrapolate. Instead, the pollsters talked to likely voters in the 50 most competitive districts. Nine of them are held by Democrats, 40 by Republicans, with one independent, and they went for the GOP by 12 points in 2004.
At the moment though, a mere 29 percent of likely voters say they will probably or definitely vote for the incumbent, while 46 percent say they’ll probably or definitely vote for someone else. When a generic Democrat and Republican are posited, the overall result is 48 percent to 41 percent in favor of the Dems; when actual names of candidates are used, this shifts only slightly, to a 49-43 split. (Keep in mind that this is in districts that went Republican by 12 points in 2004, well to the right of the national average.) Breaking it down even further, the poll found that in the “competitive” districts currently held by Democrats, the incumbent party holds a whopping 60-29 lead, while in the Republican-held districts, the Dems still hold a lead of 49 percent to 45 percent, a bit past the 3.2 percent margin of error.
The results on specific issues are also pretty interesting. Most startling is the discovery that on “values issues, like stem cell research, flag buring and gay marriage,” the Democrats have an 14-point lead, which jumps to 18 points when the question is just on stem cells. So far, at least, the Republican wedge issues aren’t getting any traction.
It’s a long way to the November election, but this poll doesn’t bode well for the GOP.