GOP Gallups back into contention

Donald Lambro:

Republicans have moved closer to the Democrats in a congressional voter-preference poll just as the election campaigns near the official Labor Day starting gate.

The surprising findings in a little-noticed Gallup Poll that were ignored by most of the national news media shows the Democrats barely leading the Republicans by just two points -- 47 percent to 45 percent.

After months of generic polling numbers by Gallup and others showing the GOP lagged far behind the Democrats by a seemingly insurmountable 9 to 10 points, the titanic political battle for control of Congress is virtually dead even. This means we may not experience the feared Category 5 political storm some election analysts have forecast that would topple the GOP's House majority and cut deeply into its grip on the Senate.

The venerable and respected Gallup organization, which did the poll for USA Today, said the GOP's unexpected rise in the polls "represents the Republicans' best performance in a single poll during the 2006 election cycle on this important measure of electoral strength."

In an analysis accompanying its findings last week, Gallup said, "The Republican increase does appear to be significant."

If the race is anywhere near as tight as Gallup said, it gives the GOP a much stronger edge in this year's elections. The chief reason: Republicans tend to turn out in larger numbers in midterm elections. Moreover, the GOP's high-tech, volunteer-driven, voter-turnout apparatus is far superior to anything the Democrats are attempting to patch together.

...

Since Republicans normally out perform the generic polls by around five percent, this suggest that they are really leading at this point. Democrats will also have to contend with counter arguments to their weak positions on national security. Rumsfeld's recent speeches as well as Vice President Cheney's speech on the issues should be a good starting point for putting the Democrat positions on the defensive where they belong.

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