On The Widespread Effects Of Ponies

Oh, baby.

Republicans appear headed for another year of substantial House seat losses, if the latest survey by Democracy Corps/Greenberg Quinlan Rosner stands true. In the congressional districts that DC/GQR determined to be the 45 most competitive [pdf] Republican-controlled districts, Democratic challengers lead 50 percent to 43 percent overall.

In a similar survey taken in the same districts four months ago (other than five “hard-to-reach” districts that were added for this survey), Democrats trailed by 1 point. The current 7-point lead shows a landscape sliding in Democrats’ favor.

DC/GQR polled 1,600 registered voters in 45 districts from May 19-26. Bush won these 45 districts by 12 points in 2004, and Republicans won the House races by the same margin in 2006.

Prior to polling, DC/GQR separated the 45 districts into two tiers, based on the district’s likelihood to flip to Democrats. In the top tier, consisting largely of open seats, the margin for Democrats widens to 9 points, with a 51 percent to 42 percent lead. In second tier races, considered more difficult for Democrats to win, the GOP still trails by 3 points, 48 percent to 45 percent.

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One problem for Republican candidates and incumbents appears to be voters’ feelings about Pres. Bush, whose job approval rating in these GOP districts is at 33 percent.

“You have to keep reminding yourself that you’re looking at Republican districts; this is not a national poll,” said GQR pollster Stan Greenberg. “The fact that Bush’s approval rating is only 33 percent in these districts gives you a sense what these Republican incumbents and Republicans running across the country are likely to face.”

Job approval for Republican incumbents, who the pollsters referred to by name based on what district they were polling, was at 38 percent. On specific issues, Democrats faired 17 points better than Republicans on handling the economy and 11 points better on the war in Iraq. On handling illegal immigration, Republicans led by 3 points.

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