Democrats move ahead in generic ballot

After taking a beating in public opinion polling, Democrats are showing signs of rebounding–as least for now according to the Gallup poll. In the generic ballot, Democrats have mostly been behind Republicans since the end of March by about 2 percent roughly but in the latest Gallup survey, the results show the GOP trailing Democrats by a 6-point margin.

More than likely, the flip in the polling is related to the much-ballyhooed financial regulation bill which has been debated during the past few weeks after passing the Senate. The primary reason for the shift appears to be independent voters. Republicans still have a 4-point lead among them but the spread for Democrats has improved quite a bit lately:

If this trend shows up in other polls, it will almost certainly mean more anti-Wall Street rhetoric from President Obama and other Democrats. As unpopular as Democrats are lately, Wall Street is much less so.

Dems ought to think carefully before embarking on that strategy though since while finance-bashing might succeed at somewhat motivating independents, it greatly inflames Republicans to get out the vote. Look at this second graph from Gallup of voter enthusiasm showing an 11-point jump among Republicans:

Bashing business may stop the bleeding for Democrats among independents but it seems to have more of a pronounced effect on GOPers. That’s significant in an off-year election where people are much less interested in showing up to vote.

Update 7/21: There was some controversy about this particular poll which was originally stated by Gallup to be of adult Americans as opposed to registered voters. That’s an important distinction since registered voters generally tend to be more favorably inclined toward Republicans than unregistered voters–something that could very well have accounted for the shift toward Democrats in this poll. After being called out for it, Gallup has changed the press release to indicate that the poll was indeed of registered voters.

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