Fifty-one percent of those polled said if elections were held today, they would vote Democratic, with 44 percent saying they'd vote Republican.
"The Democratic Party may be better positioned today to win seats in the 2012 congressional elections than it was leading up to the 2010 midterms that resulted in its loss of 63 House seats and majority control," Gallup said. "However, the Democrats' advantage is currently not as strong as that seen in 2006, when they regained majority control from the Republicans, or in 2008, when they maintained it."
The poll, released Friday but taken Aug. 4-7 before this week's wild stock market gyrations, found voters reacting negatively toward Tea Party endorsement of candidates, with 42 percent saying such an endorsement would make them less likely to vote for a candidate and 23 percent saying they would view such an endorsement positively. Among Republicans, 44 percent said a Tea Party endorsement would make them more likely to vote for a candidate and 42 percent said it would make no difference. Among Democrats, a Tea Party endorsement would be the kiss of death for 66 percent.
"To re-establish a more favorable positioning with voters, the Republican Party will have to deal carefully with the national Tea Party movement," Gallup said. "While most Republicans say Tea Party endorsements either make no difference to their vote or increase their likelihood of supporting a candidate, at this point the effect on the all-important independent vote is more negative than positive."
The survey queried 1,319 people, 1,204 of them registered voters, 18 and older and had an error margin of 4 percentage points.
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