There were some raspberries among liberal bloggers and contrarians about the last set of Gallup generic ballot numbers, which showed — contra the prevailing narrative — an electorate split dead-even at 46-46 between Republicans and Democrats in Congress.
But with the election a month away, Gallup is kicking it into high gear and refining their sample. The newest overall numbers show Republicans back on top, although still within the margin of error at 46-43. But they don’t tell the whole story. See, for the first time this cycle, Gallup has tested for preferences among not just Americans or registered voters but “likely voters,” under both average and high-turnout scenarios. Both models favor Republicans by double-digit margins.
Among registered voters interviewed over this period, the parties continue to have rough parity on Gallup’s generic ballot for Congress, as they have since early September. If all voters turned out at this point, the national vote would be close, with Republicans having the slight edge.
However, not all voters will turn out. For this reason, Gallup identifies the subsample of registered voters most likely to vote in November, employing methods first used in the 1950 midterm elections. These estimates are based on respondents’ answers to seven separate turnout questions. The results are used to assign a “likelihood to vote” score to each registered voter and, in turn, to create hypothetical models of the electorate based on various turnout scenarios.
For this initial estimate of those most likely to vote, Gallup has modeled a lower turnout estimate (40%, typical for recent midterm elections) and a higher turnout estimate. In both cases, the Republican share of the vote is above 50% and the Democratic share is 40% or less, underscoring the strong position in which the GOP would find itself were the election held today.
The numbers also show an enduring enthusiasm gap between Republican and Democratic voters, and a strong Republican-lean among independent voters. Under the low-turnout model, Republicans hold a 59-30 advantage with independents. Under the high-turnout model, it is 56-31.
More good news for the GOP.