A new Washington Post/ABC poll finds that Republicans have narrowed the gap against President Obama on every major issue, and now have pulled even with Democrats on the generic Congressional ballot. (Story here, full results here).
When asked who they trust more to handle the “main problems the nation faces,” Democrats’ advantage over Republicans has shrunk to 43 to 37. The six point gap is the narrowest since Democrats took control of Congress, and it compares to a 26 point gap around this time last year.
The gap has also narrowed substantially when people are asked whether they trust Obama or Republicans more on every issue. On the economy, Americans now favor Obama by just five points, compared to 25 points last February; on health care, the gap has narrowed to five points, compared with 28 points as recently as June; on the deficit, it’s now just two points, compared with 26 points in June; and on terrorism, it’s down to five points, vs. 21 points in June.
Republicans and Democrats are now tied at 46 percent on the generic Congressional ballot — compared with 12 point deficit for Republicans as recently as Novemeber. In addition, when asked whether they were going to vote for their current representative or “look around,” those polled said they would look around by 56 percent to 26 percent margin.
Taken together, the results spell trouble for Democrats, because the findings are consistent with the type of polling we’ve seen in 1994 and 2006, the most recent election years in which controll of Congress changed.
The silver lining for Democrats is that it’s still only February, so they have almost nine months until the election. If the economy shows enough improvement by then, they could limit the damage. Yet if current trends continue, it’ll be a bloody November for them.