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Public Policy Polling, as you know, conducts a weekly national poll on behalf of Daily Kos and SEIU. We keep our questions consistent from week-to-week so that we can pick up on longer-term trends. But PPP also regularly conducts their own, in-house national polls, and they'll switch up their questions quite often, offering a great complement to our own surveys. This time, PPP focused on congressional topics, and the numbers are weak for Republicans. Here are a few of the questions they asked (PDF):
Q: If there was an election for Congress today, would you vote for the Democratic or Republican candidate from your district?
Democrat: 46 Republican: 41 Not sure: 13
Q: Do you think the Republicans are doing a better job than the Democrats did while in charge of the House of Representatives, a worse job, or is it about the same?
Better job: 36 Worse job: 43 About the same: 19 Not sure: 2
Q: Do you have more faith in Barack Obama or Congressional Republicans to lead the country in the right direction?
The key to this strong movement back toward the Democrats right now is the same as the key to the strong movement away from the Democrats last year—fickle independents quickly growing unhappy with the party in power. Exit polls showed independents supporting the GOP by a 19 point margin last year at 56-37. Now only 30% of those voters think that the Republican controlled House is moving things in the right direction, compared to 44% who think things were better with the Democrats. Given those numbers it's not much of a surprise that independents now say they'd vote Democratic for the House by a 42-33 margin if these was an election today, representing a 28 point reversal in a span of just five months.
Tom goes on to conclude that "Republicans taking control of the House may have been one of the best things that could possibly have happened for Obama's reelection prospects." Indeed, despite a still-sucky economy and middling-at-best approval ratings, the extremism of the GOP is helping to keep Obama afloat. I think it'll also have effects downballot, as the 2012 electorate will most definitely not look like the 2010 electorate—but the Republicans will be stuck, of course, running the same candidates who won last year. The GOP: They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.