Research 2000 for Daily Kos. 12/27/2009-12/31/2009. All adults. MoE 2% (Last weeks results in parentheses):
|PRESIDENT OBAMA||56 (55)||40 (41)||+2|
|PELOSI:||42 (42)||49 (50)||+1|
|REID:||32 (31)||57 (59)||+3|
|McCONNELL:||18 (17)||64 (65)||+2|
|BOEHNER:||18 (17)||62 (63)||+2|
|CONGRESSIONAL DEMS:||40 (39)||55 (55)||+1|
|CONGRESSIONAL GOPS:||17 (15)||66 (68)||+4|
|DEMOCRATIC PARTY:||42 (41)||54 (54)||+1|
|REPUBLICAN PARTY:||29 (28)||61 (62)||+2|
On the final week of the 2009 incarnation of the Daily Kos State of the Nation tracking poll, we have what, to my memory, is a first: every entity polled, regardless of party, saw incremental improvement in their numbers.
Like last week, there are two really plausible explanations for this: either people are generally feeling better about everything because of the holiday season, or the recent conclusion of the Senate round of the health care debate has allowed both parties to consolidate their faithful, to some extent.
There is a real piece of evidence to suggest that the latter is the impetus for the generally positive track of the numbers for both parties over the last three weeks.
Look at the R2000 variation of the generic ballot test. Looking at the toplines, we don't see any real change in the margins over the last few weeks:
QUESTION: Would you like to see more Democrats or Republicans elected to Congress in 2010?
NOT SURE: 27
What has changed, and somewhat substantially, is that while Independents are still largely undecided about whom to support in 2010, Republicans and Democrats have hardened their 2010 voting intentions.
Consider the shift in the number of undecided voters over the past couple of months. On September 3rd, the margin between Democrats and Republicans was three percentage points, the same as in our year-end survey. But, on that date, 11% of Republicans were still undecided, and a whopping 23% of Democrats were unsure of their selection. Today, those numbers are 1% and 7%, respectively.
There is also some potential evidence that the Democrats lost this round of the P.R. war over health care. Independent voters, while still largely unsure of their preferences, currently prefer the GOP by a five point margin (26-21). On September 3rd, the Democrats held a three-point lead with this group.
Of course, an alternate explanation for same could be that more conservatives are self-identifying as Independents, perhaps to identify with the "Tea Party" crowd as opposed to the standard Republican Party label. Therefore, it should surprise no one that the Independent voter crowd would skew a bit more conservative than they did in years past.
There is logic to this: given the dysfunction of the GOP over the past several years, it would follow logically that several within their ranks would prefer to self-identify as Independent.
In the best evidence to date that the Democratic leadership is going to have to do an immense amount of outreach to their base in 2010, the highest percentage of Democrats to date (45%) indicated this week that they are either unlikely to vote, or certain not to vote. The number indicating a likelihood to vote has held reasonably steady (at 54%) since Daily Kos started polling on this question in late November.
The GOP fervor for voting has receded ever so slightly, but still towers over the Democrats in terms of voter intensity. The spread for the GOP stands at 75% likely/21% unlikely. While very strong, it is a drop from the 81/14 spread the GOP held when this question was debuted during Thanksgiving week.
Over the weekend, be sure to come back to Daily Kos, as it will be time to take a look at 2009 in review, using data from the tracking poll to gauge how the electorate changed during the year that was.