The finalÂ USA Today/Gallup measure of Americans’ voting intentions for Congress shows Republicans continuing to hold a substantial lead over Democrats among likely voters, a lead large enough to suggest that regardless of turnout, the Republicans will win more than the 40 seats needed to give them the majority in the U.S. House.
The results are from Gallup’s Oct. 28-31 survey of 1,539 likely voters. It finds 52% to 55% of likely voters preferring the Republican candidate and 40% to 42% for the Democratic candidate on the national generic ballot — depending on turnout assumptions. Gallup’s analysis of several indicators of voter turnout from the weekend poll suggests turnout will be slightly higher than in recent years, at 45%. This would give the Republicans a 55% to 40% lead on the generic ballot, with 5% undecided.
Republicans’ 15-percentage-point lead among likely voters contrasts with their 4-point lead, 48% to 44%, among registered voters, highlighting the importance of higher GOP turnout to the election outcome. This wide difference between the GOP’s margin among registered voters and its margin among likely voters is similar to the 2002 midterms, in which Democrats led by 5 points among all registered voters in Gallup’s final pre-election poll, while Republicans led by 6 points among likely voters — an 11-point gain.
These final estimates of the vote among registered and likely voters are consistent with Gallup polling since Sept. 23. Republicans have led by an average of 4 points among registered voters and by 16 points among a low-turnout estimate of likely voters since that time. Thus, while voter preferences could change in the final two days, perhaps resulting from Democrats’ final push to motivate their base to turn out, voter preferences appear to be quite settled in this final post-Labor Day phase of the campaign.