If the Congressional election were held today, 42 percent of voters would back the Republican candidate in their district, while 40 percent would support the Democrat, according to the latest Fox News poll.
Most Republicans (86 percent) back their party's candidate and most Democrats (80 percent) back theirs, and independents are divided. By 37-31 percent independent voters are somewhat more likely to back the Republican candidate, while 20 percent are undecided.
A similar split is seen when the question is about voting in the 2012 presidential election: 41 percent would back Barack Obama, and 41 percent the Republican Party's candidate.
In one hypothetical three-way race with New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg as a third-party candidate, President Obama (42 percent) has a clear advantage over both the unnamed Republican candidate (29 percent) and Bloomberg (10 percent).
Where do independents go? In the two-way race, independents are more likely to back the Republican nominee (38 percent) over Obama (28 percent). In the three-way vote, Obama keeps almost all of his independent support (25 percent), while the Republican candidate (18 percent) loses a significant amount of support to Bloomberg (19 percent). Either way, for many independents it's too soon to say how they will vote in 2012.
Overall, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (42 percent favorable) has the highest favorable rating of the potential 2012 Republican candidates in the poll. He is followed closely by former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney (40 percent favorable) and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (37 percent favorable). About a third of voters have a positive view of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (32 percent favorable).
Among only Republicans, Palin (65 percent favorable) and Huckabee (64 percent favorable) lead the field — topping Romney (59 percent favorable) and Gingrich (51 percent).
By comparison, President Obama has a 53 percent favorable rating overall, and a 91 percent favorable among Democrats. Twenty-eight percent of voters have a positive view of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as do 49 percent of Democrats.
Former First Lady Laura Bush receives a 68 percent favorable rating, which is the highest positive rating of the individuals tested on the poll.
The national telephone poll was conducted for Fox News by Opinion Dynamics Corp. among 900 registered voters from May 4 to May 5. For the total sample, the poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Interest in 2010 Election
Republicans are more interested in the November elections than Democrats. About two-thirds (68 percent) of Republicans are either "extremely" or "very" interested compared to just under half (49 percent) of Democrats. That said, interest by Republicans has declined: 34 percent of Republicans are now "extremely" interested in the election, down from a high of 42 percent two weeks ago.
Men (62 percent) are somewhat more interested than women (53 percent), and voters ages 65 and over (68 percent) are much more likely to be interested than young voters (36 percent).
Congressional Job Ratings
Democrats in Congress continue to garner better ratings than Republicans. Some 37 percent of voters approve of the job Democrats in Congress are doing, little changed from 36 percent about six months ago. For Congressional Republicans, 31 percent approve, up slightly from 29 percent.
Fully 70 percent of Democrats approve of the job their representatives are doing on Capitol Hill, compared to 52 percent of Republicans who approve of theirs. About twice as many Republicans (40 percent) disapprove of the job their party is doing in Congress as Democrats disapprove of their party (19 percent).
A majority of independents disapproves of Democrats (60 percent) and Republicans in Congress (66 percent).