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Fox News Poll: Republicans regain ground on Congressional ballot

Capitol111313.jpg

Oct. 1, 2013: The U.S. Capitol dome is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP)

What a difference a couple weeks makes.  Republicans have a slim three-point advantage when Americans are asked about their vote preference for Congress in the latest Fox News poll.  That’s an 11 percentage-point shift from last month when Democrats had an 8-point edge.

The poll finds “if the Congressional election were held today,” 43 percent of voters would back the Republican in their district and 40 percent the Democratic candidate. 

Click here for the poll results.

That’s a reversal from last month when 45 percent backed the Democratic candidate and 37 percent the Republican (October 20-22, 2013). 

Voters blamed Republicans for shutting down the federal government, which lasted for the first two weeks of October.  Since then the public’s attention has been focused on the bungled roll-out of the health care exchange website and President Obama’s admission that some people won’t be able to keep their health plan -- despite the administration’s prior assurances to the contrary.

The improvement in the generic Republican candidate’s position comes mostly from increased support among independents. 

Republicans still trail Democrats in congressional job ratings.

Twenty-one percent of voters now approve and 73 percent disapprove of the job Congressional Republicans are doing.  That’s a slight improvement from last month when 20 percent approved and 75 percent disapproved. 

For Democrats in Congress: 29 percent approve and 65 percent disapprove of their job performance.  That’s down from 33 percent of voters approving and 62 percent disapproving (October 20-22, 2013).

Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, who jointly conducts the Fox News poll with Republican pollster Daron Shaw, says the reason Republicans would improve their position on the vote question and not see the same pickup in their approval rating is because “voters aren’t ready to say they think the GOP is doing a good job overall, but are more willing to vote for ‘their’ Republican.”

Overall, 10 percent of voters approve of the job Congress is doing, up ever so slightly from a record-low nine percent last month.  Fully 85 percent disapprove of Congress.  That matches the all-time high disapproval rating lawmakers received last month.

Meanwhile, an overwhelming 86-percent majority thinks elected officials in Washington are doing more to “add to the country’s problems” than to solve the country’s problems (9 percent).  In 2010, 77 percent thought Washington was making things worse rather than better (16 percent). 

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,006 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from November 10-12, 2013.  The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.