Published December 23, 2015
The final USA Today/Gallup poll of Americans' voting preferences this election is delving into "uncharted territory," with the gap between Republicans and Democrats showing the GOP easily reaching the 40-seat mark for a takeover of the U.S. House majority.
The Oct. 28-31 survey of 1,539 likely voters shows the critical voting group of likely voters giving Republicans a 10- to 15-point margin. The vote spread shows Republicans winning 52-55 percent of likely voters compared to 40-42 for Democrats on the national generic ballot.
Accounting for turnout to be higher than usual -- 45 percent for a midterm -- the wider margin seems the more likely, 50-45 percent, Gallup researchers say.
"This year's 15-point gap in favor of the Republican candidates among likely voters is unprecedented in Gallup polling and could result in the largest Republican margin in House voting in several generations. This means that seat projections have moved into uncharted territory, in which past relationships between the national two-party vote and the number of seats won may not be maintained," Gallup reports.
The poll says that turnout will be key to the Republican wave since registered voters, a less reliable demographic, gives Republicans only a 4-point advantage. Independents are the linchpin to success as independent voters are leaning toward Republicans by a 59-31 margin.
The poll also suggests that the vote is not about approval of Republicans as much as dismay at the current Democratic majority. This is evidenced by the 17 percent approval rating of Congress among likely voters. President Obama receives 40 percent approval by that target group.