The political gains that Democrats made on the generic congressional ballot as a result of the federal government shutdown have evaporated over the past few weeks.
Republicans and Democrats are now tied on the generic congressional ballot, according to a new Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday. The ballot has moved nine points in the past six weeks from what was a 43-34 Democratic lead on Oct. 1.
Most striking from the poll is the extent to which independent voters have shifted since Oct. 1, when they favoured voting for a generic Democrat by a 32-30 margin. That number has shifted 13 points, as independents now prefer Republicans by a 37-26 margin.
The same Quinnipiac survey also revealed that President Barack Obama’s approval rating has dipped to its lowest level ever recorded in his tenure in office. It follows a more than a month of disastrous problems with the launch of the Affordable Care Act, featuring a dysfunctional website and piling-up concerns about plan cancellations.
Democrats gained momentum in the generic congressional ballot during the 16-day federal government shutdown last month, for which Republicans took the brunt of the blame. According to the Real Clear Politics polling average, they moved from a 4-point average lead on Oct. 1 to a 6.6-point average lead by the end of the month.
But as the shutdown ended, coverage piled up on the problems with the health care law’s rollout.
A silver lining for Democrats in the poll: Congressional Republicans are still more disapproved of (73-20) than congressional Democrats (62-30).
Quinnipiac surveyed 2,545 registered voters nationwide from Nov. 6-11. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 1.9%.
Here’s a look at how Democrats gained and then lost their advantage in the generic ballot (data points are from May, July, August, October, and November):
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