Roughly a year before the 2010 midterm elections, Gallup finds the Republican and Democratic Parties nearly tied in the congressional ballot preferences of registered voters. Forty-six percent of registered voters say they would vote for the Democrat and 44% say the Republican when asked which party's candidate they would support for Congress, if the election were held today.
The Democratic Party held a slightly wider, six percentage-point lead on this important indicator of party strength in July, 50% to 44%. However, both 2009 results show a more competitive political environment than Gallup has generally seen since before the Democrats regained control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2006 midterm elections. Closer to elections, Gallup bases its results on "likely voters." Doing so typically improves the Republicans' positioning by several points; thus, when Democrats lead slightly among registered voters, it is possible for Republicans to be ahead among likely voters. (continues here at Gallup)