Gallup's latest figures on the composition of the 2010 electorate suggest that, consistent with an earlier Gallup report, those voting in this year's congressional elections across the country will be similar in gender, age, and education to 2006 voters. At the same time, they will be substantially more Republican in their party orientation, and more conservative than has been the case in the past several midterms.
The current and historical likely voter data reviewed here assume an approximately 40% turnout rate among national adults for each election, close to the typical turnout rate recorded in recent midterm years. (Gallup has also calculated the 2010 congressional vote using an assumption of higher turnout.)
Specifically, 55% of likely voters in Gallup's Oct. 14-24, 2010, polling are Republicans and independents who lean Republican. This is higher than the Republican showing in the past four midterm elections, although not too dissimilar to the 51% found in 2002. The corollary of this is that the 40% of likely voters now identifying as Democratic is the lowest such percentage of the past several midterms.
Notably, this year's high Republican representation among likely voters stems mainly from a substantial increase in Republican-leaning independents in the likely voter pool -- now at 16% -- reflecting the broader shift toward the Republican Party among independents evident since 2009. (Continues here at Gallup)