Poll: GOP holds slight lead on generic ballot headed into State of the Union

Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, January 28, 2014

President Barack Obama has his work cut out for him during his annual State of the Union address Tuesday if he wants to help the Democrats keep the majority in the Senate and tighten the gap in the House come November.

According to Fox News poll released Tuesday, Republicans currently have a 2 point lead on the generic Congressional ballot, 43 percent to 41 percent. While the numbers shows that the gap between the parties has tightened over the past few months, they are in line with how the generic ballot was this time four years ago. Several other polls conducted earlier this month have also have Republicans slightly ahead on the generic ballot headed into November.

Republicans have been able to keep the edge on the generic ballot for a few months now largely because of self-identified Independent voters. The GOP has a 4 point advantage over the Democrats among this group, which makes up about 20 percent of those surveyed. That is a stark contrast from last fall, where the Democrats were up by 2 percent among Independent voters, 21 percent to 19 percent.

Tuesday’s speech will also be a make-or-break moment for the president, as five in six voters plan on paying attention to the address in some form. That includes nearly 60 percent of voters who plan on watching at least part of the speech live.

The Fox News study also found that voters are more likely to identify themselves as pro-life, 48 percent to 45 percent. This is especially true among younger voters, with 51 percent of voters aged 18-35 reporting that they were pro-life.

The finding comes just one week after the 41st anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, which effectively legalized abortions during the first trimester of a pregnancy nationwide. A Knights of Columbus/Marist University poll released last Wednesday – the anniversary of the ruling – found that while Americans were equally likely to consider themselves pro-choice or pro-life, 62 percent of them believe having an abortion is morally wrong and would also support new laws that would place further restrictions on abortions in the U.S.

Fox News conducted a nationwide telephone study of 1,010 registered voters from January 19-21, 2014. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3 percent at a 95 percent confidence level. 

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