According to a Gallup poll released yesterday, Democrats have taken a six point lead over Republicans in generic ballot preference for the upcoming midterm elections.
The poll, conducted last week, shows that voters prefer Democrats over Republicans by a 49 to 43 percent margin -- the first statistically significant lead for the party since Gallup began tracking the trends weekly in March. Prior to yesterday's poll, support had been leaning in favor of Republicans, who held a four-point or higher lead in three of the polls.
According to a statement by Gallup, the finding is attributable largely to a shift in the preference of independents. While Democratic and Republican support for their own parties remained steady, independent support for Democrats increased five points, from 34 percent to 39 percent.
It is unclear what the cause of this shift was, but one possibility could be the passage of the mammoth financial reform bill last week. A recent CBS News poll indicated that 59 percent of independents said they supported increased government regulation of banks and financial institutions.
Yet despite the shift in voter preference, there was still some good news to be had for Republicans. According to the same poll, voter enthusiasm among Republicans has increased significantly, with the percentage of respondents saying they are "very enthusiastic" about voting in November increasing from 40 to 51 percent. Democratic enthusiasm remained unchanged at 28 percent.