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Frustrated Independents May Spell Doom for Dems

With just eight days to go until the midterm elections, Republicans appear poised to take control of the House of Representatives. And despite efforts by President Obama to fire up the base and close the enthusiasm gap for Democrats, it may not be working as well as hoped.

According to the latest battleground poll from Politico, Republicans lead Democrats 47 to 42 percent overall - including a 14-point edge among dissatisfied independents, reports CBS News White House correspondent Bill Plante.

That doesn't mean Democrats are giving up.

"The more people turn out, the better we do and we are seeing strong trends at the presidential rallies and early voting," Tim Kaine, the Democratic National Committee Chairman, said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday.

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But CBS News political consultant John Dickerson doesn't think the Democrats will be able to dig out of that big hole among independents in time for the election.

"Not at all. In fact, the president and Democrats have been trying to turn that number around for months and months and it's just stuck there. And that's the big problem for Democrats. They talk about these early voting numbers in the states that have early voting and it shows Democrats are turning out which is great for Democrats. But independent voters are also turning out and so, when they vote, if they're voting with this kind of big margin for Republicans, that's where the big victories will come in for the GOP," he said on CBS' "The Early Show" Monday.

The Politico poll shows independents don't like the Democrats' health care overhaul, are dissatisfied with the economic reform policies and are losing faith in the government.

"The message is simple: stop," said Dickerson. "Independents want to see a break on the Obama administration, not that they love Republicans necessarily. In fact in a lot of polls you see the Republicans less popular than Democrats but independents in particular want to just see a slowdown in what they see as an overreach from Washington."

But not all is going smoothly for Republican candidates. In Alaska, Joe Miller, the tea party-backed candidate who wrested the GOP nomination away from incumbent Lisa Murkowski, apologized for misusing government computers for campaigning.

"It was a mistake I made," he said during Sunday's senate campaign debate. "I was suspended for three days, or received a dock of three days pay, and I've learned from that."

Murkowski, who's still running as a write-in candidate, said the admission "demonstrates again a lack of fitness for the office."

In the meantime, Alaska's - and the GOP's - biggest star is criss-crossing the country to events like a weekend rally in Florida for GOP Senate candidate Mark Rubio.

"You can either vote for the status quo, that means more taxes, more unemployment, more regulations, more government over reach or you can vote for those people and policies that will put Florida back," Sarah Palin told a crowd of supporters Saturday.

Palin's appearance in Miami comes as Politico reports that the former Alaska governor is disorganized and difficult to deal with on the campaign trail.

Appearing on "Face the Nation" Sunday, Republican strategist Karl Rove was asked if Palin will run for president in 2012.

"I don't know whether she's going to run or not. And if she runs, she would be a formidable candidate."

President Obama travels to Rhode Island Monday to raise money for congressional Democrats. It's just one of at least five states he'll visit between now and November 2. He'll also tape an appearance on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." Stewart, along with his Comedy Central partner Stephen Colbert, will hold a rally in Washington, D.C. on Saturday.