A set of new polls suggests Republicans are in a position to make significant gains in this November's midterm elections.
A Gallup poll released yesterday showed that voters would choose an unnamed Republican over an unnamed Democrat by 51 percent to 41 percent. The 10-point margin is the largest lead Republicans have held in Gallup's generic ballot since Gallup began surveying voters on the question in 1942.
Prior to this year, the highest advantage for Republicans in the poll was five points, measured both in June 2002 and July 1994 -- years in which Republicans made significant gains. (By comparison, the highest advantage recorded for Democrats was 32 points, measured in July 1974, prior to President Richard Nixon's resignation.)
Additionally, Republicans surveyed were twice as likely to say they were "very" enthusiastic about voting this year.
Meanwhile, an Associated Press-GfK Poll released today shows that voters with the strongest opinions on national issues are overwhelmingly unhappy with the way President Obama is handling them, suggesting more voters will be motivated to support Republicans this year.
On nine of the 15 issues examined in the AP-GfK poll, Americans who called the issue extremely important were more likely to disapprove of the president's handling of it. For example, people who called the economy extremely important disapproved of Mr. Obama's handling of the economy by a three-to-one margin.
Voters who called unemployment extremely important were twice as likely to disapprove of Mr. Obama's handling of the issue. The same held true for health care and terrorism. Respondents who cared deeply about Afghanistan, taxes, immigration, the deficit and gas prices also mostly disapproved of the president's performance on those issues.
Americans who cared deeply about energy, Iraq, the environment and the Gulf oil spill were split on Mr. Obama's performance.
The AP-GfK poll also showed that most Americans deeply concerned about 10 of the issues said they will vote for a Republican in the House elections.