Poll: Democrats Hold Slightly Narrowed Lead

If the Democrats don't show direct damage from the Kerry remark, neither do the Republicans show direct damage from recent scandals that have touched their party. In this poll registered voters divide by 48-44 percent on whether the Democrats or the Republicans better represent their personal values. That compares with 51-39 percent in an early October poll and 50-41 percent in a poll done a year ago.

Evangelical white Protestants, a core Republican group sometimes identified with the term "values," favor Republicans for House by 64-31 percent margin. That compares with a 74-25 percent vote for Republicans among this group in the 2004 exit poll.

Economy

Despite recent positive economic trends, the Republicans show little if any improvement among economy voters; they break by 54-42 percent for Democratic candidates in this survey, compared with a similar 57-39 percent last week.

The GOP does much better, with 70 percent support, among the roughly one-quarter of Americans who say they're getting ahead financially. That is perhaps up, albeit within sampling error, from 64 percent last month.

It's not necessarily surprising that the economy isn't providing more of a boost to the president's party. Clearly a bad economy is political poison; but a good one, much less a great one, doesn't reliably accrue to the in-party's benefit. (Ask Al Gore.)

Get Out the Vote, But Will It Count?

Another factor on Tuesday is the parties' get-out-the-vote efforts: Four in 10 registered voters say they've been contacted recently on a candidate's behalf, up from three in 10 two weeks ago. And it could be that the Republicans' vaunted machine is a bit better turned: Among those who've been contacted, three in 10 say they've been asked only to vote for a Republican, two in 10 only for a Democrat. The rest have been approached by both sides.

Vote Preference by Party Ideology
  Democratic Candidate Republican Candidate
Democrats   95%   4%
Independents   56%   38%
Republicans   6%   89%
Liberals   83%   13%
Moderates   62%   33%
Conservatives   24%   73%

Registered voters, finally, do not express broad doubts about the vote count on Tuesday, but neither is their confidence supreme -- perhaps not surprising, given news coverage of potential problems with new electronic voting systems. Eighty-four percent are confident their own votes will be counted accurately, but just 49 percent are "very confident" of that. Among likely voters more, 56 percent, are very confident in the vote count.

This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Nov. 1-4, 2006, among a random national sample of 1,205 adults, including 1,037 who identified themselves as registered voters. The results have a three-point error margin. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by TNS of Horsham, Pa.

Click here for PDF version with full questionnaire and results.

ABC News polls can be found at ABCNEWS.com at http://abcnews.com/pollvault.html.

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