Feb. 10, 2010 -- The Republican Party has grown dramatically more competitive in public trust to handle the country's most pressing issues, capitalizing on seething economic discontent and doubt about President Obama's performance to challenge the Democrats in midterm election preferences.
Among registered voters in this ABC News/Washington Post poll, 48 percent say they'd support the Republican candidate in their congressional district if the midterm elections were today, 45 percent the Democrat. That's a rare level of GOP support in nearly three decades of polls.
Other measures also have tightened sharply since fall. Among all Americans, the Democrats' lead in trust to handle the country's main problems has dwindled to a slim 6 points, 43-37 percent, down from 33 points – a record in a generation of polls – after Barack Obama's election.
Disapproval of Congress, at 71 percent, matches its highest since 1994, when the GOP swept to control in a midterm rout of the Democrats. Americans by a 20-point margin say they're inclined to look around for someone new to support for Congress. And by a 13-point margin, 48 to 35 percent, Americans call themselves anti-incumbent rather than pro-incumbent – not quite the levels in 1994 or 2006 (when the Democrats regained control) but broad nonetheless.