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Zogby Interactive: Democrats take one-point lead In Congressional generic ballot; Obama approval goes up to 49%

Zogby Interactive: Democrats Take One-Point Lead In Congressional Generic Ballot; Obama Approval Goes Up to 49%

Democrats have taken a one percentage point lead over Republicans on which party's candidate voters intend to choose in the Congressional election; and President Barack Obama's approval rating has increased to 49%.

These results from a Zogby Interactive poll conducted from Sept. 17-20 are the first since mid-May that found the Democrats ahead in the Congressional generic ballot question. In an interactive poll conducted from Sept. 10-14, Republicans held a 47%-41% lead.

Obama's approval rating is his highest in a Zogby Interactive poll since the same 49% mark he had on Feb. 22, and it is a three percentage point increase from the Sept. 14 poll.

The improvements from the Sept. 14 poll for both Obama's approval and Democratic Congressional candidates come from increases from Democratic voters, as well as smaller jumps among independents.

On the Congressional generic ballot, support for Democrats from party members goes from 78% to 86%; and from independents, the change for Democrats increases from 33% to 35%. Obama's overall approval rating from Democrats increases from 79% on Sept. 14 to 87% now. Among independents, Obama's approval increases three percentage points, from 45% to 48%.

Democratic Congressional candidates also benefit from groups that have been most impacted by the recession.

Support from voters who have lost a job in the past year was up seven percentage points from Sept 14.

Support for Democrats also increased between the two polls by six percentage points among voters who are afraid of losing their job and by five percentage points among those in jobs that pay less than their previous job.

By contrast, Democrats made gains of two percentage points each among groups who had not lost a job, are not worried about losing their job and have not experienced a pay cut.

In other findings:

The percentage of voters who say the nation is headed in the wrong direction decreases from 60% on Sept. 14 to 55% now. Those choosing right direction remains at 33%.

The job approval of Congress moves from 19% on Sept 14 to 23% now.

Approval of Congressional Democrats' performance increased from 33% to 38%, and approval of Congressional Republicans drops one percentage point to 25%.

Pollster John Zogby: "President Obama's attempts to draw contrasts with the Republicans and raise fears about a Republican takeover of Congress appear to have been successful, especially among Democratic voters. Polling shows that drawing a contrast with Republicans on whether to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy appears to make good political sense, and Democrats should force a vote that ties continued middle class tax cuts with ending those for incomes above $250,000. The Democratic gain among those most anxious about job loss is noteworthy. We'll need to see these trends continue before drawing any conclusions, but it seems the Democrats have had a good week."

The interactive poll consisted of 2,068 likely voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2%. A sampling of Zogby International's online panel, which is representative of the adult population of the U.S., was invited to participate. Slight weights were added to region, party, age, race, religion, gender, and education to more accurately reflect the population.