NEW YORK (
) -- A Gallup poll released on Wednesday found the electorate expected to head to the polls for congressional elections next week looks to have a decidedly more Republican bent than it has in past years.
shows a significant shift in the percentage of voters either identifying themselves as Republican or as independents leaning Republican to 55% of the electorate from 45% in 2006.
And it looks like the GOP's gain is the Democratic party's loss because the percentage of those either identifying themselves as Democrats or as independents leaning that way fell to 40% in the new Gallup poll from 52% in 2006.
Gallup said the gain was mainly attributable to a greater percentage of independents, 16%, leaning toward the Republicans than had occurred in the past, and it noted that the 40% figure for Democrats was the lowest such percentage "of the past several midterms."
"Gallup's recent tracking of the generic ballot for Congress has shown the Republicans with substantial leads over the Democrats among likely voters, in part because the underlying registered voter population leans Republican in its vote choice," the Washington, D.C.-based research firm said on its Web site. "Compared with previous elections, that tilt is an extraordinary positioning for the Republicans, who typically do no better than tie the Democrats among registered voters."
Gallup added that: "The GOP's position is further enhanced by the generally strong proclivity of Republicans to turn out to vote, which appears to be even greater than usual this year."