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Control of Congress could change in '06, poll shows

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(CNN) -- Most Americans believe the GOP-controlled Congress has been a failure and say they plan to vote for Democrats in November, according to a poll released Wednesday.

Fifty-three percent of registered voters polled by Opinion Research Corp. for CNN said they were supporting Democrats, while 40 percent said they were leaning Republican. The remaining 7 percent either planned to support another party or had no opinion.

As for changing their minds when they get to the ballot box, only 43 percent of those planning to vote for Democrats said that was a possibility as opposed to 54 percent of those saying they plan to support Republicans. (Read the full results -- PDF)

Fifty-four percent said that since 1995, the GOP-led Congress has been a failure. Forty percent called it a success. In a similar 1998 poll, 58 percent of respondents called Congress successful.

Despite the apparent lack of confidence in the GOP, another question seemed to show that the respondents' confidence in Democrats was shaky, too. Asked which party would move the nation in the right direction, 43 percent said Republicans, compared to 41 who said Democrats.

But the national mood may not be as sour as it would appear -- 55 percent of people polled said things are going "very well" or "fairly well" in the United States.

Asked which issues facing Congress this year were "extremely important," the respondents said in order: terrorism, gasoline prices, Iraq, the economy, immigration, the Middle East, the minimum wage, prescription drugs for seniors, the cost of electricity, stem-cell research, and same-sex marriages.

Forty-eight percent of respondents said terrorism was extremely important. That was followed closely by fuel prices, at 47 percent; the situation in Iraq, at 45 percent; and the economy, at 40 percent.

The poll was conducted by telephone August 2 and 3 with 1,047 adult Americans responding.

The sampling error was plus or minus 3 percentage points, except for the questions on congressional success and which party would lead the nation in the right direction. Those questions were asked of a half sample, or about 524 people, and the sampling error was plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

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