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GOP winning over Obama supporters, poll indicates

By Jim Rutenberg and Megan Thee-Brenan
New York Times / October 28, 2010

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NEW YORK — Critical parts of the coalition that delivered President Obama to the White House in 2008 and gave Democrats control of Congress in 2006 are switching their allegiance to Republicans in the final phase of the midterm congressional elections, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

Republicans have wiped out the advantage held by Democrats in recent election cycles among women, Roman Catholics, less affluent Americans, and independents. All of those groups broke for Obama in 2008 and for congressional Democrats when they grabbed both chambers from the Republicans four years ago, according to exit polls.

Fifty-seven percent of the registered voters surveyed said they were more willing to take a chance this year on a candidate with little political experience. More than a quarter of them said they were even willing to back a candidate who holds some views that “seem extreme.’’

On the economy, Republicans have erased the traditional advantage held by Democrats as the party thought better able to create jobs; the parties are now even on that measure. By a wide margin, Republicans continue to be seen as the party better able to reduce the federal budget deficit.

Most people want both sides to compromise, although they think Obama will try to do so more than Republicans will.