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CNN Poll: GOP can handle budget slightly better than Democrats

By the CNN Wire Staff
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GOP surging in polls
  • A new poll gives the GOP an edge over Democrats on the economy
  • 46 percent say Republicans in Congress would do a better job dealing with the economy
  • 43 percent favor Congressional Democrats on the economy
  • Republicans also lead on dealing with terrorism, illegal immigration and Afghanistan

Washington (CNN) -- Republicans have a slight edge over Democrats on the economy, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday indicates that 46 percent of Americans say that Republicans in Congress would do a better job dealing with the economy, with 43 percent saying that Congressional Democrats would do a better job on the top issue on the minds of Americans. The GOP's three point advantage is within the poll's sampling error.

The Republicans' 3-point edge is a big shift from last year, when the Democrats held a 52 to 39 percent advantage. The GOP leads 51 percent to 32 percent on the economy among Independents, and they have a 9-point advantage on the issue among voters 65 and older.

According to the poll, Republicans have a slight 3-point edge over the Democrats on taxes and a 6-point advantage on tacking the federal budget deficit. The GOP holds a larger 20-point lead on dealing with terrorism and an 18-point advantage on illegal immigration. Republicans have a 3-point advantage on the war in Afghanistan.

"Democrats have slightly better numbers than the Republicans on just two issues -- Social Security and health care -- and on both of them, that gap is extremely small," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "That's bad news for the Democrats, who in past elections have had large leads over the GOP on those domestic issues."

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted September 1 and September 2, with 1,024 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.