At the beginning of August, the average of all generic ballot poll questions put Democrats at 39.6 percent and Republicans at 38.8 percent, a statistically insignificant margin. By the start of September, Democrats took 41.7 percent to 38.9 percent for Republicans. By early October, Democrats took an average of 44.4 percent to 39.1 percent for Republicans. As of Oct. 13, it was Democrats at 45 percent and Republicans still at 39.1 percent. Over that two-month period, Democrats gained 5.4 points. Republicans gained .3 points.
That's stark evidence -- just in case you needed any more -- of the political problem Republicans created for themselves with the shutdown. As we have said before, the best news for Republicans in all of this is that it is October 2013 not October 2014. The national political winds are blowing in their faces today, but that can certainly change before next November.
Still, the divergence of the "D" and "R" lines in the chart above is striking -- and a warning to Republicans not to pursue a shutdown strategy again anytime soon.