WASHINGTON ­- In an ominous sign for the GOP, a Gallup Poll out Tuesday says the public’s approval of Congress remains at lows not seen since 1994 – when insurgent Republicans kicked Democrats out of power.

The survey found only 23 percent of the country approves of the job the GOP-led Congress is doing, with 71 percent saying they disapprove. In 1994, a Gallup Poll done from Oct. 22 to 25 before the Republican revolution election found the virtually identical anti-incumbent opinion.

The overall climate has Democrats eagerly anticipating Nov. 7 this year.

“The wind is right at our back,” said New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, who noted Democratic candidates are raising more money than Republicans in key races.

“Every week we get closer to our goal of taking the Senate, and I’d say right now we’re on the edge,” he said.

Democrats need six seats to retake the Senate – a goal most pundits think is a bigger stretch than the 15 they need to win the House.

Schumer pointed to battleground state Ohio, where Democratic Rep. Sherrod Brown has a 12-point advantage over GOP Sen. Mike DeWine, a Quinnipiac poll showed.

Schumer said it was because Democrats were winning the debate on security, which is normally the GOP meal ticket.

“The state where Republicans have made the security the issue more than any other is Ohio,” he said. “Sherrod Brown has hit them back each time.”

President Bush stuck with the strong-on-terror strategy Tuesday, saying voters will pick “who best to secure this country” as he signed legislation granting tough interrogation techniques for terror investigators.

He insisted a climate tainted by former GOP Rep. Mark Foley’s page scandal would not take down his party.

“I don’t anticipate losing,” he told Fox News Channel. “I anticipate a tough fight.”

But former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani sounded a more anxious note in a new fund-raising pitch on behalf of Republican Senate candidates.

“The Democrats need to gain just six seats in the Senate to take over – and right now there are up to 10 races that are too close to call,” his letter says.



(c) 2006, New York Daily News.

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Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

AP-NY-10-17-06 2206EDT


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