BY Sean Alfano
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
An ABC News/Washington Post poll gives the GOP a 53%-40% advantage over Democrats in this year's congressional races, the largest gap in that poll since 1981.
Republicans enjoy a 49%-40% lead in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, with the GOP advantage swelling to 20 points among voters with the highest amount of interest in this year's elections.
Voters overall, however, are tied at 43% apiece when asked if they prefer a Democratic or Republican-controlled Congress in the NBC/WSJ poll.
"We all know that there is a hurricane coming for the Democrats," said Peter D. Hart, the Democratic pollster who conducted the NBC News/WSJ survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff. "We just don't know if it will be a Category 4 or a Category 5."
Both polls show dwindling approval for President Obama's handling of the economy.
"That is a huge danger sign," McInturff said of the president's 39% approval rating on his work with the economy.
Not surprisingly, Republicans plan to hammer Democrats over the stagnant economy and current 9.6% unemployment rate all the way to the voting booths.
"Stay focused on the issue the public is concerned about, and that is the economy," Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the number two House Republican, is telling fellow GOP candidates.
The numbers in Tuesday's poll mirror a Gallup Poll last month, which showed Republicans with a 10-point lead over Democrats.
In order to take control of Congress, Republicans need to win a net of 39 seats in the House and 10 Senate seats.