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By Scott Clement for The Washington Post

Strong support from women and independents is fueling Democrats’ large early advantage ahead of this year’s congressional elections, a sign that two groups that have recoiled from Donald Trump’s presidency will play a decisive role in November, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The ongoing government shutdown and rising economic optimism are just two factors that could shuffle preferences over the nine months before Election Day, with Republicans hoping to take more credit for economic growth and cast Democrats as anti-Trump obstructionists.

By 51 percent to 39 percent, more registered voters say they would support the Democratic candidate in their congressional district over the Republican. Democrats’ 12 percentage-point advantage on this “generic ballot” question is the largest in Post-ABC polling since 2006, although it is slightly larger than other polls this month.

Judging from past elections, Democrats are expected to need a six- to eight-point advantage in national support this fall to gain the 24 seats needed win control of the House. Election handicappers say a Democratic takeover is possible, but not yet likely. Democrats would fall five seats short even if they won all contests the Cook Political Report classifies as solidly Democratic, leaning Democratic or toss-ups.

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