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GOP maintains midterm advantage in new NBC/WSJ poll

In the final NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll before Tuesday's midterm elections, 49% of likely voters say they prefer a GOP-controlled Congress, versus 43% who want Democrats in charge.

That's virtually unchanged from the NBC/WSJ survey from two weeks ago, when the GOP held a 50%-43% generic-ballot advantage among likely voters.

Among the larger universe of registered voters -- a less reliable gauge of those who will participate in a midterm election -- the GOP edge in the current poll shrinks to two points, 46% to 44%. That's a reversal from two weeks ago, when Democrats held a two-point advantage with registered voters.

For the registered Republicans who prefer a Republican-controlled Congress, 15% of them say their vote is to protest the Obama administration's performance; 20% say it's to protest the performance by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and congressional Democrats; and another 10 percent say it's to protest both.

On the other hand, 48% say their vote isn't a protest vote -- but rather a positive vote for Republicans.

The full NBC/WSJ poll -- which was taken from Oct. 28-30, and which has an overall margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points -- will be released later tonight.