A Democratic candidate would beat a Republican in a hypothetical congressional race held this month by 11 points, nearly double the spread reported last month, according to a Marist poll released Friday.

Almost half of registered voters nationwide, 49 percent, surveyed from Feb. 5-7 said they would vote for a Democrat compared to the 38 percent who preferred a Republican. Eight percent were undecided and 5 percent said they would not vote for either party's candidate, the study concluded.

In January, Marist reported a 6-point difference in support as the Democrat received 46 percent and the Republican had 40 percent.

Even among independents, support for the Democrat is up. Forty-three percent said this month they would back a liberal candidate compared to 36 percent last month. Support for the GOP dropped from 38 percent to 32 percent.

A spokesman for the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion said Democrats do better when the national conversation is focused on President Trump and his messaging, while Republicans perform better when policy is the focus of the news.

"When policy is the focus, the gap between a potential vote for Democrats and Republicans narrows," said Lee M. Miringoff, director of the institute. "But, when President Trump is occupied with Twitter skirmishes, the Democrats re-establish a double-digit advantage over the Republicans on this question."

The telephone poll was conducted among 807 registered voters nationwide and had a 4.1 percentage point margin of error.