July 23rd, 2010
03:10 PM ET
4 years ago

CNN Poll: Major legislative victories not helping Dems

Washington (CNN) - A new national poll suggests that major legislative victories for the Democrats this week have not helped the party in its goal to keep control of Congress in the midterm elections.

In May, the Democrats had a one-point edge in the so-called "generic ballot" question. But a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday indicates the Republicans have a 49 to 44 percent advantage when voters are asked which party's candidate they will vote for in their congressional district.

Full results (pdf)

"Some of the biggest losses for the Democrats have come among senior citizens," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Among seniors, Democrats had a two-point edge in May but the GOP is currently winning 56 percent of that group."


The only bright spot for the Democrats is a significant drop in the number of Republican voters who say they are extremely or very enthusiastic about voting this year - from 54 percent in May to 42 percent now.

"But the number of Democrats who are enthusiastic about voting in the midterms has also dropped, and still lags 15 points behind the GOP," adds Holland.

This is despite a productive week for the Democrats, with congressional victories on financial reform legislation and unemployment insurance. The survey indicates nearly six out of ten Americans support the financial reform bill, which President Barack Obama signed into law on Wednesday. Independents questioned also support the law, which increases government oversight of major banks and financial institutions in hopes of preventing another major recession.

"It's also worth noting that a majority favor government regulation of business - up 16 points since the Reagan years," says Holland.

Thursday the president signed the Unemployment Compensation Act of 2010, which restores unemployment benefits to two and a half million Americans who lost their jobs in the recession. The Republicans argued against the legislation, saying that the Democrats bill would add to the country's already massive budget deficit.

The Democrats are winning the battle for public opinion when it comes to deficit reduction versus job creation. Only a quarter of those surveyed say it's more important for the Obama administration to focus on the deficit; 74 percent say that creating jobs is more important.

Even the health care bill passed into law in the spring gets some support in the poll. Roughly half questioned want to see it repealed, but half want to keep it as is or even increase the government's role in the country's health care system.

So what is dragging the Democrats down?

"Some of the Democrats' change in fortune is likely due to poor economic conditions; some may also be due to the low marks President Barack Obama gets on most domestic issues," says Holland.

For starters, according to the survey nearly eight in ten say they economy is in poor shape. And only about four in ten approve of how Obama has handled a host of domestic issues, ranging from the deficit (36%) and immigration (38%) to the economy (42%) and health care (44%).

Forty-seven percent think that the Tea Party is too extreme, with 43 percent saying that movement is generally mainstream. But that perception hasn't hurt the GOP: Fifty-six percent of Americans consider the Republican party's views to be mainstream.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national poll was conducted July 16-21, before final passage of the extension of jobless benefits but after passage of the Wall Street and financial reform legislation. One-thousand and eighteen adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: 2010 • CNN Polls • Democrats • Polls • Republicans
soundoff (87 Responses)
  1. geecee

    As long as jobs are not being created, the average American doesn't care what major pieces of legislation are being passed, particularly if they don't help put money into his/her pocket immediately!! Therefore, the American voters will blame the incumbents, especially the President, because they don't have money to spend and will vote for the opponents regardless of whether the opponent is far worse than the incumbent. That's just the way people are – you know, stupid!

    July 23, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  2. DagnyTag

    The TARP bailout was $700 Billion, and this week we learned that it ballooned to $3.7 Trillion. Shocker, I know (see Health Care; we’ll just keep “learning” about it as it rolls out, right Nancy and “transparent” administration?? (sarcasm fully intended).

    How many at CNN (or any of the rest of the mainstream liberal media army of this administration) covered the FACT that this week, the GAO announced that TARP's price tag has gone from $700 Billion to $3.7 Trillion dollars and that the increase is SOLEY due to lending to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac??? Or did they bother to discuss the fact that NEITHER of those organizations is covered in the new Financial “Reform” Act, signed this week (nada; nothing)?????
    Too big to fail? Not if you're part of Count Baracula Corrupticago's 'Goin Big' Govn't Pork Express-Private Sector Terminator' agenda.

    For further reference on key contributors to the housing meltdown: See Barney Frank /Chris Dodd, (who this “financial reform bill” was named after/N.I.N.A. (no income no assett loans) Fannie/Freddie and Dem control of Congress since ’06.

    Question Libs: w/out saying the word “Bush” in your reply, can you guess who’s going to pay (again) for this 2,300pg government lobbyist/regulation exponential expansion monstrosity (more f’ng big govn’t, AGAIN)??

    Jobs anyone? Nope, 2yrs of wide reaching private sector power grabbing and takeover. See how well the market responds to THE PROGRESSIVE LIBERAL ESTABLISHMENT EXPERIMENT (PART II). See how well states are doing that are liberal bastions. Hmmmm, weird huh?

    Such self righteous, arrogant, H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-T-E M-O-R-O-N-S.

    Your drama, perversion and molestation have been something NOT to remember. See you in NOVEMBER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 23, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  3. pc

    what a shame the seniors will be the most hurt if the republicans regain office. i am a senior as well an thank god i have turned off FOX news an have started watching MSNBC. THE REAL TRUTH IS OUT THERE BUT FOX HAS TWISTED AN TURNED ANYTHING THE PRESIDENT HAS DONE AND PLAIN OUT LIED TO MAKE THIS ADMINISTATION LOOK WEAK. i will vote democratic all the way in 2010 and absolutely in 2012 for barack obama. in my states one of the teabaggers running for office actually thinks we need micro chips emplanted into our brains showing we are american. god help us if the republicans take back what the democrats have done to help this country!

    July 23, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  4. JP

    What Obama considers a victory is really a diastar for the country. He already working on his next diastar amnesty. Do a search on the following "trial lawyers billions" to see how Obama is stabbing you the taxpayer in the back to help his good buddies the trial lawyers.

    July 23, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  5. Larry

    I AM SO SICK OF THESE MEANINGLESS POLLS

    If you don't mind, I'll wait until the country speaks for itself in the upcoming elections, instead of guessing based on the manipulated opinions of a thousand or so individuals

    If the American people help the Party Of No gain seats, then the American people certainly deserve what they get ... which I assure you will be greater deficits, less protection against the villainous Insurance companies and banks, and the continued lies that have for so long helped destroy so much of what our forefathers helped build.

    July 23, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  6. MHabib

    No surprise here. Obama counts health care "reform" as his major victory. However, every single poll taken several months before passage of the so-called reform showed a clear majority of the American people against the legislation. It's not a legislative "victory" if you do something the voters oppose.

    July 23, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  7. Larry

    Polls are for stupid people that don't know how to think for themselves ... period

    July 23, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  8. wmscot

    Until the econmy get going and jobs are abundant neither party will do well. Unfortunatly the great bills that are being passed that will help the common man wil be neglected when it comes time to vote.
    I will fight to keep the health care bill that was passed and to keep the repubicans from gutting the finiacial bill. The electorate needs to quit listening to the talking heads and their rants. We are not all rich and have assets to fall back on if we lose our jobs and have no health care.

    July 23, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  9. Stacey

    What matters is when we voters go to the polls in November. All these silly polls mean absolutely nothing. I don't believe a majority of voters are going to vote for the party of NO. The party that would give tax breaks to the rich, but deny working people unemployment benefits; the party that doesn't care if your child has a pre-existing condition and can't get healthcare; the party that protects and defends BP and wants the taxpayers to clean up the mess BP made.

    Forget the party of No in November and vote for the Democrats. At least the Dems tried to help the little guy on Main Street!

    July 23, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  10. Hannah

    I am so glad that we have a president who is taking care of the people with health care reform, Financial reform, who stands up for the unemployed, who will increase taxes on the rich so that we can get back our country again. I don't know about you, but in my mind starting wars and cutting taxes on the rich were note healthy for America.

    July 23, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  11. b. o. stinks

    hopefully the people will speak up at election time and get these spendaholics out of office

    July 23, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  12. Jerry Blakeslee

    It is so simple to figure out, can't understand why it stumps the media. Their legislative "victories" are all concerned with policies the majority of Americans reject! Obama's numbers would be even worse if the proposed environment law came into effect. And his immigration "reform"? Forget it, his approval would be in the 30's instead of the 40's. You pass legislation that people don't want and then are surprised. And these are the bright guys???

    July 23, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
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