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. Discernment

    POLL NUMBERS DOWN; IS IT ANY WONDER?

    When you throw your supporters (like Sherrod) under the bus as a defensive measure against racist hatemongers like Andrew Briebart, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh; than its no wonder President Obama's poll numbers are taking hits.

    Yes, we know 40% of America will never support a Democratic President – – no matter what. Simply because they are Republicans. But when 57% of the people disapproves of the President, that means all the moderates and some Liberal Democrats have gravitated away from the Obama.

    July 23, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  2. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert, but...

    "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 baby-boomers really should just die and get out of the way. They blew through all of the prosperity and security, that their parents' generation worked for, like a swarm of narcissistic, greedy locusts and are leaving the mess for the rest of us to clean up. Good riddance. Have a nice day!

    July 23, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  3. Laverne

    Of course not, stupid Americans are too focused on the President's birth certificate and trying to deligitamizing him. They can't see the forest for the trees and that is a shame!

    July 23, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  4. Dano

    Senior citizens are just mad that they didn't get a cost of living raise in their SSI checks, and some of them are probably worried about those "death squads" that Caribou Barbie babbled about before the HCR bill passed.

    July 23, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain

    Republicans have been blocking everything President Obama has tried to do since he took office. They preach gloom and doom, without offering ANY NEW IDEAS.

    The Republicans' tried-and-failed policies are what got our country into this mess, and yet, they try to convince people to vote them back into power.

    To do what? Continue taking our country down the toilet?!?

    Think about it, folks: Republicans preach fear, hatred and division. Their idea of America is a country permanently at war, where the rich get richer and the Middle Class gets squeezed out of existence.

    All the while never taking responsibility for their mistakes, always blaming "the other" for everything that is wrong.

    Do you really want to live in a country where fear and ignorance rule the day? A country where we're told that the answer to all our problems is to give more and more tax cuts to the wealthy?

    Been there, done that, folks, to the terrible detriment of our country.

    Don't be impatient with the hard work it's going to take to turn this country around.

    Don't live in fear; act out of hope. Don't let the Republicans and their fat-cat corporate masters win.

    Support our President. And come November, vote Democratic.

    July 23, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  6. gt

    oh really ? gee these bills were paybacks for a small vocal group radicals who got this presient elected... thats why his no.s stink...

    July 23, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain

    The Democrats need to get the word out and educate people about the positive, long-term effects of these major legislative victories.

    The Democrats also need to get the word out about how the Republicans, in their efforts to regain power, have absolutely no qualms making average Americans suffer.

    GOP = Party Before Country

    July 23, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  8. oy vey az

    Polls, polls, polls! None are accurate. None are non-biased. None are by anyone we know. None can be trusted.

    Yet the media just loves to throw them at us like dead fish to zoo seals.

    Arf Arf ... Give me some more of those stinky good for nothing polls.

    July 23, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  9. I now own a piece of paper that says I own gold,hahaha

    Seniors scare easily,and have little faith in anything that cant be seen or heard.The rightwingbats are good at scaring them with their 24/7 scare radio and lying faux news.

    July 23, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  10. Johnny DC

    Please define "victories" in the phrase "Legislative Victories".

    If "victory" means to simply succeed in passing a bill... any bill... then sure, the Democrats have been extraordinarily victorious.

    If "victory" means to pass bills that strengthen the economy and the outlook for the future, while giving incentive to businesses (large and small) to hire more Americans, then no, the Democrats have actually been epically non-victorious.

    If "victory" means to create dozens of new bureaucracies controlled by federal government employees who are thus far unable to run anything successfully, then sure, the Democrats have been gloriously victorious.

    If "victory" means to worsen race relations, point fingers, and exacerbate the clashes between classes, races, and religions, then yes, the Democrats have celebrated surreal victory.

    If "victory" means to take hypocrisy to a new level, bowing down to the needs and desires of labor unions and particular corporations while shunning the similar relationships of your opponents, then absolutely, the Democrats have claimed unimaginable victory.

    July 23, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  11. Riley

    Obama is hurting all democrats. His inexperience shows daily. Obama is not qualified to be president.

    July 23, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  12. andy

    You can take this pall and shove it. My pall points in another direction.

    July 23, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  13. JonDie

    Most Americans are just plain stupid. We deserve another eight years of Bush and Cheney and a real second Great Depression next time ago.

    July 23, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  14. Bedtime for Obonzo

    Brace for a raft of inane Democratic comments......"No one polled me!" "What about cell phones?" "Voters are stupid" "Old people must have dementia" "Polls are meaningless." And of course "It's GWB's/the GOP's fault!" Sigh...

    July 23, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  15. Orlando Patriot

    Maybe it is because his "legislative victories" were done behind closed doors and without letting the people or Congress even read it before requiring a vote. What happened to "transparency"? Then Obama, by having the majority, thumbed his nose at the Republicans and told us "we don't give a damn about what you think and we are going to do what we want so screw you". So there is no "transparency" or "bi-partisanship".

    Then he said he would not approve any earmarks and go through each bill with a "scalpel" eliminating waste. So what did he do? Approved 100's of BILLIONS of dollars of waste!!! With no explanation. What has all this accomplished? An additional 3 TRILLION dollars of debt and an ADDITIONAL 3 million workers unemployed!! This guy has proven his incompetence and we are all SICK AND TIRED OF INCOMPETENCE IN WASHINGTON!!

    You just wait – November will remove ALL corrupt, useless, uncaring, fruadulent, incompetent politicians. In other words GET RID OF THE WHOLE DAMN BUNCH OF THEM IN 2010!! THEN GET RID OF OBAMA IN 2012!! Just remember: You work for us – WE DO NOT WORK FOR YOU!!! All incumbents are out in November!!

    July 23, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  16. GI Joe

    They old fools probably want their grandchildren with pre-existing conditions to have no coverage. They want the repukes back in so everyone's social security gets cut or stopped. They want wall street to continue to rip us off. They want more wars for their kids and grand-kids to fight. I can definitely see a need for Sara's death panels if that is what old people want.

    (I'm white and 67, but I'm not an old fool).

    July 23, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  17. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    I don't know why this is news to the democrats. They keep voting against what America wants, telling us lies, calling us names and then think we should return them to office????????. The problems in this country magnified and morphed in to unmanageable when the libs won the 2006 elections and took office in 2007. They have held the majority in Congress for 4 years and the presidency for nearly 2 and they still whine how the Republicans keep stopping them. I think perhaps they need to realize their programs and morally and ethically bankrupt and keep their mouths shut until they are voted out in November.

    July 23, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  18. David

    If they just concentrated on issues that are of importance to the American people in the current time, rather than on ideological issues that progressives in the 30's thought to be important!

    July 23, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  19. Jim in Denver

    The unfortunate thing is that most people can't understand the benefits of this complex legislation and the Democrats have not done a great sales job yet. The near destruction of our economy was caused by the relaxation of regulations governing banking and big business. The past year has seen the most sweeping reform in 80 years. These are things that will benefit the middle class like health reform, the creation of a consumer protection agency, and regulation of the derivatives trading and banking excesses that wrecked all of our 401K's. The list goes on and on. President Obama and the Democrats need to articulate what these changes will mean to the common man.

    July 23, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  20. Spokaloo...Hey CNN How about letting me participate by posting my comment for a change.

    ...it's the major legislative victories, stupid...

    July 23, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  21. Naqib

    With Age come Wisdom...
    With Wisdom comes Conservatism...

    July 23, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  22. GL

    It is becasue of the media not doing it job and vetting all these story from the right that have Attacked President Obama and make people start seeing President Obama as someone to fair. I really don't care about the polls becasue they are polling people that are not his base like people 50 and older. If you really want polls to mean something, please tell us the age group of these polls. All the polls where wrong in 2008 because they were polling people over 50 who are not the ones that have voted for the President. These polls are very misleading and I never in my life see someone be polled as much as this President. Enough with these polls. President Obama is not up for re-election so they really don't mean anything. This is what is wrong with our news media they keep playing into people fear. This polls are to keep kear in the Dems that they are going to lose in Nov.

    July 23, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  23. Eric

    "CNN Poll: Major legislative victories not helping Dems"

    Ya think?

    In fact, I'll take it one further... a more truthful headline would read:
    "Major legislative victories become pink slips for Dems."

    July 23, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  24. obama victim

    The "victories" only appeal to the left wing welfare types...the rest of the country...you know, ..the ones with any sense, reject the Obama agenda

    July 23, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  25. AEJ

    What President Obama has achieved in 1 1/2 year, his predecessor, George Bush did not in 8 years. I guess these major victories was achieved under a black president so they do not mean anything to Americans. Had these victories achieved under a white president they would matter.

    July 23, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
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