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. Rick McDaniel

    Seniors have figured out the truth, that they are getting mistreated, with Obama's programs.

    July 23, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  2. GL

    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."

    Most senior voted for McCain and are the one the GOP like to scare with all their lies. THIS IS THE FAULT OF THE MEDIA NOT VETTING ALL THIS NASTY STORY FOR THE RIGHT.

    July 23, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  3. Spokaloo...Hey CNN How about letting me participate by posting my comment for a change.

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

    It took the Democrats only 18 months to do as much damage to our country as Bush did in 8 years.

    July 23, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  4. Jilli

    It's a shame that so few – especially those middle class Americans aren't recognizing how much this administration has done to help their social class.

    They have brought about the greatest reversal of Reaganism we've seen in years. Reaganism that brought on the shrinking of the middle class and their incomes and the endless growth in incomes for the wealthy. This is a historic turnaround for the majority.

    Let's hope they finally cut through all the bullcrap and recognize the good that the Obama admin has done.

    July 23, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  5. Joe Gaines

    Well M r. & Ms. John Q. Public you didn't lean your lesson from the last eight years and who know maybe the pain was not bad enough so lets go back do this again

    July 23, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  6. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Of course...that's why they call the Republicans the Grand OLD Party. Whenever I see Republicans at rallies, they're all senior citizens along with a few grandchildren they try to brainwash.

    July 23, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  7. carlos

    vote for repugnantards and the suicide rates will go up in this country, by regreting their vote and believing in the lies and hatred spewed by those amorals.

    July 23, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  8. Captain Awesome

    Democrats are so dense and out of touch that they stand around and wonder why they don't get more credit for all of the legislation they're passing and making into law. Hello?? It's because the people don't like the direction you (the dems) are taking this country. Sure, you passed health care legislation, but the polls showed that Americans didn't want YOUR brand of healthcare. All of the bills you democrats have passed are centered on giving the government more power and taking us further into debt. That's not what the people expected. Also, this administration and congress have been all about secret back room, sweet heart deals, which is not what the people want. Democrats are so drunk with power and arrogance that they've become disconnected with the very people that hired them to do the job and you stand around with a dumb look on your face and wonder why the people are voting you out in November. Change we can believe in??? You dems in congress better start dusting off your resume. You're going to need it come November.

    July 23, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  9. vic

    Now many people are happy. In Tennessee nearly 70000 are happy because un employment benefit has extended but our two senators ( both are republicans) votes against the unemployment benefit

    In November voters vote for the party who care about them

    July 23, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  10. greg in jax

    Polls dont count, elections do.

    July 23, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  11. gary

    What victories? Stimulus was just pork and has been a disaster! The Wall Street bail out wasted tax payer money and those execs ended up with record bonuses! The deficit has spiraled out of control! Healthcare reform had more taxes and sudent loan reform than it did healthcare! We're still in Iraq! We're ramping up in Afghanistan! Gitmo is not even close to being closed! 9/11 trial won't be done in NYC! President insulted Boston Police then had to apologize, now he fired Sherrod and had to apologize. Frankly, I like Pres. Obama personally but his first 2 years have been one debacle after another...

    Oh yeah did I mention BP? Vote these bums out!!!!!

    July 23, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  12. thor

    It shows how unfocused this administration is. The number one issue is jobs and right now there just aren't enough.So keep doing what you are doing and the next thing will be you standing in line waiting to receive your measely little unemployment check.

    July 23, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  13. Less Government -- More Freedom

    "Legislative victories?" How about socialistic laws and government takeovers rammed down the throats of the American people AGAINST THEIR WILL (with the help of a few RINO's who like to see their names in the paper)!

    Please CNN, stop shilling for the Democrats and reporting the news from a liberal/left-wing point of view. Report the news honestly.

    July 23, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  14. snow

    Thats because they passed an agenda against the majority of America and that is why some of them will be gone in 2010 and alot more in 2012. A bunch of stupid and out of touch elected respresentatives that do not represent the majority of the people.

    July 23, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  15. Keith in Austin

    Excuse me? Could it be because the "so called" major legislative victories imposed by Liberal Democrats are to the demise of the American People and future of our Country? Duh.....

    July 23, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  16. JIm Bradshaw

    Nothing is going to help any party who is in the majority when unemployment is as high as it is. Obama and the Dems knew that going in. The real problem is that we just can't compete with $5 a day foreign labor. It doesn't matter how cheap things get if half the country is underemployed or unemployed...

    July 23, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  17. JANUARY 20, 2013 - THE END OF AN ERROR

    From the CNN article:

    "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."

    Gee whiz, do you really think so? That may be the understatement of the decade.

    After shoving down the throats of the American people a wasteful stimulus bill, an abortion called health-care reform and financial regulation bill that does not address Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, I would say Obama'a political capital is gone. And the American people are wondering why all this was done while the economy is weak and unemployment was high.

    Does this phrase ring a bell?

    IT’S THE ECONOMY, STUPID.

    July 23, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  18. 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 moronic self righteous, arrogant, h-y-p-o-c-r-i-t-e-s.

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

    July 23, 2010 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  19. Mike in Texas

    Senior citizens can be manipulated easier than any age group. They are more trusting than other age groups. The GOP knows this.....that is why we heard death panels and Dems will take away your social security.

    I say fine. Let the Republicans gain control of the house. If they do then they will have to present a budget which will be on of the following:

    1. Huge spending cuts to most everything but defense. This will include Social Security and Medicare who the Republicans claim the Dems want to take away.

    2. Small cuts which don't make a tiny dent in the deficit. They will run a 800 billion to 1 trillion deficit but say that is less than Obama's. They will claim it can't be done overnight, although they criticize Obama for not getting things done overnight.

    3. A middle approach that still runs a deficit....500-800 billion. However, the spending cuts will hurt the economy more than help.

    Throw in tax cuts to corporations, repealing of the estate tax, and reductions in capital gains taxes (all benefiting the wealthy).

    The economy during the Bush admin was propped up by a bogus housing boom. We all have seen the results of this.

    July 23, 2010 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  20. Joan

    If this poll is correct then the general American public is less informed and less smart than I ever thought. What do they think the country would be like if McCain and Palin were in charge? It makes me cringe to think of it. These people should vote the Republicans back in power who will repeal Health Care and unemployment benefits, deregulate Wall Stree again, start a new war in Iran and give more tax breaks to the rich so it can "trickle down". How did that all work out before? You guys don't know a good thing when you've got it. Sad!

    July 23, 2010 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  21. all of America

    You mean ,passing all of the bills that the the majority of the people don't want, yah ,That's gonna help. IIf they repeal all of those bills before november,they might pull it off , but I doubt it ! The dems can pass all the bills they want ,that won't save them in november!

    July 23, 2010 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  22. Barry Moss

    Nope, in this nation of ultra right wing hillbillys the only thing that would help the demos popularity would be for them to take a hard right turn and copy the terms of G.W. Bush. Nothing America loves so much as an ignorant, hate filled warmonger.

    July 23, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  23. Chris

    Your 1st problem is calling these horific ideolog careless legislative manuevers by obama as accomplishments and victories. Deemed and pass a trillion dollar health care bill with little regards to costs and how it could impact treament quality, businesses and the national deficit is called a bone headed legislative move, not a victory.

    Until CNN can label these actions accurately, it can never relate the truth to its viewers to why people are turning away from this president.

    July 23, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  24. REG in AZ

    In 2000 I recognized and became turned off by GWBush’s arrogant, punkish, self-absorbed, grossly dishonest sociopathic personality and by 2003 I had enough of Bush-Cheney being ‘puppets’ for Special Interests and the influential, powerful and extremely wealthy few who ‘pulled their strings’, provided them overt and covert support, substantial contributions and even promises for after office compensation all while Bush-Cheney arrogantly and stubbornly, with an in-your-face cockiness, dutifully served the interests of the few and gave the people only apathy, the costs and an abundance of subterfuge to deceive and manipulate. The Republican Party totally and stubbornly supported all of that and it was enough to cause me to change my registration from Republican to Undeclared Party (independent). Since then the Republican Party has boldly and belligerently continued with the same mentality, has demonstrated that they are totally focused on their political ambitions above all else, at any cost and without conscience, and that they feel they can simply take the people for granted and continually try to manipulate them with scare tactics, emotional appeals and any deception they and their supporters choose to use, as if people are just stupid and emotionally excitable pawns for their use. That has not only alienated me but also disgusted and literally offended me as I see it as an insult to intelligence and self-esteem.

    I will list just some of the deceptions they boldly attempted, without any elaboration due to limited space, and assume others will recognize the arrogant and insulting, self-serving and dishonest nature of the issues. Remember: Tax cuts for the wealthy; Global Warming not a problem; Private Accounts for Social Security; Minimized/ignored warnings before 9/11; Trumped up justification for attacking Iraq; Abandoned effort in Afghanistan; Afghanistan presented as secure; False coalition with America paying 95%+; Iraqi oil money never paying for the war; Pressure put on the intelligence community; Authorized departure from Geneva Convention rules; Misrepresentations on wars to manipulate public opinion; No bid contracts to favored vendors; Responsibility for port security to Dubai Ports; Excusing the humongous deficit and growing trade deficit; Their apathetic reaction to hurricane Katrina aftermath; Blocking bringing American drugs back into the US; Exposing the CIA agent's identity; Squelching the 'wiretapping without court order' story; Falsely raising the security threat level before 2004 election; Excessive deregulation and the lack of any responsible oversight favoring a few and resulting in unchecked greed, gross dishonesty and criminal self-indulgence; Encouraging the deporting of American jobs and taxes; GWBush falsely presented as a 'born again Christian'; and since Bush-Cheney: Republican totally belligerent concentration on their political ambitions; Stubbornly obstructing and faulting all efforts to address problems; Irresponsibly withholding any bipartisan cooperation; Aggressively intimidating and coercing their representatives to force unity; Supporters organizing and sponsoring Tea Party movement, much like the ‘Swiftboat” effort, to deceptively manipulate the public; Arrogance and gross dishonesty using scare tactics and emotional appeals; yes and even subtly using both sides of racial issue, without conscience; on and on totally without guilt, with complete disregard for responsibility and always aimed to benefit only the few, their supporters and benefactors, while simply taking the public for granted.

    With GWBush you could tell when he was lying by just checking to see if he was moving his lips. Now with Boehner, McConnell, Kyl, other representatives and the likes of Limbaugh, Beck, Palin and others, their offensive arrogant and stubborn demeanor, that says ‘up yours’, is their insulting effort to disguise their subterfuge. If some see that as strength, instead of recognizing it as a defensive posture and likely as close as you will ever come to seeing them admit guilt, that is a shame because the manipulation then has found victims.

    July 23, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  25. Bill in California

    THERE'S BLOOD IN THE WATER AND THE SHARKS ARE CIRCLING. Come NOVEMBER there will be a feeding frenzy as hasn't been seen since the last WOULD BE EMPEROR was in the peoples' WHITE HOUSE. R.I.P. DIMRATS 2010, EMPEROR II 2012.

    July 23, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
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