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. Four and The Door

    Results. Nasty word to the Democrats, but that's what it's all about. We don't care about legislative victories ( especially since it's still just one party approval ), we don't care about what you inherited. We just want results. Haven't seen a thing, yet.

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

    Just shows how stupid the electorate is, ignoring results and focusing on rhetoric.

    July 23, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  3. Enlightened

    That should show you that there is a serious lack of education in this country. Democrats are protecting the average man and people are too damn stupid to know it.

    July 23, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  4. jim

    Obama has declared war on senior citizens and i don't see why any of them would vote for any dems that back him .They are the ones that take the major hits in the healthcare legislation that he pushed through Congress.Because of his reckless spending social security is threatened.Doctors are starting to take away treating patients that are on Medicare.

    July 23, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  5. Ray

    Cramming legislation down our throats that most of us do not want is what is hurting Democrats. Being tone deaf to voters is going to hurt them. The economy is hurting and they are not helping with all the spending. The DNC wants open borders and amensty which most Americans do not favor. It will be interesting to see how Obama and company handle the expiration of the tax cuts in January. I guarantee you they will cave and extend most of them for political reasons.

    July 23, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  6. Dumbasrocks [R]s

    ".....43 percent saying [the Tea Party] movement is generally mainstream......Fifty-six percent of Americans consider the Republican party's views to be mainstream."

    It is sad indeed to see how a significant portion of our population: (1) can be so easily fooled; or (2) is just so downright stupid. Somehow these people cannot recognize the consequences of the repeated failure of regressive [R] policies even though they are right in front of their faces everyday, and they cannot understand the implications of the current [R] obstruction-only approach to governing our country.

    To America's senior citizens: apparently the older you get, the dumber you get. Think of where you would be today with "mainstream" [R]s in charge: without social security, and in the midst of a [R] generated depression. Just what do you think your life expectancy would be in those circumstances?

    Yeh, that's right, vote for those "mainstream" [R] birth-baggers. Just how abjectly stupid can you get!!!????

    July 23, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  7. Jerry

    January 3rd, 2007 was the day the Democrats took over the Senate and the Congress: At the time:
    The DOW Jones closed at 12,621.77
    The GDP for the previous quarter was 3.5%
    The Unemployment rate was 4.6%
    George Bush's Economic policies SET A RECORD of 52 STRAIGHT MONTHS of JOB CREATION!
    January 3rd, 2007 was the day that Barney Frank took over the House Financial Services Committee and Chris Dodd took over the Senate Banking Committee.
    The economic meltdown that happened 15 months later was in what part of the economy?
    (BTW: Bush asked Congress 17 TIMES to stop Fannie & Freddie – starting in 2001 because it was Financially risky for the US economy):
    And who took the THIRD highest pay-off from Fannie Mae AND Freddie Mac???? OBAMA And who fought against reform of Fannie and Freddie??? Right again Obama
    So when a LIB tries to blame Bush..REMEMBER JANUARY 3rd, 2007.... THE DAY THE DEMOCRATS TOOK OVER!

    July 23, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  8. Ricky

    Seems like even though the Democratic Party is the only party willing to work this year, the Party of NO is feeling the love. Its clear which party is standing for the little guy so why are we hatin on the Dems?

    July 23, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  9. JFS

    Sorry news Media I blame you folks for this..ya'll spent more time on the negative aspects of ALL the bills passed...and...less time on the positive of each new bill. I really believe that all media ...especially Fox... have taken liberties with reporting truth ful UNBIASED news and becoming self-fulfilling propaganda machines in order to generate ratings and a larger group of supporters/viewers. I think that many news sources are very marginial with regulations of the FCC and I think that little episodes such as FOX's editing may bring recourse. I do have to say that CNN did a fine job exposing FOX's made-up story. That being said I look to you folks to be the first to stop this political nonsense and give us the FACTS without your two cents.

    July 23, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. ib

    why should people vote for them? they are pushing bills down our throats that no one wants and cannot stop their uncontrolled spending. If we are going to have a country left we had better vote them out in Nov. both parties out is what needs to happen.

    July 23, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  11. ToughLove

    Bottom line: Ultra liberal ideals are not the ideals of most Americans. We overreacted electing President Obama and,hopefully, we'll begin correcting the mistake this November.

    July 23, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  12. valwayne

    Legislative victories? I suppose since the Democrats seem to be at war with the majority of the American people then shoving the corrupt stimulous bill and the equally corrupt healthcare bill down our throats are legislative victories. However, the losing side, in this case the American people, rarely approve of the beating the victors have inflicted upon them!!!

    July 23, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  13. Samantha

    The Democratic Party has lost the middle. That's doesn't mean "middle America," the bastion of Nixon, but Americans who are not idealogically driven by the extreme policies of the left or the right. The banter that was meant to be entertainment on TV between the polar positions of left and right pundits and celebrities have actually become the bedrock positions of the two parties, and that turns people off.

    The reaction that ousted the Republicans is now turning against the Democrats. Our Representatives are supposed to represent us, and they do not. The American founding principle is that the government rules with the consent of the governed. The fringes of society have overtaken the government by the loudness of their voices and the deepness of their pockets. The only way the rest of us can be heard is by our votes at the polls. We will be heard.

    July 23, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  14. John

    We should all realize by now that substance doesn't drive voters, it's stupidity. As in voters aren't interested in actual legislative work (you know, the reason why politicians and officials are voted into office in the first place) as much as they are in petty bickering, partisan hackery and stupid, inconsequential issues that have no bearing whatsoever on the overall direction that the country is heading in.

    People don't read, they like being talked to. Very sad, very true.

    July 23, 2010 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  15. NVa Native

    But are the major legislative defeats helping the Repubs?
    Not no, but Hell "NO" LOL!!!

    July 23, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  16. Eric

    The belief, again, that polls matter at this stake is wishful thinking or predicitng outcomes that you believe will happen in two years is suspicious. It has becoming about feeding currently the negative views of people that it's all doom and gloom for the next two years.... so why bother. CNN, you have sold your soul to the same master that brought Fox.

    July 23, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  17. bj

    It is called Black Tax. In every corporation and government agency African Americans experience the Black Tax syndrome. In other words, regardless of what you do it will never be enough. You can work extremely hard and seldom receive recognition for what you do. You want to talk about racism? You have no clue. Obama is going through that, it doesn't matter what he does it will never be enough because he is not WHITE. If Bush had done what Obama has done so far, he would have been touted the best President in recent history, even if he did loose grip of the surplus. Obama does something worthwhile and you throw darts at it. Nothing new and many of us (perhaps not as vocal) understand the games people play.

    It reminds me of slavery when the overseer would give an enslaved African100 lashes and then at the end of the day want to know why he/she didn't make their quota in picking cotton and receive an additional 300 lashes.

    July 23, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  18. Marie MD

    Seniors citizens? Those senior citizens who are not falling into the donut hole? Those senior citizens who will now get better healthcare regardless of pre existing conditions? Those senior citizens?
    Ingrates all!

    July 23, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  19. grandma

    Legislation is victory only if the majority of the american people want the specific legislation, otherwise they are democratic bombs that are destroying the dems party. You cannot snub the voters wil.

    July 23, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  20. Dean

    The Obama victories, healthcare, taking over the auto industry and financial institutions and the bailouts were not wanted by the American people. Only Obama and pinhead Pelosi wanted them.

    July 23, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  21. Willy Brown

    That's because the democrats are spending the USA into the poor house. Hope & change, hope & change blah, blah,BLAH!

    July 23, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  22. Liz the First

    What is it going to take to wake up the people of this country??? and how in the world can seniors be against this president and the Democrats? do they not realize that if rethugs had their way, most of them would be out on the street because social security and medicare would not exist????? all i can say is i guess the Dems have to get with the scary sound bites the rethugs have perfected and scare the country away from the folks who are bent on destroying it. how sad that people are so gullible they believe the crap Fux Noise and the other slime peddlers spew against this president who's accomplished more in his first 1 1/2 years for the country than all the recent rethug presidents put together.

    July 23, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. bertina

    Ridiculous poll. Until votes are in after November election the polls are useless.

    July 23, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  24. Wisconsinite

    I don't remember any time in recent history when there have been so many polls! I don't put much stock in them one way or the other. Polls can be skewed either way . . . the only "polls" that count are the ones that happen in the privacy of the voting booth!

    July 23, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  25. usualone

    One poll does not a "senior citizen" make. We are seniors who never ever get polled and we like what the Democrats are doing so far. They are not the party of "no." Also what do those who will have extensions to their unemployment funds think? I was unemployed and never ever had an extension...and the extension would have helped. You play up every time the seniors are negative towards this administration or Democratic majority. If you play it enough that will become true. Until then, remember tons of seniors do not get polled. But fear tactics maybe will have them on the bandwagon of the "no's."

    July 23, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
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