November 26th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
10 months ago

CNN/ORC poll: Democrats lose 2014 edge following Obamacare uproar

Washington (CNN) – What a difference a month makes.

A new CNN/ORC International poll indicates a dramatic turnaround in the battle for control of Congress in next year's midterm elections.

Democrats a month ago held a 50%-42% advantage among registered voters in a generic ballot, which asked respondents to choose between a Democrat or Republican in their congressional district without identifying the candidates.

That result came after congressional Republicans appeared to overplay their hand in the bitter fight over the federal government shutdown and the debt ceiling.

But the Democratic lead has disappeared. A new CNN/ORC poll indicates the GOP now holds a 49%-47% edge.

The new survey was conducted last week and released Tuesday.

The 10-point swing follows a political uproar over Obamacare, which included the botched rollout of HealthCare.gov and controversy over insurance policy cancelations due primarily to the new health law.

The turnaround in the CNN/ORC poll follows similar shifts in recent national surveys from Quinnipiac University and Fox News.

At a news conference two weeks ago, President Barack Obama acknowledged that problems plaguing the startup of the new healthcare law could hurt Democrats.

"There is no doubt that our failure to rollout the ACA smoothly has put a burden on Democrats, whether they are running or not because they stood up and supported this effort through thick and thin," Obama said.

The CNN/ORC poll, released as the President makes a West Coast campaign fundraising swing on behalf of fellow Democrats, indicates both parties making gains within their base.

"It looks like the biggest shifts toward the Republicans came among white voters, higher-income Americans, and people who live in rural areas, while Democrats have gained strength in the past month among some of their natural constituencies, such as non-white voters and lower-income Americans," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

"If those patterns persist into 2014, it may indicate that Obamacare is popular among those who it was designed to help the most, but unpopular among the larger group of voters who are personally less concerned about health insurance and health care," Holland said.

Republicans currently have a 17-seat advantage in the U.S. House with the Democrats holding a 55-45 majority in the Senate.

While the generic ballot question is one of the most commonly used indicators when it comes to the battle for Congress, the poll results are a long way from predicting what will happen next November.

"There is just under a year to go before any votes are actually cast and the 'generic ballot' question is not necessarily a good predictor of the actual outcome of 435 separate elections," Holland cautions.

"A year before the 2010 midterms, for example, the Democrats held a six-point lead on the generic ballot but the GOP wound up regaining control of the House in that election cycle, thanks to an historic 63-seat pickup," he said.

The poll was conducted November 18-20 for CNN by ORC International, with 843 adult Americans, including 749 registered voters, questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.


Filed under: 2014 • CNN/ORC poll • Congress
soundoff (885 Responses)
  1. mickinmd

    The Congressional Election districts are so gerrymandered that it's going to be tough to change the makeup of Congress by a lot. And the average American, whether liberal or conservative, is so poorly informed yet so much of a know-it-all that it's too much to expect them to elect anything but a corrupt group back to Congress. Years from now, we Americans of today will be looked down on by Historians because of how we let real democracy get away from us just like Historians look down on the French People after they let the 1789 Revolution turn into the Reign of Terror followed by the butchering of Europe by Napoleon.

    November 27, 2013 04:14 am at 4:14 am |
  2. Thomas Nichols

    Lots of alternatives. Best one: Leave it alone so people can continue to work full time jobs with benefits instead of two part time jobs with no benefits because of stupid Obamacare 29 hour work week rule.

    November 27, 2013 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  3. dencal26

    Ted Cruz looks like a prophet now. Obamacare is a train wreck. We are on target for 22 trillion in debt by the end of Obama's Presidency. Wake up.

    November 27, 2013 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  4. dencal26

    Dan

    We at least expected the website to work. As far as the shut down costing 24 Billion dollars ( if at all true) I am more concerned with the 22 Trillion projected debt we will have before Obama ends his term. Your parroting the dubious 24 billion number is laughable. Our real problem is far greater

    November 27, 2013 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  5. dencal26

    Obama is a dishonest man. His lies are blatant

    November 27, 2013 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  6. William1444

    The poll says those preferring republicans are upper middle class income, white voters.
    They probably have good jobs and health care and are looking down upon average middle
    class working men and women struggling with low wages and no real health care. Those
    preferring republicans also are no doubt those in phony christian churches which are just
    republican political organizations AND are as far from true christian principles as one can get.

    November 27, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  7. MaryM

    Republicans think because of the ACA the majority of Americans are going to forget what they have done and not done over the last five years. Think again repubs. You think you are winning the battle but you have already lost the war.

    November 27, 2013 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  8. Jesus M Burgos

    Mary M Republicans are winning and Democrats thought that they had their moment now with the Health care debacle read the article Mary your party has done a bad job the spotlight is on the Dems read the article Mary.

    November 27, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  9. Bubba

    The 2014 Elections are just less than a YEAR away, which is more than enough time for Republicans to irk every Minority Group in America twenty times over again.
    Just think about how many messages the GOP can release explaining how their Protestant White Values (PWV) are the only true American Values, and how we should all aspire to be like them, even though we do not have a chance of achieving such greatness, due to not being genetically good enough to be a real Republicans.
    The GOP sold their Souls for a few nutjob Tea Party votes, and now stand before America Soulless, explaining how they are the solutions for the situations they created when they had the Oval Office, Congress, and the Courts.
    It is fun to see how Republicans think they are winning though. Obama is letting them have their day, knowing timing is everything; waiting for March 2014 to begin the pummeling of the GOP, and the retaking of Congress.

    November 27, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  10. RNK

    mac1017
    YOU are what is right with this country. We cannot be concerned just with our own self interests. We must also care about what is best for everyone.

    November 27, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
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