November 26th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
11 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. Steve

    Does that include the races where the tea party candidate is blowing coke up his nose?

    November 26, 2013 06:06 am at 6:06 am |
  2. john brown

    It's going to be a resounding rejection of the liberal social agenda and decay of American entrepreneurship. A real bloodbath. Can't wait.

    November 26, 2013 06:08 am at 6:08 am |
  3. Someguysarerude

    Stupid public. The ACA is working, yet the GOP is suddenly winning the propaganda war? Even after shutting down the US government?

    November 26, 2013 06:09 am at 6:09 am |
  4. Buchanan

    This doesn't matter, the elections aren't being held for a year

    November 26, 2013 06:09 am at 6:09 am |
  5. joey

    why can't you report news CNN instead of feeding the fire about nothing! so pathetic. you are acting like fox news.

    November 26, 2013 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  6. Nicole

    Oh, come on, it's too early to tell anything from the polls. Especially regarding ACA as the coverage hasn't even gone into effect yet. Talk to me three months before the elections.

    November 26, 2013 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  7. Reid Is Toxic

    Obamacare debacle is costing AMERICANS.

    November 26, 2013 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  8. hkirwin

    Wait until this Iran debacle sets in. Goodbye libs.

    November 26, 2013 06:13 am at 6:13 am |
  9. Marie MD

    You keep telling yourselves that CNN. The shutdown wasted$24BILLION and millions lost their jobs ("paid" after the fact vacation, if) for three weeks and those who depend on those workers lost money in the process.
    Obamacare is up and running better and even the pathetic weeper of the house signed on.
    There's no comparison.

    November 26, 2013 06:14 am at 6:14 am |
  10. Constance

    Not just O/care, promising Mexs he would 'march/walk with them' all they have to do is keep begging and they get what they want behind our backs, just like Iran. This president thinks he's the "Ambassador to the World".

    November 26, 2013 06:14 am at 6:14 am |
  11. larry

    Everyone that knows a Democrat should spit in their face for what they have done.

    November 26, 2013 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  12. GOPrThugs

    No worries. Gas will hit $2.50 next summer; the economy will be humming; Obamacare will cover millions that couldn't afford before. Democrats will crush the GOPs in November 2014. Just watch.

    November 26, 2013 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
  13. Daniel

    I'm a Democrat but I may vote Libertarian next year.

    November 26, 2013 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
  14. Gail MD

    Yea ! Finally ! FIRST ORDER of Business: Repeal Obamacare !

    November 26, 2013 06:18 am at 6:18 am |
  15. Richard Long

    "You have to pass it to find out what is on it"
    "People will save $2500 a year in savings"
    "People can chose from a variety of affordable plans"
    "I was not aware of any problems with the website."
    "You can keep you policy. Period."

    Legendary FAIL = OWN IT!

    November 26, 2013 06:18 am at 6:18 am |
  16. GrandPaTx

    Republicans need to keep telling the truth about the democrats' obamacare. Think it's bad now; wait till the employer mandates kick in (now after the 2014 mid-term elections). It's now estimated that over 80 million additional people will lose their current insurance plans.

    Be sure to thank a democrat for obamacare.

    November 26, 2013 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  17. MrRickinNH

    Wow... a poll during the unfortunate healthcare roll-out... when people have already forgotten the gov. shut down. CNN just what does this poll say besides nothing!

    November 26, 2013 06:20 am at 6:20 am |
  18. Realityblowz

    After holding on to the ACA so desperately, I am surprised that the ratio is not 95% to 5% with that stinker.

    November 26, 2013 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  19. zon

    Uh-Huh. And pigs can fly. CNN/ORC has shown repeatedly it's about as accurate as Karl Rove's polling.

    November 26, 2013 06:23 am at 6:23 am |
  20. james

    You mean everyone is not happy with the Obamacare rollout? How could that be? If the Democrats lose it will be the fault of the media for reporting on the Obamacare website troubles. The media should have protected Obama like they have done on everything else. The media has let the Leader down. Shame on them.

    November 26, 2013 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
  21. Brent

    Democrats had a problem rolling out a brand new website one time. Republicans have proven, twice now, that they can't keep the government running. My vote will still be for the Democrats.

    November 26, 2013 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  22. RayJacksonMs

    Proof of just how gullible and stupid the American people are.

    November 26, 2013 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  23. jack

    Just the beginning of the debacle... Libs, please keep fighting fir this law..

    You are dooming yourselves and don't even know it...

    LOL

    November 26, 2013 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  24. fedupwithla

    There's one thing that the people of the United States must get through their heads. And that is Obama is the coolest dude to walk the planet and whatever he says goes. Get used to it. Do you want Bush back? Don't you remember how everyone hated Bush? Such a meanie! Obama forever as the coolest dude!

    November 26, 2013 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  25. sweeper111

    Headline should read:
    "Obama squanders Democrats advantage with incompetent ACA rollout". It is his signature plan, he should have known about and prevented this debacle from happening. Repubs had no plan but sometimes nothing is better than a total screw up.

    November 26, 2013 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
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