November 26th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
9 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. bilk7

    Hard to believe the American people would vote for a party that shut down government, costing us $24 Billion, has obstructed the daily operation of Congress, refused to address unemployment, and is currently doing everything they can to keep millions of Americans uninsured. Are the people taking these polls really that uninformed and as out of touch with reality as our politicians are?

    November 26, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  2. NealR2000

    But all the commentary in news articles for the past year has been from people who claim the GOP is dead, unelectable, finished, etc. Oh, that's right, internet comments are heavily populated by idle, lazy, idealistic types, who believe that they are the downtrodden, while typing away in their mother's basement.

    November 26, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  3. sara

    We have a sad state of affairs in the US when neither party is fit to govern and there is no other alternative. Big money controls politics and that's the way it is. Shameful! And I'm a 2%er.

    November 26, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  4. flecka

    I still believe Obama was and is the best choice for POTUS today. Regarding tomorrow, and for many years to come, I'll continue to vote democrat. I find most republicans & all tea party politicos useless, untrustworthy & self-serving.

    November 26, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  5. jr

    Those families that don't qualify for subsidies are typically seeing that the plans cost more. Many working people will pay more to cover others and forced to pay for benefits they chose not to include in their plans. My family's plan did not meet the government mandates because we chose not to have pediatric & maternity care. Additionally, there is a trust factor which was violated with promises made about the healthcare law...that has many Americans at least disappointed in the government.

    November 26, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  6. Malory Archer

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

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Why is it that the rethugs always resort to assault as a way of dealing with that which they don't like? Someone spits on another person, that person should press charges and demand the assailant be locked up on felony assault charges and tested for communicable diseases. Then they should sue the assailant for violating their civil rights.

    November 26, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    DirtyHeat

    @Coming Back to Your Senses
    "they will continue to push severely for the Wealthy who don't need the help at all"

    Have you notice how the stock market has reached record highs under Obama? Hmmm now who benefits the most from that? I'll give you a hint, it's not the poor or the middle class.
    ------------------------–
    Oops. You're off message. You have just suggested that the economy is doing fairly well, hitting record highs in the markets.

    November 26, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  8. julnor

    The dems really messed up when they had complete control of the govt. Their mistake was implementing their agenda. Now people are seeing the impacts.

    November 26, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  9. The issue as it stands

    "There is no doubt that our failure to rollout the ACA smoothly has put a burden on Democrats.. " The real burden is caused by your incessant lying, Mr. President.

    November 26, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  10. southernsuga

    It's too early to say which party has the edge. I won't make a decision until I know a lot more about each candidate.

    November 26, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  11. nuclear mike

    ...and when the pendulum swings the Democrats will fall due to the liesof the President and the Democratic passing of ObamaCare without review or discussion...that's why this Senate required vote reduction of 60 to 51 is so important for the Demcrats to place their liberal judges in place before the Democrats lose their power to nomibnate and continue their socialist agenda...

    November 26, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  12. Lou

    I've never been so embarrassed for our country….holy crap, are people that stupid?

    November 26, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  13. Seattle Sue

    There are a lot of dumb people out there. Hard to believe any one would trust Republicans.

    November 26, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  14. Ctrygrl

    Basically the democrats have less than a year to "get it right". With a healthcare marketplace that is working and a pick up in the economy. Republicans will fight this every step of the way, throwing up as many roadblocks as possible. In the end if Obamacare is working and the republicans continue their dogged campaign against it which they will because they have nothing to offer in its place the democrats have a chance. Obama has got to do a lot of image repair work, everyone expects the republicans to "bend the truth" but not Obama.

    November 26, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  15. Rudy NYC

    Democrats have nothing to worry about. Republicans have set themelves up to fail once again. They have scheduled a few opportunities to shutdown the government and default on our debts between now and November 2014.

    November 26, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  16. scooter

    Well the Democrats still have the ace-in-the-hole. They have the GOP having to open their mouths day in and day out. That alone will swing the polls around.

    November 26, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  17. Malory Archer

    Never vote for a rethug again. Rethugs take from the hard working
    middle class and give only to the non-working 1%. Rethugsare nothing but liars (remember their 2010 campaign mantra: jobs, jobs, jobs?).
    Rethugs are nothing but liars.
    Maybe we can save our country from failing by voting our ALL rethugs in the house & senate in
    the upcoming elections.

    November 26, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  18. YeahRight

    Romney led Obama by 5 points going into the 2012 election, too. The rule of thumb is that, in order to overcome the ballot-stuffing, cheating, and voting dead democrats, republicans need a 10 point margin in the polls to win an election.

    November 26, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  19. Don DaMiddle

    Why are polls & editorials from CNN's phone receptionist... considered "News"?

    November 26, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  20. styx

    Judging from overall approval I'd say "no party" or "third party" has a growing advantage,

    November 26, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  21. Merle McClung

    CNN, I don't know who you polled, but if your results agree with Faux Mews, you did something wrong.

    November 26, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  22. vbscript2

    " '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."

    Should have said:

    " '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 paying for it,' Holland said."

    November 26, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  23. Malory Archer

    YeahRight

    Romney led Obama by 5 points going into the 2012 election, too. The rule of thumb is that, in order to overcome the ballot-stuffing, cheating, and voting dead democrats, republicans need a 10 point margin in the polls to win an election.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Right, because all those voter purge and suppression efforts (for which there is proof) in rethug states just weren't enough to sway the pendulum. BTW, can you provide CREDIBLE proof of your "ballot-stuffing, cheating, and voting dead democrats" claims? No? Didn't think so, but thanks for playing!

    November 26, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  24. Rick

    Democrats can only hide their lies and incompetence for so long.

    But anybody with an IQ at least 10 points above a turnip can now see the lies and incompetence of the Democrat Party.

    November 26, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  25. Eagle0831

    You have too look at results, not words, not promises, but results. Record on food stamps, record on SSI disability, record in poverty, highest black unemployment in generations, debt doubled, highest deficits in history, lowest labor participation in decades, and of course..........drum roll please..............the biggest failure in American history, Obmamcare roll out and lies! Good job libs! We told you so!

    November 26, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
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