November 26th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
5 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. Jakinak

    CNN would like you to believe that the GOP has a narrow lead, but the truth is much worse for the Democrats. In their frantic rush to find something, anything to shift the focus off "0"-care, Harry Reid showed how desperate the situation has really become, followed by another foreign policy mess in the Middle East. So what's today's headline... a snow storm in November...

    November 26, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  2. Deomcorats,Obama bad for America.

    Not surprising that they are failing, Neither Obama or the Democrtas care about this country, they are only out for themselves. The Middle Class are pawns to them, take away their insurance and make them take ours. Nevermind the Goverment policy may not be what they need, they have no choice. Obama and the Democrats, now control your health care. Itwill take next November when Republicans get control of Senate to undo all the damage Obama and the Democrats did.

    November 26, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  3. ericgoestoholland

    I'm really not looking forward to a republican-dominated political scene again. We're trying to move forward into the future, but the conservative parties seem to be so traditional that it's hard to progress. Even so, I guess I'm tired of both parties dominating politics, even if I tend to side more with the democrats. Until politics becomes less party-focused and more idea-focused, we're just going to be taking one step forward and two steps back.

    November 26, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  4. Rancher721

    I am sure the FAR lefties are sick to their stomach that the lies of the President and pipe dreams of the democrats have turned into a nightmare. The rethug name calling simply shows how desperate they are. Here's a thought....Much smaller, simpler government, people are responsible for their own destiny's. Make Social Security only available to 62 or older. Drug test welfare applicants, enough of giving away the store. The harder you work, the luckier you get.

    November 26, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  5. Glenn Doty

    I'll say the same thing I said a month ago when you posted this same garbage:

    It's a year out. Polls mean less than nothing one year out. By April, the website will be working flawlessly and insurance prices will be set for 2015, and the news headlines will be focused on something else.

    I believe Obamacare will be judged a great success by March, and will begin eroding support from the GOP, but even if that were the case (In MARCH), it would be far too early to have a significant impact on the November elections.

    People need to get a grip. Enjoy your holidays. Enjoy your winter. Enjoy your spring. Enjoy your SUMMER... Then, you can start becoming concerned about what polls say.

    November 26, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  6. KellyinBoston

    The ACA discussion at this point is kind of dumb. They'll fix the website, then the whole issue will go away. Let's face it–The ACA is a market-based solution to make people take personal responsibility for their healthcare. Reagan liked the idea, and Romney passed it in MA (where it works flawlessly).

    November 26, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  7. Dave

    This shift is due to those 5% of Americans who have allready lost their healthcare plan due to the Democrat's lies (and then being told they're insignificant). Wait until next year when, right before the election, the millions of cancellation notices go out to those covered through their employer. Obamacare is going to be the gift that just keeps giving. They may never elect another Democrat again.

    November 26, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  8. Malory Archer

    mcp123

    "the ballot-stuffing, cheating, and voting dead democrats"

    What was it ... less than one percent reported voter fraud in the last election?

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

    Ironically, the vast majority of which was perpetrated by rethugs!

    November 26, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  9. Lydia

    What exactly is going on with CNN these days? Do you not report on the truth anymore? Is it your job to conjure up the least flattering news on the President to skew the general public's views? Because that's how I see it and it's not very flattering to your reporters. They look like sitting ducks themselves, unable to report what they know to be the truth. Who paid you off??????

    November 26, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  10. jo2

    49% to 47% Give me a break.

    November 26, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  11. Dan Pendleton

    Left unsaid is the GOP counter-proposal to Obamacare – which is a big fat NOTHING. Their only goal is to derail it but to replace iit with what? Nothing. Let the HMOs continue to milk money from a broken system because the CEOs are their friends.

    November 26, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  12. bushkilledthegop

    It is a looooong way untill nov2014 and nov2016. The GOPers will say something stupid and get behind again. Just Look at the republican comments here!

    November 26, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  13. billmelater1

    I see fear in the Liberals posting here. All they seem to be spewing is typical name calling with no facts. Well to take an old saying " the chicken are coming home to roost".

    November 26, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  14. Steve

    2 months ago people wanted to hang the GOP. Now they want to hang Obama. What will people do in 11.5 months? Who knows?

    November 26, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  15. KR

    Fleeting poll numbers, no worries. The 'Party of No' will continue to harm itself via gross ignorance and shameful bigotry. The Republican party is facing extinction in the very near future. Nobody will miss the ignorant obstructionists!

    November 26, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  16. rs

    Bad web site OR Treason

    Really? Which one is worse?

    November 26, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  17. neokat1

    Get rid of Obama and every single inmoral law he propposed, supported or passed.. Erase all that garbage.

    November 26, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  18. Beverly

    Is that the same poll used to predict Romney would win the last presidential election?!

    November 26, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  19. Brian in DC

    The ones that are hurt the most by Obama are most likely his most ardent supporters.

    November 26, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  20. Name

    Well, of course the teeter-totter shifted. The media has to keep the drama going, even if drumming up one crisis after another keeps people anxious and worried. CNN has given up on any actual practice journalism and becomes more like an online inflammatory gossip rag every day.

    November 26, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  21. Rozzie

    Wake uip, Repug-Groupeez! I have Obamacare – got on website right away – even inludes my dental! Stop lying!
    Start using your brains!Stop watching Faux entertainment!

    November 26, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  22. obawendon

    It will definitely be a huge problem if the GOP get's into control again. Watch out for the whack jobs like Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and the other tea party idiots. We will become a country of only rich and poor.

    November 26, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  23. Itsonlyme

    It's a year to the election. Polls are utterly meaningless right now. Either party could implode by then.

    November 26, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  24. Imminent

    Invalid article. The GOP has an edge over a dismal percentage over its biggest rival. This next election is poised to be spun around any political party that is NOT Republican or Democrat. Just be honest CNN. It only makes you look like buffoons when you placate to GOP spun articles for their money.

    November 26, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  25. neokat1

    Good bye Obama!!!

    November 26, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
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