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. LOL

    I would rather vote for a party that actually makes moves towards fixing our broken system, than those that sit around waiting for the president to fail.

    November 26, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  2. David

    @ JimmyCarterSaysYes...hahaha GWB approval rating was never 10% and it was never 98% either. it was 25% at its lowest point and 90% at its highest.

    Obama approval rating right now is at the same point GWB was at this point in his presidency.

    November 26, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  3. thinker

    What a great gift at Thanksgiving time!

    November 26, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  4. BB

    In the last 100+ years we've had total GOP Control 3 times:
    1. The 12 years leading up to the Great Depression.
    2. 2 years in the mid 50's that brought us the GOP Communist Witch Hunt.
    3. The 6 years – 12 for Congress – leading up to this Great Recession.

    November 26, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  5. shellacback

    Republicans, gleeful as they are at the botched Obamacare rollout, will be in trouble if they put all their eggs in the "repeal" basket. In 2014, we'll start seeing stories about real people whose lives have been saved by this program. Young women especially will be drawn to Obamacare. Public sentiment will shift from "repeal" to addressing costs, which is a legitimate criticism. The party with that plan will be golden. Unfortunately for Republicans, the best plans for addressing costs right now are the liberal proposals of single-payer or public option. Just saying "repeal" won't cut it in 2014.

    November 26, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  6. haydenyates

    That's all rubbish...and you all know it. CNN is nothing more than the extension of a right wing political agenda, more subtle and coercive, and certainly corrosive to our state of the Union and democracy.

    November 26, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  7. Jimmy Choy

    The Republican Part is mainly made up of a declining old white man's party.

    November 26, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  8. El Warbo Grande

    The only thing that surprises me here, is that there are still some people drinking the kool-aid. A lot of people are still going to suffer due to Obamacare and it's not the 1%. Obama has claimed again and again that he is all about the middle class, yet he has gone to great lengths to ensure they have fewer and less adequate jobs, higher expenses and altogether less hope for the future.

    What also surprises me from reading over these comments is that some people still blame Republicans for the shutdown, even though we can see now that it clearly wasn't their fault. Had Democrats agreed to delaying the mandate at the outset (which NOW they agree needs to be done) the shutdown could have been avoided. Democrats always seem to forget it takes total disagreement to cause a shut-down and it it takes two to totally disagree. But in this case, one had the right idea and the other refused to compromise. The white house is now scrambling to do what they should've done in the first place, but only now after a great deal of damage has been done.

    November 26, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  9. Tampa Tim

    The GOP will shut the government down in January, and try to cause default. The last republican shutdown cost over $24 billion, and this next one will be worse. When he party of war imposes deeper sanctions on Iran, instead of letting diplomacy go forward, the GOP will once again be rejected. Obstruction will not win in 2014.

    November 26, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  10. Scott

    "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."

    Interesting they didn't mention WHY the republicans picked up 63 seats in the house that election.... I think it had something to do with some democrat coming up with some crazy healthcare idea (and in that case, it didn't even become law.........)

    The next election is going to be a bloodbath for the democrats. They're going to get the Senate, a stronger majority in the house and for two years they will try to repeal O-care and obama will veto their attempts... making the repeal of o-care THE issue in the next presidential election, causing a republican landslide.

    November 26, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  11. Andrew

    The lesson for government and business?... Your website doesn't just supplement your product, for all intents and purposes it IS your product.

    November 26, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  12. Silence DoGood

    @Rancher721 "The harder you work, the luckier you get."

    Glad you got yours – forget everyone else, right? That conservative mantra is getting pretty old. Life is not a Disney movie for the rest of us.

    I worked hard and my friends have worked hard, and I have seen corporations kick them to the ground and insurance companies drop good people for technicalities. That is not lucky. We have trusted the Corporations way too long.

    November 26, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  13. Joe A

    If the GOP comes out with a solution as 100 million people lose their health coverage, the 2% lead will be 20! Wake up GOP!!

    November 26, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  14. Tampa Tim

    80 Republicans sent a letter to Boehner demanding a shut down of government. Republicans voted to shut down the government and cheered when they did it. Michele Bachmann went on a Fox and reported that was exactly what they wanted. Now the brain dead blame Obama. Wait until January to see the next example of republican stupidity.

    November 26, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  15. haydenyates

    CNN...an extension of right wing interests trying to undermine our State of the Union, simply because it doesn't suit their agenda of destroying our government. This is certainly looking like we are fighting an internal war to save this great democracy of ours from right wing Tea Partyers and religious extremists...

    November 26, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  16. southerngent

    To all you liberals who keep posting about republicans being only for the rich, at what point does rich begin?

    How much do you want to take from them, 50% 90%.

    The president is reported to be worth 20m., how much should YOU take from him?

    Do really think he will give you that much?

    I do think he cares for his daughters and will do what he can to ensure their future.

    November 26, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  17. cosciousness

    The Main Stream media convinced the public to borrow an additional seven trillion dollars to implement the Presidents plan. The money has been spent and the results are in. We are seven trillion dollars deeper in debt.

    November 26, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  18. El Warbo Grande

    I'd also like to pose the question: What do you suppose would have happened if Republicans hadn't voted at the last minute to give in and save America from default? Do you think Democrats would have given in to Republicans? Obviously not. They would have willingly and happily gone into default to keep their disaster of a law on the books. Yet some Democrats are convinced that Republicans hate Obamacare more than they love America. Wouldn't they have to concede by that same logic that Democrats LOVE Obamacare more than they love America?

    In the end, remember who was willing to default and who wasn't.

    November 26, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  19. Andy M

    (A) We have the attention span of coked-up squirrels. This will be forgotten by time next November rolls around.

    (B) A website that is clunky at the start, and ginned-up "controversy" over cancellations where, contrary to what the insurance company tells you when trying to sell you overpriced packages, you can get much cheaper and better coverage on the exchanges, will be recognized, in hindsight, as a lot of ado over very little.

    None of this stuff has any staying power.

    November 26, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Yet at one point he decided to take pride in the name as an effort to disarm the Republican term. Now he has chosen to own it...

    ...or did. Now he's calling it the Affordable Care Act.

    If the man who orchestrated the thing is distancing himself from it, be concerned
    -------------------------------------------------
    Hey genius, when you poll folks and ask them how they feel about Obamacare and they say they hate it, but when asked how they feel about the Affordable Care Act they say they support it, it would then behoove the President to refer to it in the way that it will be most positively received by low-information listeners such as yourself.
    Obamacare IS the Affordable Care Act. Pass it on.
    It is the law and it will remain the law.
    Tweak away all you want to improve it. We're all for that, but the law will not be revoked. It is here to stay .
    And I say Amen to that.

    November 26, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  21. Don DaMiddle

    Let me get this straight. The GOP plans to win the 2014 elections
    by opposing the ACA solution Romney created to resolve Reagan's UNFUNDED "EMTALA Care" crisis...
    which was created to resolve David Stockman's "Patient Dumping" crisis?
    Yep... Healthcare is a real "political strength" for the GOP in 2014. (LOL) Go for it!

    November 26, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  22. Steve

    VERY TRUE: I have actually posted similar things many times about the GOP. People don't realize how rich the rich really are. 93% of this nations wealth is held by the top 20% that hold everyone else down. The rest of us 80% live on 7% of this nations income. It's amazing that people are so blind. Our government is bought and paid for.

    In the last 100+ years we've had total GOP Control 3 times:
    1. The 12 years leading up to the Great Depression.
    2. 2 years in the mid 50's that brought us the GOP Communist Witch Hunt.
    3. The 6 years – 12 for Congress – leading up to this Great Recession.

    November 26, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  23. cchavis

    Who does those polls? I am 64, voting since 18 and has never taken a poll. But according to the polls in 2012 some other guy was going to be president. And I bet those polls were not taken in any states that voted for President Obama because his percentage is still high.

    November 26, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  24. Alan

    The only "ability" the Republicans have, is picking on the Democrats. The Republicans have no answers of their own, so they spend each day trying to destroy Obama.

    November 26, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  25. Abbey

    When the cancellations hit in the millions no amount of DNC propaganda is going to save the party in 2014.

    November 26, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
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