November 26th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
8 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. yolanda

    @Laura Bush Killed MDD, your header says it all. Zero class and no interest in anything other than continuing to divide and stir the pot. Congratulations, you are succeeding. Unfortunately, it is at expense of the country. Happy Thanksgiving.

    November 26, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    There are those who say ObamaCare is a socialist manifestation of the administration's wealth redistribution welfare plans and that it is a perversion of the tax code to do so..... Do they realize that the Military Industrial Complex, Big Oil, Big Auto, Big Pharma tax loops, grants and support is corporate welfare which is exponentially more expensive than the other type or welfare? They sit ranting against helping the middle class and root for corporate and military expenditures who care nothing about them and who's function is to make war. Good grief.

    November 26, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  3. Carol

    Too bad for the country. The GOP will take it down.

    November 26, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  4. southerngent

    Tone
    Bs none of those you reported as giving facts quoted sources, granted a poll based on these numbers is useless.

    November 26, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  5. Carol

    Dave: The Republicans caused the shutdown. You have been brainwashed.

    November 26, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  6. just saying

    Nodack
    Democrats are doomed and a month before that Republicans were doomed and a month before that Democrats were doomed and a moth before that Republicans were doomed.
    Each side takes turns screwing up and America takes a poll to see who they hate worse every month.
    --

    not really.... only the democrats lied to all of us and brought the obamacare disaster upon all americans. and the worse shoe is yet to fall as tens of millions of americans with employer based healthcare lose their coverage as well. this disaster will be going on all through 2014 and there is no way for the demorcats to escape owning it. not a single republican voted for it and every democrat did vote for it, then lied to us all. no escaping that reality and those facts. it is all on video tape.

    November 26, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  7. Carol

    The right wing is destroying the country. These radicals are a pestilence feeding on ignorance and cynicism, preying on fear.

    November 26, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  8. simplyput

    How funny, a simply put simply pro-conservative comment, and the censors are already at work! Like I said, the only vote of my life went to put Obama in office. Republicans are broke...no more cash from my pocket, libs. Future votes will go conservative in this house.

    November 26, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  9. frank

    why would anyone vote Dems? ignorance, stupidity, partisanship.....all of the above

    November 26, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  10. George

    I can see the future and the republicans will be put out in a major way almost landslide victory for the Dems. but there will be a few repub that keep their jobs. Even the teaparty will be shocked at the total rebuke.

    November 26, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  11. Joshuab

    Obama is the reason for all problems currently with the government. He can no longer blame Bush for anything. He has been president for 6yrs...all on Obama now

    November 26, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  12. lvsingleton

    Just imagine the results when Obamacare continues to fail over and over and over again.

    November 26, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  13. Me

    JoeB

    I find it ironic that some people on this board are blaming congress. Remember that Obama had the majority the first two years in both houses and only completed ACA in the wrong way I might add. Let's put the blame where it really belongs, it belongs with Obama, Reid and pelosi. Everytime the house has passed a bill, the senate has killed the bills. That is controlled by dems and if it passes the senate, our loser president threatened to veto the bill.
    ______________
    This is the ABSOLUTE TRUTH!!!! But Dems don't want you to realize this because all they have is blaming Congress for their failures!!!

    November 26, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  14. Reality Check

    American's a re a really fickle bunch. If they don't like the pace they are moving they will turn around and move in the opposite direction. You don't like Obamacare, here we'll fix that by not making any promises that you will have any coverage ever - you're pre-existing condition, sorry that's bad for business. Ever notice how the GOP may attack Obama for use of drones but none has ever seriously said they would stop. That pledge to stop drone - right up there with the pledge sign the ERA. Repeal the Patriot Act? Are you joking, "patriot" is in the title. How can that be bad.

    November 26, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  15. Keith

    The next shutdown in January will swing it again. Have no fear.

    November 26, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  16. Ranch.

    Fight the right.

    November 26, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  17. Willly Nilly

    The Republicans have long had the opportunity to work toward creating a working health care program for Americans. But they preferred to fight everything put before them, even the ideas they had previously proposed. They have staked their collective reputations on obstruction. If there are problems with the ACA they should be working for the people... the people who are expecting to get a working health care program. The website problems are separate from the ACA itself. That problem is due to an incompetent contractor who should return every cent of taxpayer dollars they have received and be barred from all future government contracts. They failed to provide a working product and despite blaming everyone else, they got the money.

    November 26, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  18. Tim Jordan

    A year is an eternity in politics. Obama's staff completely hosed the ACA rollout, but if things become workable and the GOP does another government shutdown again in a couple of months the tide could turn again.

    November 26, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  19. spudnik56

    What crap...the US is sooo tired of the tiny monded rhetoric of the GOP...Their ideology is set in the 15th century.

    November 26, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Let the ACA go into effect? The repubs agreed to this? It was already the law of the land.

    November 26, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  21. abbot

    @Carol: Let do a quick profile on you. Fat, white, middle aged woman who loves Obama because of the promise of free contraceptives.

    November 26, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  22. Tom

    Obamacare is collapsing because the people are rejecting it.

    November 26, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  23. godhelpamerica

    Americans are the least informed most ignorant people on earth so these poll numbers are no surprise.

    November 26, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  24. jorge washinsen

    Republicans should let Obama Care take its on way just as nature does. Do not even mention it again,except require Congress to go full into its bottomless pit with the peons.

    November 26, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  25. Fact

    We all agree that the Health care system in USA is totally hijacked by these private organizations (Hospitals, Insurance company and Parma) from people and demanding huge ransom to participate.

    Democrats are trying something, though it is not a perfect solution, shows they are lacking smart heads. Republicans don't have any idea and opens doubts of existence of their basic brain. Both parties are holding bottomless wallet and primarily interested only in receiving endless donations and generous lobby.

    Time for both parties need to hunt for smart heads and get rid of their bottomless wallet, to save Health care system and USA.

    November 26, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
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