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. Flagship, NC

    Let the ACA go into effect. Its like voting on the best looking house on the block when the house your building is still being framed in and under construction. People need to chill!

    November 26, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  2. jorge washinsen

    I always imagine a smug assed Democrat sitting back gloating in their power of censorship while the house crumbles around them.

    November 26, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  3. IMeanReally

    Heheheheheheheeeee...and the pendulum swings. It ALWAYS does.

    November 26, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. Pastafarian

    Am I the only one left who plans to wait until 2014 to decide who I will vote for in 2014, and for what reasons. Over the long term I've tended to identify as a Democrat, but I've also been able to put my biases aside and cross party lines when I thought that a particular candidate and/or the issues of the day warranted it, not always right but always without regret. Even with the current uproar surrounding the Obamacare rollout I am still not impressed enough with the GOP's current leadership to see myself voting Republican, but that could certainly change. If you told me in the mid to late 1970's that I would vote Republican in the 1980 presidential election I would have thought you were full of it, and if you went on to say that the candidate in question would be the former B-Movie actor from "Bedtime for Bonzo," I would've judged you insane.

    November 26, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  5. southerngent

    Anonymous is is already in effect and millions are being screwed by obamacare with millions more coming. If you are not one yet you will be!

    November 26, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  6. dd

    The GOP rallying cry will be very simple: DEMOCRATS ARE LIARS. And the Democrats can't debate that fact. Sure, they will spin some more lies to prove that their lies were only spins of half truths. And the people will then say: DEMOCRATS ARE LIARS. The people may actually start demanding that Democrat campaign contributions be taxed at the 80% rate in order to pay for fixes to the Obamacare Lies. Or, since Obamacare crosses state lines, maybe the people will demand that RICO laws be used to prosecute Obama and the Democrat Senate.

    November 26, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    @Dave

    "Batrix",

    The government shut down is all on Obama a d Reid. Anyone paying attention now understand this. It was their refusal to negotiate just the MANDATE implementation schedule with the Republicans which forced the shut down.
    -------------------
    As usual you're delusional. The Tea Party radicals wanted the shutdown all along. THEY used an existing law to hold America hostage. You can apply the Fox News spin all you want but facts are facts. The shutdown was a Republican idea and nobody "forced" the shutdown but those who planned it all along.

    November 26, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  8. Norma Vessels

    The Republicans in Congress have literally bragged about how they were going to do everything in their power to bring down our President, their President. Yet, people still vote them back into office over and over again, and they keep getting worse, and the people still vote them back in .. and the horror story goes on and on.

    November 26, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  9. TONE

    @Southergent
    You must be a new comer you have not earned your stripes on this blog yet so zip it.

    November 26, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Donna

    Even the New York Times and David Axelrod have come out and admiited that one of the primary goals of Obama was the redistribution of wealth.
    ----------------------
    NICE TRY. The goal has been to affect the "redistribution of wealth" from the middle class to the wealthy. They are opposed to the right wing's "war on the middle class". If you knew any history, then you would know that the Republicans Party was established for the express purpose of serving the interest of wealthy capitalists.

    November 26, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  11. Badly-Bent

    Sounds to me like it WAS NOT a random selction.

    November 26, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  12. Michael

    I don't believe it. Over my dead body will the GOP ever run America again.

    November 26, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  13. Bubba

    The GOP has always been effective in spinning their Hate into Political Success. However, time is not on their side, and Obamacare has time to get fixed before Hillary takes the White House.

    November 26, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  14. Ron B

    The way the GOP behaves, they will go down in flames in 2014. Republicans will lose five Senate seats and the Democrats will regain a majority in the House. The ACA will be embraced by the American people by 2014. Then the country will be able to make progress on legislation so desperately needed. Immigration reform, Social Security reform, tax reform. Then by 2016, the Democrats will win the White House. Clinton/Warren sounds like a winning ticket.

    November 26, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  15. Jeanie Beanie

    I fail to understand how blame for the cancellation of millions of policies is placed fully and squarely on Obama's shoulders. Where is the insurance industries' culpability? Where is the outrage against them?

    November 26, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  16. karlmarxism

    Well, you can anticipate a 1-2 point drop for the demos for each month leading up to the midterms. I'll let the rest of you do the math. You think Nancy may get the boot this time?

    November 26, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  17. simplyput

    We should be able to repeal a law whose name *AFFORDABLE* Care Act is in itself another lie. Hope it goes down in flames, because even people who have been covered up until now under ACA can't afford it anymore. It's the economy, stupid, and lies, lies, lies.

    November 26, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  18. my10cents

    Typical myopic reaction from a general population that lacks any form of immediate gratification self-control. If it isn't immediately perfect then upset the cart because that has to make it better. The 2010 mid-terms created a completely dysfunctional government because the Tea Party was able to foment a toxic environment that created scapegoats of people with real plans and ideas. So now because the ACA rollout hasn't been "perfect" the fools are going to do it all over again. People you can't pass judgment on a program that hasn't even really begun. There isn't enough history or data to determine if it truly doesn't work. Beyond the immediate limited facts the information to date is mostly hyperbole and innuendo. The US has one party that really cares about the people and is taking on a tremendous responsibility to create a better country for everyone and the other party has for the last 6+ years only demonized, criticized, and obstructed. If you can't which party is which then perhaps you will get what you deserve.

    November 26, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  19. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    At the end of the day, politics makes hypocrites of all those who partake. At the end of the day, we will have the same old problems, because as this article implies, we only care about the next election instead of solutions.

    November 26, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  20. SpgfldTom

    How could this be? Do you think that following the strategy of a second string Chicago politican, that has destroyed the black middle class, mired the nation in 7.5% unemployment, threatens to wipe out the best healthcare system in the world and dreams of granting amnesty to 11 million criminals have anything to do with it? FYI only Democrats voted for ObamaCare ("we need to pass it so we can find out what's in" .... Nancy Pelosi).

    November 26, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  21. mucklucky

    Too bad the TEA party was not included in the poll. In fact, if a cast of imaginary characters had been included... they probably would have swept the race! Vote for Mickey Mouse & Donald Duck. They cannot be any worse.

    November 26, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  22. Dr. Cole

    Wait...isn't it still Bush's fault???

    November 26, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  23. Misterwire

    Republicans are the devil that we know and are better than the ones we do not know. For what this current administration has done to Israel, they will never get my vote again. How in the world did they give Iran the green light to enrich their uranium! Why! Now, it is going to be nuclear arms race in the Middle East again!!!! God will surely come down to protect Israel this time and I pray for Benjamin N to remain strong and fear not.

    November 26, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  24. Anthony

    If your child told you they were putting all of their savings on red and you told them not to would you be a parent of no? Our social programs are all about waste. Obama's campaign promise in 2008 was to reduce the Medicare fraud estimated at 20%. He did not do this. He said he would reduce the debt- he did not do this. The tea party is about reducing debt, fiscal responsibility and this is for the future of our kids. Please do not rely on NBC or any network. Do our homework, keep an open mind, work together to reverse this mess. The traditional Democrats and Republicans are for paying off friends. This must stop. We need to work together to do things that make sense or our kids will have major costs to pay for our mistakes.

    November 26, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  25. keeth

    And 2 months ago, the Dems had the edge. Now the GOP does. And then in 2 months, the Dems will have the edge again, and then the GOP, ad nauseam, ad infinitum. When the majority of conservatives in Louisiana think that Obama was responsible for the government's inept Hurricane Katrina response, you just can't see polls as being true about anything anymore.

    November 26, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
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