November 26th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
12 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. Tampa Tim

    Now might be a good time for CNN to stop with the negative stories about ACA, start telling the positives ( like Boehner's sign up and his rates ), and begin pointing out that Obama's efforts at avoiding World War 3 are a tremendous first step.

    November 26, 2013 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  2. NameFrank Deery

    The Democrats have themselves to blame for
    ramming a convoluted Health Care plan through Congress and, then, never explaining
    it to the public or, obviously, the tech people who were responsible for the website.

    November 26, 2013 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  3. Jeremy

    Just wait folks. This will be a game changer for the first term of the next President. Republican majority in the House, Senate, and President. You will notice things will start to get accomplished.

    November 26, 2013 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  4. ed

    Frankly I can't believe it's that close. The liberals LIED people. They conspired to take away your health insurance and FORCE you into Govt controlled socialized health care. They ADMITTED IT in interviews. They knew that young health people would never sign up unless they forced you to do it. They need you to pay for all the sick and old. And you idiots are STILL going to vote for liberals in 2014? I would say you deserve what you get but my kids will suffer for your lunacy! VOTE THEM OUT! Every last liberal!

    November 26, 2013 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  5. zelskid

    Obamacare has destroyed Democrats prospects for 2014

    November 26, 2013 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  6. OrmondGeorge

    Wait 5 minutes, there will be another poll
    It wiull mean just as much – more – or – less than this one.

    When voters are faced with a choice between (Republican) obstructionism or (Democratic) intention, I'm thinking THE MAJORITY will want to try and build a better America for ALL Americans, not tear down what little is left to build better mansions for the 1%

    November 26, 2013 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  7. amazed

    Yes just let Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin and the anti-Christian party of selfishness, guns and hording wealth take total control and watch what happens. God help us if that actually takes place.

    November 26, 2013 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  8. Tampa Tim

    Fortunately, the election is not today. More and more people are finding out that some media has been sensationalizing lies about ACA, and are becoming aware that the same media apparently thinks a war with Iran is good. In 3 months, we will see the that the Republican Party is a bigger disaster than Krakatoa.

    November 26, 2013 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  9. Penarrow

    Well...we will see about these polls, I can't imagine that the majority of American people really believe the Republican Party has their best interest in mind.

    November 26, 2013 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  10. pk

    If this is the case, then the GOP needs to put their big boy pants on and come up with a PLAN, instead of their usual tantrums and chaos within the ranks. My status is now Independant, but if I had to choose, I'd go with the Dems. Someone has to be the grown-up...

    November 26, 2013 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  11. Tron

    Yeah....who didn't see that coming?

    November 26, 2013 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  12. zeb Minas

    A "generic poll" matters *ONLY* for a Presidential election. Why do pollsters bother with this stuff? Even they acknowledge that generic polls are not indicator because there are 435 distinct races for the House.

    November 26, 2013 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  13. mike Lake Orion Michigan

    Being an Independent and after seeing what Obama has done to this Country I will never vote Democrat again! The Democrats want to take my hard work and redistribute it to the lazy!

    November 26, 2013 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  14. Tampa Tim

    You do realize that Obama care will help 45 million get insurance don't you? The republican plan allows 1.5 million keep their worthless junk policies, get kicked off that if they get sick, and caps their benefits. Also, in January, the GOP will shut down the government again, so things will change.

    November 26, 2013 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  15. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    People would have to be crazy to vote for the GOP to control the house, just look at their incompetent behavior over the last five years , no jobs bills no healthcare no farm bill, they are just a total failure, and then there's the shutdown and the GOP loss of 34 billion dallars in 16 days, vote dem.

    November 26, 2013 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  16. lauradet

    "The 'generic ballot' question is not necessarily a good predictor of the actual outcome of 435 separate elections."

    End of story.

    November 26, 2013 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  17. pokydoke

    Never under estimate the ignorance of the U.S. voter.

    November 26, 2013 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  18. krehator

    Oh no Conspiracy nuts..... An artcle from CNN favoring the GOP? I thought this was impossible?

    Gee I wonder if we ever see this type of stuff at Fox?

    November 26, 2013 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  19. John

    Poor people have been voting democrate for the past 50 years and they are still poor.

    November 26, 2013 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  20. Bill

    Ted Cruz: “There are consequences when politicians put in place laws that hurt millions of people.”

    November 26, 2013 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  21. Windy Day

    Give it time. I have great confidence in the GOP's ability to shoot themselves in the foot again. Just they like they did throughout the 2012 election cycle and last Summer's legislative session. The voting population has shifted and conservative politics will not dominate again for a very long time.

    November 26, 2013 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  22. Goodbye G.O.P!

    America isn't that stupid. Or is it?

    November 26, 2013 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  23. ocha

    Obama is a single man who error not just the democrats . I vote dem and not gop its a better deal in the long run

    November 26, 2013 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  24. asdf

    With the gigantic hit in popularity it begs the question why didn't Obama go with single payer anyway (too busy negotiating with himself)? I guess he had to hook up his insurance buddies for their big campaign donations.

    November 26, 2013 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  25. retgooe

    Like it or not, it is very common than large IT systems never meet their initial deadline unless they are forced to, in which case it will be loaded with bugs – corporate manaement mentality! Having been in the field for 30 years this is a common scenario. Obama, by the way, wasn't the IT director on this project, so don't balme him for the IT screw-ups! At least thedevelopers get an "A" for effort in trying to do some good for the American pople. However for those who s think the GOP choice is better, how easily you forgot how the GOP intentionally screwed up our government in Congress costing us Americans $26 billion wasted tax dollars. I definitely question your cognitive capabilities to vote if you think the Obamacare IT mess is worse than GOP idiots voting to stop our Congressional proceedings at a $26 billion expense.

    November 26, 2013 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
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