November 26th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
1 year 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. KC Yankee

    The brilliance of the American public on shining display once again.

    November 26, 2013 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  2. bill Davis

    Nancy Harry and Obama did it, but then who cares. We can spend our way our of debt, is we defer long enough.

    November 26, 2013 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  3. mercfan

    The GOP holds the advantage now because of the flaws with the AHA website roll out and complaints by people having to give up their crappy healthcare plans.. Covering those uninsured people doesn't start until January, so they can let those people keep their crappy plans that do not pay very much for hospital and surgery costs if they want.

    Early next year there are two more budget battles Congress will have to deal with, so it could very easily be back to the October poll results by then. Republicans were on the Sunday news shows talking about scraping AHA and rewriting their own healthcare based on tort reform to bring down costs. This is something they have been talking about for decades. But lower hospital costs are already being realized, that was one provision in the AHA that is already working.

    November 26, 2013 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  4. Jim

    WOW it's getting so difficult to feel bad for people anymore in America, it's just infuriating I live here and have to bear witness to this endless sabotage and obstruction, refusal to get anything done just to make the president look bad, only to be rewarded the next election cycle for their antics! I truly hope the baby boomers will reap what they sow, I'm sick of paying for their ignorance!

    November 26, 2013 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  5. mike in NH

    The Dems are is real trouble in purple states. Time for Scott Brown to commit and move to his summer home in NH and unseat Shaheen.

    November 26, 2013 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  6. thecheese

    "Generic comment opposing article viewpoint, resulting in a long argument"

    November 26, 2013 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  7. Joe

    So sad. "lose edge"?? It should be 99% against the Democrats based on the current administration. People deserve what they get. The republic is lost.

    November 26, 2013 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  8. HarvardLaw92

    Somebody remind me again why they are pushing polling about an election that is still a year away??

    November 26, 2013 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  9. Alex B

    This is the first good news we have had Ina while for our country. 2014 is take back the country year

    November 26, 2013 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  10. Sunflower

    Let's everyone calm down and take a collective deep breath. We've all seen this before. Unfortunately the GOP often resembles Nebraska football...get to the goal line and fumble. Should be entertaining to see what happens next.

    November 26, 2013 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  11. JjkName

    All these kinds of polls show is that the American public is very fickle and prone to major mood swings with an incredibly short
    Term memory! This will no doubt reinforce the destructive strategy of the Republican Party to destroy the ACA without offering any substantive productive alternative! However IMHO Dems should keep moving forward fixing the ACA implementation issues and by November the tables will have turned and the majority of the public will understand how important this legislation is to fixing the cost curves of health care expense growth and also providing support for tens of millions of fellow citizens

    November 26, 2013 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  12. Ian

    Plenty of time till 2014. We just need to wait for the GOP to open their mouths again. Budget talks are just around the corner...again. I'm sure the GOP will put their feet in their mouth sooner vs later.

    November 26, 2013 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  13. No Way

    Complete farce. Nobody has forgotten the Republican tantrum and government shutdown. Let's finish 'em off in 2014.

    November 26, 2013 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  14. Tommy

    The Democrats will bounce back and will come out slightly ahead in the 2014 mid-terms.

    November 26, 2013 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  15. Odo

    Unbelievable...the freaking neanderthals who are against women, gays, minorities, the working man and anyone not already wealthy are in the lead!?!?!?!?!? SMH

    November 26, 2013 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  16. Alan S.

    The dysfunction of Congress and finger pointing by both sides has gotten old. Americans who don't have a clue to what's the real picture due to lies and dispection on the part of both parties swing back and forth with approval depending on which political party can lie better than the other. Not only does every member of both houses of Congress need to be replaced but most belong in prison for violating a mulitude of laws.

    November 26, 2013 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  17. Dean

    A month ago CNN said republicans shut down the government to delay Obamacare would kill the party. Now the democrats even want to delay Obamacare. Where are all those genius on CNN that were claiming doom and gloom for republicans a month ago.

    November 26, 2013 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  18. Daws

    A...year from now....slow news day? Cut the time on the fluff and spend more on real journalism...

    November 26, 2013 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  19. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    You guys love these polls. Poll me to see how I feel about the the House GOP shutting down the government and almost defaulting on our debt. I find that WAY more serious than some glitch on a website.

    November 26, 2013 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  20. JoMama

    Not to mention the lies, deception, and arm twisting to ram this bill through 3 years ago without one vote from Republicans. You liberals reap what you sow and you have sown one awful mess.

    November 26, 2013 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  21. danicook

    Seriously, you'd think that after a while low income people would figure out that voting for democrats do *nothing* for them. They are still several generations deep in poverty. Teaching handouts over hard work never pays and unfortunately minorities are trapped on government plantations with nothing to show for their votes.

    November 26, 2013 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  22. jinx9to88

    GOP accomplished absolutely nothing the last 5 years and CNN says they are leading in the polls for 2014? CNN must poll the same demographics every week. CNN should try to poll people outside the red states.

    November 26, 2013 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  23. callmecrazy

    This poll is proof that propaganda works, but let's not forget that we have another budget battle and debt ceiling coming up. Republicans can't help themselves and will remind us how obstructive they are.

    November 26, 2013 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  24. jack

    The end of civilization as we know it will happen if we let the Republicans win congress. Do more of nothing, say no to everything, and live in the past. Minimum wage will never be raised and workers will be stuck in poverty while the rich CEO's rake in huge profits and bonuses...........

    November 26, 2013 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  25. Dave - Phx

    and next week it will be different again...no news here

    November 26, 2013 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
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