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. just myself

    YAY! There is still a chance in my generation!

    November 26, 2013 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  2. Marguerite

    Oh dear! Maybe the Dems want to rethink that filibuster restriction...

    November 26, 2013 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  3. rd704

    For the good of the country we better "hope" the demos lose.

    November 26, 2013 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  4. tinkansas

    Don't worry democrats the Tea Party will shut the government down in Feb. again because they believe that because Obama lied they can do no wrong.

    November 26, 2013 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  5. iwatsu

    What goes up, will come down. TParty candidates are DOA.

    November 26, 2013 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  6. king

    Obama give up healthcare, let the people suffer with big insurance companies antics, you tried and the people killed it before it came out of the gate. i said all along that the power of the repubs propaganda machine, coupled with the dems wishy washy behavior was a doom scenario from the get go. the repubs get in line no matter what the damage to our country is, but the wishy washy dems will jump ship as soon as anything goes wrong especially in this
    massive overtaken of healthcare. Obama go ahead and give the people what they want, kill healthcare so that the gullible feels good and millions of sick folks dies, i see another 2010 around the corner, if you dont go along with the repubs defending big insurance companies. i am tired of these whiny Americans who doesn't want change, they just want the status quo of big insurance companies sending them to the poor house

    November 26, 2013 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  7. cedaly1968

    I am trying to figure out how to vote for a good GOP candidate. The problem is the same, let's give tax breaks to the people who control 60% of the wealth and it will trickle down. I have not noticed any trickle down from the 25% increase in the market this year. Instead, what you get from a GOP House is more gridlock. 20-30 more attempts to end Obamacare and 20-30 more vetoes. A senate that won't pass the attempts. It is the great misfortune of our time that the gerrymandering of Congressional districts by both parties has led to the stark polarization in our politics that leaves only one option for progress, one party must hold the Executive and the Congress with a majority. A dangerous proposition either way.

    November 26, 2013 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  8. Government Waste Rules

    CNN please remove this article immediately, it does not conform to White House hopey changey standards.

    November 26, 2013 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  9. Name

    Give the polls 6 weeks and it will look totally different. Repubs are a mess and that won't change. They hate women, immigrants, elderly, poor and minorities.

    November 26, 2013 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  10. Debbie from Pa.

    Don't worry Democrats. When the Republicans shut down the government again in a few months, your advantage percentage will rise. If the Republicans cared about the people, they would be working on a better healthcare plan or a fix for Obamacare. They don't care about anyone but the rich. Wake up voters!

    November 26, 2013 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  11. Themoderatethinker

    Where is Candy Crowley when you need her

    November 26, 2013 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  12. Dan

    What drives me wild is the level of this national conversation; I would put it about fourth grade. Why can't I get political arguments that matter, or are in the very least intelligent? I have to listen to Harvard trained lawyers talk like dummies to get votes from dummies. Either Ted Cruz is the biggest idiot this side of the Rio Grande, or he thinks we are. This stuff is elementary and I have to sit watch the nation swallow it because they are at a lower educational level. If you but any of these arguments, you can be easily fooled. Just stop it; stay home next November. The country can hardly take it when this party holds less seats.

    November 26, 2013 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  13. Jeremy

    You voted for it, pulled the lever with your blindfold on just because there was a "D" next to there name. You continue to believe the lies the media tell you everyday about the Tea Party, racism, your insurance, immigration and yet keep showing up at the polls pulling the lever. I would say stay in NY, IL, CA but too late, you are leaving in droves, coming to the red states with your broken politics and broken dreams with the same stupid ideas that drove you out of there to begin with to start the party over again with your stupid ideas, your higher taxes and wishes for bigger government. It's your cake, friggin eat it, just at least have the chutzpah to stay in the land of the 16 oz soda and keep you stupid politics with you. You made your bed, now either lie in it or change it. In the mean time, for the rest of us, arm up and be ready, the tree of liberty is thirsty.

    November 26, 2013 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  14. Zeus

    America sucks. I'm never going back. Love, an expat. (I didn't live it so I left.)

    November 26, 2013 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  15. notfooled2

    Do you suppose people really don't like redistribution of their wealth, take more from those that pay taxes and give it to those that don't. Surprise, surprise!. That's what B0care is a new tax.

    November 26, 2013 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  16. Rufus

    Its only the beginning...first the house, then the senate..and finally the white house.

    November 26, 2013 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  17. Don Bowler

    All they need now is an unidentifiable generic candidate and they'ren good to go!#genericrepublican2014

    November 26, 2013 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  18. Dave in Houston

    The pendulum swings back to the right.

    November 26, 2013 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  19. TeaBagger

    The GOP will screw it up by election day, they always do.

    November 26, 2013 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  20. grady

    duh, do ya think?

    November 26, 2013 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  21. The Brutal Truth

    This is what happens when Government tries to "fix" something that works for 90% of all Americans...

    Obamacare needs to be repealed!

    November 26, 2013 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  22. Matthew

    It maybe just different results from the Surveys. I doubt Democrafts had that much of a lead last month and I doubt Republicans have made that much of a gain this month. Who do you survey is the real question.

    November 26, 2013 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  23. josh stone

    of course they have the advantage, the american people are finally waking up from the obama high.The obamacare disaster all the corruption in the govt. the jobs that never came, high taxes, and now throwing all of our allies under the bus with the Iran nuclear deal. obama and the liberals are gone in 2014 that's a fact, cause without the house and senate obama is helpless.obama has done more damage to the liberals than all the republicans presidents combined.so after obama, liberalism is dead and maybe the country can be a normal country again.

    November 26, 2013 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  24. The Truth Hurts

    My, my my, liberals – what a difference six weeks and the actual truth coming out make, huh?

    November 26, 2013 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  25. Dante

    If you vote for GOP again you deserve another bush 2.0. Shut downs and debate about woman's privates is a level of stupidity that is deserving another recession and a war with all its debt and human losses.

    Shame on you if your memory is so poor that your hatred for Mr Kenyan has blinded you. Better the evil you know then the crazy you left behind.

    November 26, 2013 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
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