November 26th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
5 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. Rudy NYC

    Okay, America. You vote out the Democrats, giving Republicans control of both Chambers of Congress. They vote to repeal, or drastically revise, the Affordable Care Act. Everyone's happy until voters realize they just screwed themselves. The insurance industry has just been deregulated. Instead of imaginary death panels, people are faced with the realities of the boardroom.

    People who had health insurance are being driopped because they get sick and hit a lifetime limit. Now they cannnot get new insurance because the premium on an average policy has shot through the roof because they are not enough people in the pool to keep prices down. Higher premiums will also mean higher deductibles, and above all else, higher profits for insurers.

    November 26, 2013 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  2. copperfox

    That poll can't be accurate! Nancy Pelosi promised Democrats would embrace Obamacare and that it would be a winning issue!

    November 26, 2013 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  3. 2L

    Is anyone surprised by this?

    November 26, 2013 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  4. Lisa

    Kinda like the republicans did with the patriot act ahh sarg?

    November 26, 2013 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  5. Be Sane

    Temporary, by fall of 2014 the kinks will be worked out of the ACA, just as they were for SS, Medicare, the drug plan and Romneycare.. But the republicans will still be ruled by the crazy far right and the Democrats will benefit.

    November 26, 2013 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  6. Ret OEF/OIF Veteran

    The ACA roll out will work so by next years mid-term elections roll around the GOP will be kicked out of control of Congress and Dems pick up seats in house for the super Majority of 60. Wake up America the GOP is about Greed and control of a select few pushing money into our pollitics. The ACA isn't perfect, but it was a GOP plan which the Dems enacted, but since the GOP can't take credit for it they just bash it. Not saying the Dems are perfect, but until the GOP can kick out the Tea Baggers they can't be trusted to work for the people only for big business with money.

    November 26, 2013 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  7. Graeme from Ottawa

    if the election were today it would be trouble, but it isnt and it isnt. GOP will lose seats, mark theses words. And if they dont, who cares, we have POTUS

    November 26, 2013 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  8. DC Johnny

    Comical how the "non-white" and "lower-income" voters continue to grow in support for Democrats, based entirely in believing lies from the left about how the Republicans have sabotaged what would have been a smoothly operating program.

    Liberal policy is bad for everyone. It unfairly targets hardworking successful Americans while punishing the hardworking struggling Americans for whom it pretends to act on behalf, all the while rewarding the political class, the lazy, and the illegal.

    November 26, 2013 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  9. nmdave

    If it doesn't matter, why are the liberals in such a panic. Even Obama will not call it Obamacare any more. Time to face the truth, the USA has had enough of the lies and corruption!!

    November 26, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  10. Dante

    If one month can have such a change, imagine a year...The American public is generally not able to fucus long enough to care. Elections have proven that...Bush Second term comes to mind.

    November 26, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  11. Mike

    Oh, good. The party of "no" is in the lead. God help us.

    November 26, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  12. David

    Whenever one party has control too long, it becomes abusive and then corrupt. Since 2007, our gov't has been democrat controlled and we have failed since. Look what 20 yrs of democrat control has done to California. We are ruined.

    November 26, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  13. Claire

    This is BS. Then Americans must be nuts. The same people who cry about gridlock and say they don't like NSA spying would now support teabaggers who want spying and gridlock. The same people who do not believe in global warming, want religion in schools, are against marriage equality, are against a woman's right to choose, want the banks back in control, want unlimited spending on campaigns, would be happy to go to war with Iran, and a whole host of other issues. This is the party that gave us the great recession and 2 unpaid for wars. If this is the way people act over a slow website, then Americans are truly idiots. Americans should never complain about anything.

    November 26, 2013 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  14. Chris

    Both parties are a joke and anyone that supports them should be ashamed of their lack of critical thinking and historical understanding.

    November 26, 2013 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  15. Booger

    I have to agree with SuperD. Both parties bore me because it's always the same finger pointing, blame game regardless of who's in office. I'm beginning to think both parties are liars!

    November 26, 2013 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  16. gladiatorgrl

    I cannot understand ANYONE rewarding the Republicans behavior.

    Just goes to show you can't fix stupid

    November 26, 2013 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  17. BADGUY

    Polls are up and polls are down. Obamacare is on the "mend", both the web site and the sign up numbers. Insurance rates are dropping WAY below what even the Democrats were forecasting. The Republican Party REMAINS the Party of the top 1%. That fact will become INCREASING apparent as we move into the 2014 election "silly season"! The fact that the polls changed by 10%, in 1 month, means that independents, vary WIDELY in their opinions. The pendelum WILL swing back, just as it swung from 1 MONTH AGO!

    November 26, 2013 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  18. magicpanties

    We so badly need a viable 3rd party.
    Start voting Green locally and populate state and local governments so can ultimately be a real force in national politics.
    Right now, the unfortunate reality is that Green votes help GOP in national races and that needs to change.

    November 26, 2013 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  19. middle america man

    Or in other words, given the margin of error in the poll, Democrats may still have the lead.

    November 26, 2013 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  20. justin

    Y'all keep missing the point. Yeah, Obamacare rollout was a flop, but that's not what's plaguing the Dems. It's the constant lies. We the people do not trust Obama anymore. He promised the most transparent government in US history. Lie. They carefully put forth the "it was a video" excuse after the Benghazi attack. And, of course, if you like your ins plan you can keep it; if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor. Pardon the cliche, but all of us can now plainly see that the emperoror has no clothes. Blatant lies plus blatant incompotency = democrat slaughter in 2014 & 2016.

    November 26, 2013 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  21. Michael

    The GOP will find a way to mess it up. They always do.

    November 26, 2013 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  22. capnmike

    The GOP Platform in a nutshell: "To heck with the poor, to heck with the homeless, to heck with the elderly, to heck with minorities, and most of all to heck with anyone who is sick. Deregulate everything and send the jobs to China so our country-club pals can make more billions. Oh, yes, and start another war so our other buddies in the defense industry can make more billions too....and Lie, Lie, Lie. " That about covers it.

    November 26, 2013 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  23. Jay

    If people really think the rollout of the website is the cause of the Democrats troubles, then they are fools. Democrats are in serious trouble because of people's existing policies being canceled. People's premiums going up, if not doubling. Being forced to pay for services you will never need or use.
    People, over the next couple of months, will really see what a Redistribution scheme is.

    November 26, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  24. Rick Reid

    This is such a crock. You guys predicted Obama wouldn't win in 2012 because the polls indicated Romney was ahead. I just wish you stop this on slot on Obamacare. I had no trouble signing up, I wouldn't have insurance if it wasn't for this and stop the negativity about it. It's like you guys have climbed into bed with the Republicans and the Tea Party. Most people understand whats going on, The Republican and Tea Party assault on President Obama and are trying to save the big insurance companies money. Well, tough break. Obamacare is here to stay and get over it. Stop reporting and misleading the American Public...please!!!

    November 26, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  25. RandyIA

    The Dems on here keep blaming the website. Are they really thinking that is whole problem. Look around and wake up.

    November 26, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
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