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. ru serious

    Could it be that the people are finally seeing thru the pretty speeches/empty rhetoric? The Campaigner in Chief is wonderful on the campaign trail but not so good at the actual job. Unfortunately, he has surrounded himself with a bunch of incompetents so there is no one to prop him up. Sad in a way. He might have been a great president had he waited a few years, gaining some much needed experience actually managing something in the real world. He just wasn't ready for this job.

    November 26, 2013 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  2. freeman

    I voted for Obama for a change for the middle class. We are getting change alright.We are beign forced
    to pay for the lower class while the upper class thrives. Obama,Obamacare and redistribution of the wealth
    by the Dems. is killing the middle class. thanks Obama!

    November 26, 2013 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  3. JD

    Love it!!! Remember when magic underwear boy said the polls showed he was going to win the election? lol. Here we go again! This means there's going to be an overwhelming amount of democrates elected!!!!! yea!!!!!!!! Come on polls!!!!

    November 26, 2013 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  4. Stephen Daugherty

    It should be pointed out that the margin is incredibly small. Will they retain that if November's numbers recovery from October's debacle?

    November 26, 2013 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  5. Veritas

    The Republicans have been seriously stupid this year...but it just goes to show that no matter how hard you try, you just can't out-stupid Liberals.

    November 26, 2013 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  6. GenYer

    How any political group has an advantage perplexes me. I think they all need to go: Dems, GOP, w/e whoever, all of them are just making everything worse in some way. I am getting sick of the lesser of all evils. All of them are equally evil.

    November 26, 2013 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  7. MightyMoo

    I'm not happy with the Democrats but I'm still not happy with Republicans either. Both sides are a waste of space in Washington DC.

    November 26, 2013 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  8. Name

    As good as it will get for the Gop

    November 26, 2013 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  9. Mike

    It's not about a stupid website! It's about millions of Americans having their insurance policies cancelled. But don't expect CNN to cover that angle.

    November 26, 2013 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  10. Never Again!

    Trade a chance at social healthcare for a few more wars, good choice.

    November 26, 2013 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  11. SteveO

    All that "obstructionism"? Turns out what they were trying to obstruct was really, really bad. It's too bad it had to be forced on Americans before they figured it out, but hopefully people will be more skeptical of bigger government next time.

    November 26, 2013 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  12. Walter

    Love the spin from the libs. Give it up libbies. Most Americans do not want more government involvement in their lives...they want less.

    November 26, 2013 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  13. Nate

    Shocker! The government couldn't handle a simple task like opening a website. For those of you out there calling for big government programs, please name one program successfully ran today?

    November 26, 2013 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  14. GOP Sucks

    The Tea Party will be working diligently to change this.

    November 26, 2013 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  15. DonN

    People evidently haven't had enough of politicians sitting on their duffs doing nothing and collecting big salaries and benefit packages while Rome burns offering only the same mantra: We hate Obama Care"; yet offering in its stead.

    November 26, 2013 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  16. Jim Jimson

    So – reading the analysis above, Obama is supported by poor non-white people whereas Republicans get support from people who are successful and earn a living wage? Hmm is there a pattern here?

    November 26, 2013 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  17. cedar rapids

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

    We'll see what tune you will be singing in another 6 weeks time wont we?

    November 26, 2013 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  18. cedar rapids

    ' Even Obama will not call it Obamacare any more. '

    It was the repubs that called it Obamacare, not Obama.

    November 26, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  19. linus

    It's not going to get any better for the GOP

    November 26, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  20. dave

    Thanks for keeping us up to date on poll numbers about how people feel about an election next year! Last month the Dems would take it all, this month the Repubs. How exciting, if not completely meaningless. Please don't cover things that are actually happening or have any meaning whatsoever. Churn out 'news' thst doesn't require facts and assumes government is just a series of votes.

    November 26, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  21. Wow

    I dont believe it....I think it is probably more like 60/40 versus 49/47...Ultimately folks are starting to deal with the issues and not the political party...

    November 26, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  22. TeaParty4Life

    All I know is the dems deserve to lose after all the lies. It's not even about winning elections at this point...it's just how bad the dems have destroyed all of their credibility with the American people. They should all be ashamed of themselves and do the RIGHT thing and never run for office again!!

    November 26, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  23. Alex B

    I can't understand anyone voting for the deems. Oh yeah... The free stuff

    November 26, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  24. Organic1

    GOP = Grand Obstruction Party , but vote for who you like. It is amusing to watch adults act like 5 year olds.

    November 26, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  25. larry

    Obamacare is taking from the middle class and giving to the worthless class.

    November 26, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
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