CNN Poll: GOP has edge in early midterm indicator
December 26th, 2013
09:00 AM ET
7 months ago

CNN Poll: GOP has edge in early midterm indicator

Washington (CNN) - Democrats have lost their advantage and Republicans now have a slight edge in the battle for control of Congress, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/ORC International survey released Thursday also indicates that President Barack Obama may be dragging down Democratic congressional candidates, and that the 2014 midterm elections are shaping up to be a low-turnout event, with only three in 10 registered voters extremely or very enthusiastic about voting next year.

Two months ago, Democrats 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 evaporated, and a CNN poll a month ago indicated the GOP holding a 49%-47% lead. The new survey, conducted in mid-December, indicates Republicans with a 49%-44% edge over the Democrats.

The 13-point swing over the past two months follows a political uproar over Obamacare, which included the botched rollout of HealthCare.gov and controversy over the possiblity of insurance policy cancelations due primarily to the new health law.

"Virtually all the movement toward the GOP has come among men," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "Fifty-four percent of female voters chose the Democratic candidate in October; 53% pick the Dem now. But among male voters, support for Democratic candidates has gone from 46% in October to just 35% now."

Republicans have a 17-seat advantage in the House and Democrats hold 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 cautioned.

"A year before the 2010 midterms, for example, the Democrats held a 6-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 added.

Lack of enthusiasm

According to the poll, only three in 10 registered voters say they are extremely or very enthusiastic about voting for Congress next year, compared to more than four in 10 who felt that way in late 2009. And 43% say they're not enthusiastic about voting, up from 25% who felt that way four years ago.

Democratic voters seem particularly unenthusiastic about voting, and that is likely to benefit the GOP. Thirty-six percent of Republicans say they're extremely or very enthusiastic about voting. That number drops to 22% among Democrats.

Another GOP advantage is the President's standing with the public: 55% of registered voters say that they are more likely to vote for a congressional candidate who opposes the President than one who supports him and four in 10 say they are likely to vote for a candidate who supports Obama.

"Those kind of numbers spelled early trouble for the Democrats before the 1994 and 2010 midterms, and for the GOP before the 2006 elections," Holland said.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International from December 16-19, with 1,035 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.


Filed under: 2014 • CNN/ORC International poll
soundoff (654 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Indeed "Near Future"...particularly telling;

    "The consensus at the International Monetary Fund research conference was that by not focusing on unemployment, the Republicans’ austerity has already reduced America’s economic potential by around 7% which means America is poorer by more than $1 trillion a year. Unfortunately for the American people and the nation’s economy, the damage is not just for one year, it is long-term damage of $1 trillion a year for multiple years."

    December 26, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  2. Tampa Tim

    Who was the idiot who told the idiot that even Obama couldn't even sign up? That is a Fox media lie! It is so easy to sigh up that even Boehner and Rubio could do it.

    December 26, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  3. BluClw

    "The ACA is working" he says as more people successful sign up for Netflix, EHarmony and Gamefly than do for Obama Care!

    December 26, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  4. rs

    Bill Mitchell
    But don't forget, the Democrats have the same tabulation hack they used to give Obama the White House to win key races here. When you have access to the NSA, hacking the vote counting with a few lines of code is child's play.
    __________________
    Finally! A paranoid conspiracy theory to clarify the Right's thinking today.

    December 26, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  5. Jon

    Translation:
    Only the most die-hard Obamaphone voter still believes anything Baraka or his minions in the democrat party say.

    The modern democrat is yesterday's run of the mill Saul Alynsky radical socialist, and Obama is the natural leader of that movement.
    Too many people still love the old America and want nothing to do with Obama's plans to change our country into a third world communist ghetto.

    December 26, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    Anyone who would vote for the Dems, after their DISMAL performance, over the last 5 yrs. is deluding themselves..........seriously...........about the truth.

    December 26, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  7. Tampa Tim

    The Kochs have spent one billion dollars to encourage people to break a law that was upheld as constitutional.

    December 26, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  8. Walter Melnyk

    Your party promises to prevent the President from effecting his policies and do it at the expense of all Americans and for preventing the government from doing its job, Americans are going to reward that party?

    December 26, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  9. Name arnett

    Cnn poll says 2/3 public think this is worse congress ever if this is case democrats will win again who wants to vote for a party that does nothing but blocks those who try to do something

    December 26, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  10. Walrus mustache

    I shudder to think how this country would look if the GOP held the senate and Presidency the last 6 years. We would have mass unemployment and civil unrest. Major cities would be burning like it was in the sixties. Millions would be starving.

    December 26, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  11. Anonymous

    "Then add all the issues, IRS, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, Obamacare, etc., etc., and it is clear that the dems a a ton of work ahead of them to not lose seats (and very possible enough seats to lose the Senate) in the 2014 elections."

    Well, yes. Tearing down one political party to appease another political party might work. Then again, it might not work. Also too, the Republican party could run on its own idea's. Of which they obviously have none of. Before all of you Republicans continue your anti-Obama talking points, I'd suggest you work on your own party internals. It lacks, well, real substance. As evidenced by your own talking points.

    December 26, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  12. Asok Asus

    The Democrats ain't seen nuttin yet! Right now is just the lull before the Cat 5 hurricane called "BamaKare" hits the U.S. next year, because in early 2014, horror stories will start emerging about people with obama-cancelled insurance not being able to continue their chemotherapy or dialysis treatments, trauma patients being denied care at designated trauma centers, and hospital emergency departments being swamped with people unable to see their doctor.

    This will start happening in January, become a deluge in February, and turn into a tsunami of death and suffering by March 2014, at which time voters will start hunting Democrats down in the streets with pitchforks and dogs. And a well-deserved hunt it will be too, because people are going to needlessly die as obamacare sends our existing health care system spiraling into complete and total chaos.

    December 26, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  13. Really

    Younger Generations don't like the GOP/TP, and they use Social Media. Can't factor that into the polls!

    December 26, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  14. Tampa Tim

    The ACA has three million success stories in 3 months. Can anyone think of one Republican success story other than the government shutdown?

    December 26, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  15. ProudDem

    Oh good, another Poll reported as news.

    December 26, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  16. jim57

    The present lead of the republicans will be short-lived. After his vacation, Pres. Obama will give a speech revealing his amazement with respect to the inefficencies of Obamacare, point out that it is the republicans fault because they refused to vote for Obamacare thereby hurting its implementation, and the President will pledge to fix it. The press will joyfully report that the President will fix Obamacare (and that he is in wonderful spirits) no matter the resistance of the republicans. The news talk shows will hail the fixes to be made to Obamacare in the face of terrible republican resistance. And the democrats will be up in the polls!

    December 26, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  17. Tony D

    I see that people are still letting cable news shape their worlds. I remember just a year ago people all over was quoting polls how tight the race for the presidential race. How the enthusiasm with democrats was down and nobody with president approval ever won reelection. Hmmm now lets see they still trying to say what the future will hold. You see people do not forget as easy as the next polls or next story line. We actually have the capability for long term memory.

    December 26, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  18. Javier

    “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”
    ― Winston Churchill

    December 26, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  19. Michael Q

    Nothing to worry about here: the American voter has only a 15-second retention span! Seriously, the world keeps asking how the American voter could possibly consider voting for the obstructionists, the rich white capitalists, the GOP-TP propaganda machine of con-artists, and religious freaks who have caused so much trouble? Ops, 15-seconds, next topic! (Cynicism and sarcastic comments intended)

    December 26, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  20. Kortney

    WTF. ????? I cant wait to vote in The Mide Terms and neither can every Other man i speak with.

    December 26, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  21. rs

    Jon
    Translation:
    Only the most die-hard Obamaphone voter still believes anything Baraka or his minions in the democrat party say.

    The modern democrat is yesterday's run of the mill Saul Alynsky radical socialist, and Obama is the natural leader of that movement.
    Too many people still love the old America and want nothing to do with Obama's plans to change our country into a third world communist ghetto.
    _________________
    Your screed was proved valueless when you announced the "Obamaphone Program"- yeah, the one that DOES NOT and NEVER DID exist. Sorry- one rule is you must play with FACTS.

    December 26, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  22. Tampa Tim

    Rick – Market over 16,000, ending two wars, equal pay for women, 47 months of job growth, bin Laden dead, ACA, 8 million jobs created, all without a single republican vote.

    December 26, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  23. PAPA SERF

    Get it right it not about party per se it is about Serf's getting tired of being told to shut up and do as the king liar says. Both parties like power and control and ACA (Obamacare) gives that to the elected. At the present time the d3mocrats are seen as the worse of the two parties. With the lying KING being the leader. Now we all know what Pelosi met when she said you need to pass it to see what is in it. Having seen what is in it most are saying we do not like it. If fully in place will give elected too much power and control. The power to tax is the power to destroy and ACA is a tax, a big one.

    December 26, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  24. Bart DePalma

    This is worse for the Democrats than the CNN polling at this point before the 2010 wipeout.

    Will anyone be voting except for us folks who support the Tea Party rebellion?

    December 26, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  25. Think Again

    So you think the Republicans are good for America, eh? Think Again! classwarfareexists.com/the-republican-congress-is-killing-the-economic-recovery/ You would be wrong if you thought that, according to many learned sources.

    December 26, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
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