CNN Poll: GOP has edge in early midterm indicator
December 26th, 2013
09:00 AM ET
10 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. Whosiwhatzit

    RE "rs" :
    "Name 1 thing the GOP has done FOR America or Americans- just one that shows they care at all about our nation."
    -------------------------------------------
    They all voted unanimously against Obamacare.

    December 26, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  2. anthony ta

    All the liberals u know why ur cables msnbc had the worst rating just like ur president. I font think u know keep blame on the gop , fox . Why dont u look at urselves. U think all americans are stupid like u. They know u are all the liars

    December 26, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  3. nononsense57

    "Anonymous

    There sure is a lot of anti-Obamacare people complaining about a program they will never have the need to use nor would ever sign up for to begin with."

    Yet they are mandated to participate in or face the penalty. How DARE they complain!!

    December 26, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  4. Tampa Tim

    Jccalhoun sound a lot like the nut job Frakenstein.

    December 26, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  5. louisiana mom

    rs

    You do know, when Churchill made the statement, England was not a socialist nation, right?

    December 26, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  6. Clinton Alexander

    polls also show support for tea party is dropping that's cuz the public is starting to wise up

    December 26, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  7. healthcarefordistrict9

    Everyday, I pray that the democrat party is assigned permanence as America's minority party.

    December 26, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  8. Whosiwhatzit

    @rs
    "Pretty humorous inasmuch as England is in fact a socialist nation (especially when looking at health care) then, right?"
    ------------------------------------------–
    Great Britain did not become a socialist nation under Churchill any more than the US became a socialist nation under George Washington.

    December 26, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  9. nononsense57

    "Really

    Same way 2012 started on CNN, predicting a close race, but it didn't happen. Advertising Revenue was up, the GOP/TP was down."

    And the IRS was holding pro-freedom 504(c) groups hostage, while giving passes to groups sympathetic to Obama. Oh yeh,,,he didn't know about it. If true, that still does not take away from the fact it was happening. Notice you left that out...gee..shocking

    December 26, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  10. grendel007

    The difference between republicans and democrats is that republicans drag you to hell through incompetence.
    Democrats do it on purpose

    December 26, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  11. libertarianhawk

    I'm sure the Republicans will find a way to botch it. I guess, on policy, they're slightly better than the Democrats. But, in terms of competency, they're every bit as inept. The Democrats have handed them a golden opportunity with this Obamacare debacle....and I'm sure they'll find a way to make the least of it.

    December 26, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  12. anthony ta

    To jim57 u r right. After the vacation, the president will make a speech and start to pull the ropes around the smericans

    December 26, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  13. anonymous

    Funny, the person said that they are complaining about a program that wont affect them. You obviously do not have insurance or work or something because it has already affected all of us in sharply higher insurance premiums. I also know others who's work insurance has skyrocketed and the benefits have gone way down. So yes it affects us all.
    The sad thing is, this pathetic failure even if it is repealed will cause problems for years to come.

    December 26, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  14. Anthony

    "FACTS
    I still have my employer health insurance plan
    My premiums did not go up
    My co-pays, deductibes and out-of-pocket stayed the same
    I get a 40 dollar per month premium cut from the plan when I had a free "wellness" checkup
    I recieved a full free physical benefit this year"

    FACTS
    YOU still have your employer health insurance plan
    YOUR premiums did not go up
    YOUR co-pays, deductibes and out-of-pocket stayed the same
    YOU get a 40 dollar per month premium cut from the plan when YOU had a free "wellness" checkup
    YOU received a full free physical benefit this year

    So essentially what you are saying is that....because YOU were not affected, everything the GOP says about the problems with the ACA is false, because you are not feeling the ill effects of it. What an ignorant point of view you have to ignore the obvious problems people are having just because you are unaffected. The problems are VERY REAL, consider yourself lucky

    December 26, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  15. rs

    louisiana mom
    rs

    You do know, when Churchill made the statement, England was not a socialist nation, right?
    ______________
    Ummmm, yeah. That's why it is utterly meaningless to trot it out.

    December 26, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  16. Clinton Alexander

    all u gop and teaheads posting here will lose election in 2014

    December 26, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  17. Tampa Tim

    Louisiana mom – England became socialist in the 19 th century. Lovely post though.

    December 26, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  18. Face the Music

    Don't be looking through rose-colored glasses, folks, if you think the Republicans are going to keep your good interests at heart. classwarfareexists.com/paul-ryans-new-plan-huge-cuts-to-safety-net-medicare-medicaid-to-pay-for-tax-cuts-for-wealthy/ They have a plan that will end up cutting what you actually need to survive upon in order to give to the Rich!

    December 26, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  19. Sheila

    can't wait till November 2014.....we'll finally have a congress to work together, and get something done....I say sweep out the bad rubbish, once the republicans gain control !!! Hopefully we will be able to get a republican potus in 2016

    December 26, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  20. Tampa Tim

    Fox will always have the war on Christmas droolers glued to their TVs.

    December 26, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  21. Anonymous

    "Yet they are mandated to participate in or face the penalty. How DARE they complain!!"

    Oh, do Republicans not work and receive employer insurance? My bad. Please excuse me. I thought ALL members of the Grand Old Party pulled their own bootstraps from the ground up. Those that do work and have insurance complaining about a program they don't need was my initial comment. Those that don't work and will be required to either face a penalty or get healthcare? Well, I never heard of a Republican that doesn't work. At least not on CNNs ticker. Then again, I also thought Republicans hate freeloaders. Again, my bad.

    December 26, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  22. rs

    Whosiwhatzit
    RE "rs" :
    "Name 1 thing the GOP has done FOR America or Americans- just one that shows they care at all about our nation."
    ---------------
    They all voted unanimously against Obamacare.
    ____________________________
    Yeah- and that's whats funny, they negotiated their stuff in (personal responsibility and mandatory insurance), got it to mirror Romneycare (which works well), and they walked away. I guess they'd rather have people have the "freedom" to not get medical care than actually help Americans.

    December 26, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  23. Rudy NYC

    nononsense57 wrote:

    Rudy sez.."Rudy NYC

    Once Americans figure out the hypocrisy of the overall argument being made against the PP&ACA, then Republican support will quickly dwindle. You have a party that wants to "Repeal And Replace" a law with absolutely nothing. House Republicans have yet to put one piece of legislation on the floor for a vote that could be remotely described as a replacement. "

    Actually Rudy,,you keep looking to big daddy govt to solve the problem. Consider John Cochrane's suggestions in WSJ-
    He says (among other things) "Rather than a mandate for employer-based groups, we should transition to fully individual-based health insurance. Allow national individual insurance offered and sold to anyone, anywhere, without the tangled mess of state mandates and regulations. Allow employers to contribute to individual insurance at least on an even basis with group plans. Current group plans can convert to individual plans, at once or as people leave. Since all members in a group convert, there is no adverse selection of sicker people."
    -------------------------
    Pay attention closely. What Mr. Cochrane describes is exactly what we already have had for decades. It is the status quo, which means that it is not a solution at all. It's just a word salad, meant to obfuscate the facts. If it is something new and different, then explain to the class how it differs from the status quo.

    December 26, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  24. anthony ta

    Maybe one day obama will become the president of china or russia cuz only those countries can force their people to buy thing they dont want

    December 26, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  25. libertarianhawk

    @Sandra: "I find it hard to believe that the Obamacare debacle "uproar" has surpassed what the GOP has done to the ENTIRE country"

    Well, healthcare is something you have to be awfully careful about messing with. Barney Frank understood this, and has said so publicly. To me it's the sort of thing that, if you're going to tinker with it, you'd better have bipartisan cover. I always thought it was very stupid on the part of Democrats to go it alone on healthcare reform. They should have worked harder to win Republican support - with tort reform, or expanding health savings accounts, or Medicare reform, or something.

    Obamacare is the best thing the Republicans have going for them - which is kind of pathetic. But it is what it is.

    December 26, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
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