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

    John has it right– let's keep this going on another 8 years! Maybe John will know what a Republican is by then.

    December 26, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  2. joy

    Yes how quickly we forget Pres Obama said the new health care would be cheaper for who? The rich.

    December 26, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  3. Elsewhere

    At least men are intelligent enough to see what Obama and his adminstration has done and is doing. They are switching their allegiance but women are not, that tells you how tied to the government teat women are.

    I am beginning to understand why the founding fathers limited voting to property owning men. Another sad fact is that they are so many false statements in these comments that I wonder about the ability of the American public to understand basic logic.

    For example, in Freedom311's comment that Regan started the free cell phone program. The program was originally for land line phones only, the only cell phones were in cars and the portable phones were not reliable. You people should read some history about government and science.

    December 26, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  4. Joyce

    Rich54: What one has to pay for health insurance depends on ones situation – there's no "formula' that puts anyone person into this cost category or another – wise up.

    December 26, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  5. Shutupalready

    Severe Cuts
    Another very real danger in electing Republicans is the Severe Cuts to Social Security they will make, something that you have worked for all of your life, paying into it each paycheck you got, and then to see it Evaporate under Republican control. cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=4037 Wake Up People! Or do you not care about Social Security when it comes time to collect it?!

    December 26, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |

    ___________________________________

    I see my paycheck evaporate every month when I have to drive by the EBT building. What's the difference?

    December 26, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  6. Jesse

    MITT ROMNEY HELPED WRITE OBAMACARE! To all the Obama lovers posting please don't quote the Romney polls in the last election. The last election was rigged on both sides with some districts reporting 100% votes for Obama, an impossibility that shatters logic and insults history. Ban electric voting machines and lets kill the establishment with Liberty.

    December 26, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  7. Mike in Texas

    I think earlier it was someone named Garrett McTexas or something who said that how is system good that allows people to obtain insurance that couldn't obtain it before but causes people to lose their insurance? Answer, those who losing their insurance can still obtain insurance. The old system wouldn't allow for the former to even obtain insurance. The new system allows more people to obtain insurance. You act as if these people who received cancellations can no longer be insured.

    December 26, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  8. California

    Democrats will get smeared in this mid term election. We've said it all along.

    Run on Obamacare PLEASE.

    December 26, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Freedom311 wrote:

    Let's see, free food, free phones, free birth control, free housing...ect. all of which are leftist bad ideas, and Reagan was trying to deal with a far left congress and was at their mercy largely. Oh, and there were no cell phones when Reagan was in office either, but he should have held firm to his beliefs and vetoed that insanity anyway.

    There a darn good reason the left sends buses into welfare districts to get out their vote, because the takers are the base on your party and they are the crowd who votes for "free stuff". Without that base, the left couldn't win any national elections...period.
    ---------------------------
    You don't know your history. All of that "free stuff" was introduced under Republican presidents, most under Reagan, to help immigrants coming to this country who had nothing to fall back on. They were policies put in place to attract workers who would work for lower wages, in an attempt to undernmine the unions in this country. Reagan introduced the phones. Reagan introduced the law requiring health care to the indigent. Reagan who pushed for entitlements for immigrants. Bush-43 introduced legislation that said employers no longer had to keep records of the immigrant workers' status on file after 3 years. All of these bad policies that you speak of were introduced and staunchly supported by conservatives, and opposed by most liberals.

    December 26, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  10. David

    You're certainly right I'm going to vote for the GOP in the midterms. I assure you that I'm not racist, anti-woman or rich. The Democrats made their bed with the sham of a process in passing the ACA in the first place, followed by the spectacular and utter failure of its implementation. Will be a pleasure watching them crash and burn.

    December 26, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  11. Kevin

    "If you like your plan, you can keep it"- Barak Hussein Obama

    Enough said! The liar in chief needs to go and if the democrats refuse the impeachment process, they must pay in 2014

    December 26, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  12. daviddavid

    Not one Republican voted for Obamacare, and yet some Democrats want to blame Obamacare inept roll-out on Republicans?.....Who THINKS like that?
    Anything that has to do with Obamacare falls 100% on the democrats.

    December 26, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  13. RedStateRon

    Ever wonder about women getting the right to vote? Been going downhill toward total nanny state. I seem to remember that there is some academic study showing that our country has become less independent and more security oriented since woman's suffrage. Perhaps they just want someone to take care of them???

    December 26, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  14. Kevin

    If Obama is not impeached and convicted, the democrats will lose bigger than in 2010. Even here in Flint, Michigan...Dan Kildee is facing bribery charges relating to the ACA and how it passed, and the case is in the hands of a Grand Jury as we speak.

    December 26, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  15. Exbbjock

    These anti-American Democrats will never learn. Being against the majority of Americans will lead to another wipeout as in the 2010 elections. I'm getting a tingle up my leg!

    December 26, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  16. vjc

    Most who vote for the GOP are the uninformed low educated people the GOP appeals to. They pick an issue and blame the Democrats for it. These people don't know they are voting against the own interests..social security, unemployment, and medical care.

    December 26, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    "They ran on creating jobs to get elected and have yet to work any sort of jobs bill. "

    Well, technically, they'd tell you that working on "jobs legislation" is the only thing they've done. You see, as they will tell you (without any back up other than ideological drivel), that it very conveniently just so happens to coincidentally be the case that "blocking everything the other guys want to do, undoing everything they've done, defunding the gov't, threatening to default on our debts and trying to destroy particular agencies of the federal gov't" is "the only way to create jobs." See how that works? Pretty convenient, eh?

    December 26, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  18. vjc

    They get their news from Fox..

    December 26, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  19. rs

    Elsewhere
    At least men are intelligent enough to see what Obama and his adminstration has done and is doing. They are switching their allegiance but women are not, that tells you how tied to the government teat women are.

    I am beginning to understand why the founding fathers limited voting to property owning men. Another sad fact is that they are so many false statements in these comments that I wonder about the ability of the American public to understand basic logic.

    For example, in Freedom311's comment that Regan started the free cell phone program. The program was originally for land line phones only, the only cell phones were in cars and the portable phones were not reliable. You people should read some history about government and science.
    _________________________
    I truly hope this is someone's idea of humor, and not a Right-wing belief statement!

    December 26, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "At least men are intelligent enough to see what Obama and his adminstration has done and is doing. They are switching their allegiance but women are not, that tells you how tied to the government teat women are. "

    How's that outreachy demographic armageddony thing workin' out for ya, eh Teatrolls?

    December 26, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  21. Robert Potter

    It does not surprise me how entrenched these Liberals are in their failure. There is not one single policy that has panned out as advertised yet like Custers regiment they continue to march into the quagmire. This much is assured; if America falls to ruin then the positive result shall be that among those last to rise up again will be those who put their faith in Liberal Government, those who sold their independence, and those who lost the skills of independent thought.

    December 26, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  22. coldblossom

    Sorry to those of you, regardless of party, who haven't figured out that our government is too large and is out of money. We cannot afford Obamacare/the "Affordable Care Act" and we can't afford entitlements like Social Security. I am aged 32 and I am being robbed via Social Security deductions for a "benefit" that I will never see, because SS is insolvent. I am being robbed by the health insurance mandate that tells me that I must, as a condition of being a U.S. citizen, purchase expensive insurance that includes benefits that I don't need–because someone in government decided I was incapable of making adult decisions about my own health care. It is both parties that are taking our freedoms away, but ti seems at least the Republicans understand that everything has a price-tag and we can no longer afford all of the things the government wants, while the Democrats wish to continue to spend and their solution is to raise taxes and pass mandates to pay for their dreams. What about MY dreams? The government doesn't have to fulfill my dreams for me–that is not its place–but it does have to leave me alone such that I have the CHANCE to fulfill them on my own. With all of my income being taxed away, with all of my freedoms being taken from me, I am less "left alone" than I ever could have imagined.

    December 26, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  23. John

    Americans are as fickle as anyone and they have short memories. Who cares if such people show up to vote or die between now and then. If the Dems lose because they don't bother to vote they will get exactly what they deserve.

    December 26, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  24. bklynhmnst

    If the numbers changed drastically from two months ago, doesn't that mean today's numbers are just as meaningless for an election being held 10 months from now?

    December 26, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    why anyone believes in a party that lies 75% of the time is beyond me.

    December 26, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
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