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

    "Gosh Rudy, I would say that based on your post that you should be a staunch republican. They created the ACA, they provided phones for the poor, they kept the govt records secret so that immigrants that have come to this country aren't harassed. These are all principles that you purport to stand by and back. So if these are all truly repub ideas then why aren't you a member of the heritage foundation and why aren't you a republican?"
    -------------–
    Yet another question that is too ignorant to answer.

    December 26, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  2. John Illinois

    Hopefully the disasterous liberals will be thrown out and then our country can back on track!

    December 26, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  3. steve

    For those who like to quote "Red states take more free stuff from the feds than blue states" you overlook a few facts.

    1. Red states have a much higher percentage of blacks than blue states. This drives up the per capita welfare and food stamp rates.

    2. Red states have most of the military bases which go into the calculation.

    3. Red states like Alaska are almost entirely owned by the feds. Small population but a relatively large amount spent on federal land management.

    4. The states with large black populations cost an enormous amount to educate and very little is returned with such poor test scores.

    In summation, the statistic is a red herring.

    December 26, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  4. YouGotToBeKidding

    Do not vote for anyone who supported the Obama care disaster.

    December 26, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  5. Cosmo

    The Democrats will have to move towards the center and away from the extreme wing of the party to have a chance. They need to be more bipartisan in congress and the president will have to compromise.

    December 26, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  6. DustyOnes

    Obama's impeachment is nearing.

    December 26, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. Ed

    You think they are ahead now? Wait till those obamacare taxes and fees kick in next week! And letters go out next year to millions more people to get canceled.

    December 26, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  8. Ladini

    "As far as 2014 is concerned the only way they are going to win is by taking away the voting rights of people and they are working hard on it."

    HAhahaha.... Apparently they have their work cut out for them!

    Look at all the DEM precincts that consistently return voting numbers that are statistically impossible (sometimes including more votes then the precinct is registered for!).

    Unless, of course, Lolo is referring to ILLEGAL ALIEN voting. But the DEMs are smoothing things out nicely for them, too. Citizens are required to have IDs for driving, loans, purchasing state regulated products – but not for fundamentally determine how the government is run! Look at people using their illegal status to get out of Florida Jury Duty – people who were called in from the voter registration to begin with!

    December 26, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  9. Pablo695

    Not really sure if the GOP has an advantage. There is no doubt that the Dem's have shot themselves in the foot over the seriously flawed roll out Obama-care; I think a kindergarten class could have done a better job.

    But what is the GOP going to offer up?

    Ted Cruz? Sarah Palin? Michelle Bachman? John Boehner? I think to GOP might have a chance IF they had a message, and that's their problem – they don't. NO to everything is not a message. Don't talk about fiscal responsibility, then break the sequester and spend trillions on defense. On that aspect, Rand Paul was 100% correct.

    December 26, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  10. Nameas nicka

    Why blame the democrat and the president you should blame the repubican party who doesn't want to work with the president. Be real stop complaining the democrat put the country in the right direction. You should thanks them for that!

    December 26, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  11. CharlieH

    Cannot wait to vote republican and get rid of more lying, money wasting, finger pointing democrats.

    December 26, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  12. CharlieH

    @steve – I've been saying the same thing but then I'm labeled for stating such facts.

    December 26, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  13. Realist

    When the choice is between candidates from two parties that are complete and utter failures, there is no choice.

    December 26, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  14. tony

    The amazing lack of understanding regarding our economy evident in so many of these posts is striking. Government funded free crap does not boost the economy. The only reason America was once the strongest economy in the world was because of fee markets and free enterprise. Dont you think that if a government could spend its way to prosperity, every socialist tinpot nannystate that has tried this in the past 100 years would be experiencing amazing evidence of such prosperity? Instead, the communists and socialists overseas are doing everything they can to mimic free market capitalism that once thrived in America. Central governments destroy everything they touch. Every federal solution to every so-called "problem" they have tackled with bone-headed legislation, has usually made the problem worse. If we keep going on the current trajectory, America will die. It is that simple. You idiots espousing "social justice" and wealth redistribution are in for a big surprize when the bills start coming due and the government has run out of other peoples' money to spend. The fed government is living on a giant credit card right now. Soon, the rest of the world will cut off our credit and our entire economy will collapse. At that point, welcome to the third world, morons.

    December 26, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  15. alan

    Every senator and congressmen that voted for and supported this train wreck will have the tape of “you can keep your plan/doctor” statement’s show over and over again. One commercial that I would show would have voter after voter from their state or district displaying a cancelation notice with a voice over of the politician promoting Obamacare. The side show of the web site will fade when >100 million cancelation letters have been sent out. The next level will be the big jump in premiums that people are forced to pay, there is no more sensitive nerve then the one that goes from the brain to the wallet. The last phase will be when people with severe conditions start to die from lack of health care because their policy was canceled due to Obamacare.

    December 26, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  16. Dan

    The Whigs would be in a better spot than the dems right now

    December 26, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    For those who like to quote "Red states take more free stuff from the feds than blue states" you overlook a few facts.

    1. Red states have a much higher percentage of blacks than blue states. This drives up the per capita welfare and food stamp rates.
    ------------------------
    More blacks probably live within the NYC limits and surrounding areas than all of the red states combind. There are more people living within 25 miles of Times Square than the entire State of Illinois. The rest of your nonsense can be just as easily debunked. Red States are, in fact, the "taker" states.

    December 26, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  18. Quixote

    Amazing that at the same time as a poll points rightly to th incredible failures of the congress, which falls squarely and completely on the republicon party, that a slight edge exists for the party CAUSING the problems. It is like saying you favor giving kerosene and matches to convicted arsonists. Stupid is as stupid does.

    December 26, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  19. mark

    Steve, surprised they let those facts get posted

    December 26, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  20. Ladini

    "If you're a minority, gay, poor, middle class, belong to a union(teacher, fire, police, etc.) a woman, have children, then you probably should think twice before voting Republican."

    Ha ha! Yep, keep voting for DEMs and unions until the bough breaks and there will be nothing left for anyone – Trickle-Up Poverty at it's finest! Your post sounds my favorite, hypothetical news headline "Asteroid to destroy Earth in 10 days...women and minorities affected most!"

    December 26, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  21. paulejb

    It is not time to spike the ball. Republicans must make 2014 the Year of ObamaCare and its consequences. Never let up.

    December 26, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  22. mmilesll

    The divide is just starting, wait until Americans try to actually use their healthcare insurance. democrats own this pos and all need to be voted OUT.

    December 26, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    I wonder how much they paid Paul Steinhauser to write and publish this article? You'd have to be a total fool or a complete illiterate even to consider voting Gop. GOP vote against citizens of America in favor of corporate America. They would let the elderly, the sick, the poor and the unemployed die in the streets before they would consider levying a tax on many corporations (currently paying zeror) or increasing tax on the wealthy. Unbelievably bad people. The GOP ... all sons of Satan. No true Christian would consider casting a vote for any of them.

    December 26, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  24. jgalt123

    It looks like the CNN survey was a D+9 survey. If 2010 is any precursor, the problem will be MUCH worse than the story suggests since the 2010 turnout was R+7.

    December 26, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  25. vliggett

    Harry Reid should be fired. So should those repubs that let Obamacare stand.

    I am waiting for the first casualty after someone's policy was cancelled. I hate to break the news to you but people do not have $6,000 dollars to spend on healthcare (deductible). If you add the premium to that deductible you have your out of pocket costs up front.

    The cheapest policy that was listed on Healthcare.gov in Virginia was $874.00 for a family of 3. Deductible for a family is $12,000. So, if you multiply the premium and add the deductible it equals $22,488.00 per year.

    December 26, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
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