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. American

    Republicans have proven to be even crazier than we thought they were pre-2008. Whether they're elected or not, they have nothing to offer this country. Hopefully they just stay home and "polish" their "guns" this time around.

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

    Anonymous....Corporations as in CIG or GE?

    December 26, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  3. Roy Galutia

    Quote Anonymous" No true Christian would consider casting a vote for any of them." think you got that one wrong ....And your not brave enough to put your real name on that statement ....

    December 26, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  4. cmml

    The GOP doesn't have its act together and they are ahead of the Democrats. Imagine what will happen when they get it together.

    With 21 Democrat seats and 14 Republican seats in the senate up for grabs (including 7 in states that supported Romney), things could get really interesting.

    December 26, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    2. Red states have most of the military bases which go into the calculation.
    -----------------------
    Now they don't, and military spending is not part of the calculation. Rand Paul made the same excuse, only to discover that Kentucky had one base while New Jersey had four. New York is home to West Point, Fort Drum, Fort Hamilton, and the largest C-5 base on the east coast, Stewart Air Force base, located in Newburgh, NY.

    What you are suggesting is that the most heavily populated areas have the least amount of nearby military support, which on the face of it is completely absurd.

    Do you know how quickly fighter jets were scrambling over Manhattan on 9/11? They were buzzing around or near every commercial aircraft within the immediate area within minutes, diverting them away from the NYC area. Nothing else was permitted to enter the airspace for a landing shortly after the second crash. I've never heard such frightful roars in the NYC skies in all of my long days. It went around the clock for a week. When they finally restarted commercial flights, you could still hear the distinctive rumbles and roars of military engines.

    December 26, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  6. ChrisM

    Yea, Yea, Republicans said the same things about Social Security and Medicare. Do you repubs really think you are going to take the ACA away from Americans that really NEED it. Like Americans with pre existing conditions. Go ahead repubs, try and take that away.

    December 26, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  7. paul reynolds

    Repeal the Recovery, Peace and CARE!!

    Restore the Recession, War and Hate!!!

    Vote Republicon 2016

    December 26, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  8. misterflibble1

    Want to know why the GOP has an early edge? Because most voters are utterly and completely uninformed on any political topic, they get all of their political information by over hearing others rant at the corner cafe and on AM talk radio, they vote according to what they think the truth is (to heck what the truth really is) but most of all, they have the memory span of a damp sponge. I mean, geez guys, the GOP shut down the government at the cost of $32-Billion and hundreds of thousands of jobs, on top of making the country look like it's run by a bunch of children who can't get along. And all everyone is concerned about is the Affordable Healthcare Act. Grow up people and start look at the big picture. How many of you know that the ACA was a Republican idea, was lobbied by Republicans, was written by Republicans, was supported by Republicans, was implemented in Massachusetts by Republicans but was only made into a nationwide law by Democrats. IT'S YOUR YOUR IDEA AND YOUR LAW!!! So why don't you like it?!?!

    December 26, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  9. paul reynolds

    Only RepubliCons could somehow consider :* 54 straight Months of JOB Growth* The Lowest Unemployment Rate in 5 Years * Rising Home Values* Record DOW Highs To fantastically Not be a Recovery.!??Priceless!

    December 26, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  10. paul reynolds

    Reality Check: Bush and the GOP Lost 24 Million JOBS , Exported over 50,000 Industries, caused record Vulture Capitalism, Predatory Profiteering, Recession, Bankruptcy, Foreclosures, and Global Economic Meltdowns and were Losing 800,000 Jobs per Month when Our President Obama took the White House and Rescued Americans.!!

    December 26, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  11. vvalenc

    A+ for the President for his excellent job .

    December 26, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  12. cam

    By next year, there will be no healthcare unless you pay out of pocket and health insurance will cost a fortune with high deductibles. Democrats own this high cost insurance.

    December 26, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  13. vvalenc

    A+ For the President.
    2013 year in review:
    1. Our economy: ↑
    2. Our deficits: ↓
    3. + more than 2 million jobs

    December 26, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  14. erichx101x

    These polls are a bit premature. The #'s will trade back and forth between parties up until election day. Plenty of time for the GOP to screw it up in classic fashion.

    December 26, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  15. Marcus (from...?)

    @Steve: 'red herring'?
    1 – Congratulations for stating the obvious (that Southern/Red States still has the majority of the Black/African American population in the US. And congratulations (again) for turning it into the explanation as to why those states are poor and so depending on the US government... (I am being sarcastic).
    2 – Ever tried to move those bases OUT of the 'Red States'? They depend (economically) on them, while 'Blue States' not so much (hence the fact that WITHOUT them, the bases, the 'Blue States' do fairly well, when compared to their 'Red' counterparts that is).
    3 – Alaska is an exception and you know it, EVEN if most of the state wasn't Federal land who would like to go live up there, so near of the North Pole? Attractives like gold and oil are not as easy to find as they used to be...
    4 – That was the icing on the cake. Are you saying that no matter how much money the 'Red States' spends on Black/African American education it is a waste of money? FYI, regardless of the skin color of the student, 'Red States' do employ less resources on his/her education, when they don't do it in such a flaw filled way that they have to 'start over' again and again and again (For example, is Rick Perry in his 4th or 5th attempt to 'improve' the Texan Education System as of now?).

    Your whole post showed your true colors you Craig Cobb worshipper...

    December 26, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  16. Silverfawn

    Nothing puts politics to the front of people's minds- and keeps it there- like shrinking wallets. People remember who is in power when everything from gas to food to medical care keeps increasing in cost while employment rates and salaries stagnate. Perhaps people are simply soul-deep tired of those who pretend to care about the common citizen's struggles while at the same time living the multi-millionaire lifestyle. Our leaders do not have to skip meals or medicine to make ends meet. They don't have to stop seeing relatives because gas is too expensive. Their kids are safe in their private schools and they have vacation homes to think about rather than worries over mortgage payments. I would be happy to see a fresh crop of representatives who do not live so much in a bubble. If that is the GOP, so be it.

    December 26, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  17. Name

    Only half the country pays taxes, the republican half

    December 26, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    its going to get a lot worse for the Democrats as the ACA gets enacted.

    December 26, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  19. loyalright

    Apparently, Americans are waking-up and realizing that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Liberals will do anything to buy a vote including healthcare and now it's come back to bite them. Remember this Democrats, tax payers vote too.

    December 26, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  20. xsnake

    Socialism is the choice of cowards.

    December 26, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  21. Sam

    Stock prices are way way way up... Yet my wallet has less cash in it...Any poor person realizes the democrats do not help THEM! Stocks are for the rich

    December 26, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  22. Gallum

    It actually makes me sick to my stomache reading what all of these liberals are blathering. Calling the GOP Satan when you can't mention Christ on Christmas anymore. Saying thr GOP hates children when the Democrats advocate the murder of milions of babies. Come on people, stop letting them control you with this Rhetoric!

    December 26, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  23. Namely

    Dear anonymous: why didnt Obama raise taxes on the wealthy? He said he would. He had 2 full years to pass it but he didnt because the wealthy are funding him. And he is wealthy himself. He didnt really mean it but you are still falling for the lies. Ha ha, my Bible says to be harmless as a dove as well as wise as a serpent. Evidently you missed out on the wisdom part. Oh, by the way,just wait till people start dying in the streets due to Obamacare. They are losing their houses and cant afford rent and have to give their pets to shelters. Obama has already destroyed the economy. People can't get good jobs and can barely make it as it is. Our kids and grandkids are going to hate us for running up massive debts that we cant pay and will turn them into serfs. The next 2 years are going to be hell.

    December 26, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  24. Name

    Republican politicians are mostly pretty stupid, but look like smart next to dems

    December 26, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  25. Name

    If it wasnt for republicans the dems would starve to death

    December 26, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
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