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. whatever1784

    Tiredoflibs
    All I have to say is...Benghazi, NSA, Fast and Furios, IRS targeting conservatives, the joke called Obamacare, the lie that is Obamacare, 94 million Americans unemployed, 17 trillion in debt, Syria, and the failed Iran negotiations. Yea, your guys doing a great job alright. Destroying the country.

    Benghazi, 4 dead, how many did w kill in iraq?
    NSA, how long this been going on?
    Fast and Furios, how many obama officials investigated to no avail vs how many banksters?
    IRS targeting conservatives, half the story, as usual.
    the joke called Obamacare, yes, much funnier when businesses decided who lived and died and paid how much
    the lie that is Obamacare, that people have to pay for quality and personal responsibility?
    94 million Americans unemployed, thanks to 30 years of failed reaganomics
    17 trillion in debt, (see reaganomics)
    Syria, yeah! war #3! thats smart.
    and the failed Iran negotiations. and president cheneys policy worked so much better
    Yea, your guys doing a great job alright. Destroying the country. trouble with understanding statistics? dems do better with economy. google it. imagine how much better if do nothing cons would have bothered to think of anybody else but themselves and their 1% masters.

    December 26, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  2. Sugarmama

    Where and who are these people polling? Come November of 2014 the American people are going to turn out in record unprecidented numbers and we will be sending as many republicans home as we can. Mr. Steinhauser who are you polling? These polls are dead wrong sir and you will see that at the next election. You want an accuate poll then poll REAL everyday hard working Americans-the Grand Ole Party is going down.

    December 26, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  3. Name

    These polls fail to take in account that demo rate vote 67 times

    December 26, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  4. ThinkAgain

    Listen up, Dems! This is just the MSM hyping the conflict and hoping the Dems will stay home and not vote in 2014. We MUST go to the polls and vote in progressives and OUT the repub/tea bags. They've shown us what they'll do – and it is to NOT help our country.

    Come November 4, 2014, vote, Democrats, VOTE!

    December 26, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain

    @Rachel: "The GOP already knows this and why? Because the debacle called Obamacare is the gift that keeps on giving."

    Tell that to all the people who finally have affordable healthcare that actually COVERS something. The debacle is the GOP and the tea bags, who have NO ideas and have NOTHING to offer our country except failed policies.

    The kicker is they somehow get suckers like you to vote for them again and against your own self-interest. When are you going to get tired for being played for a fool?

    December 26, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  6. Name

    Ted Cruz. Period

    December 26, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  7. HoTamale24

    democrats, "the party of li es, bla me and de ceit"
    obamacare is yours....
    economy is smoke and mirrors and
    employment is all gov't jobs which are not self sustainable

    December 26, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  8. Jack Young

    These comments are worse rationalizations for corruption than what the GOP party hacks spouted while Bush was in office. I had hoped for more from liberals...but that was my own fault. I don't know why I should have. Just keep denying the crimes and failures of your dear leaders...that usually works out well. Pathetic.

    December 26, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  9. Name

    Dems destroy Detroit, now want to take it national

    December 26, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  10. rob

    I won't vote for a democrat again if my life depended on it.

    December 26, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  11. The Truth in a paragraph

    Over 17 trillion dollars in debt! Obama ran on cutting that debt in half by his first term. Fast and furious! The federal government gave guns that were supposed to be "tracked" cough* cough* to Mexican cartels, which were used to kill at least 2 U.S. border security agents and many more deaths in mexico. Benghazi!! first the president said it was about a movie that was released in another country that caused the attack on our embassy, then two weeks later said he was mistaken and would get to the bottom of Benghazi! Over a year later we still have no answers! NSA scandal! Obama not only said he was against the patriot act, but he said he would remove it, instead he makes the patriot act look like its on steroids, compared to prez bush's program. IRS targeting conservative groups scandal! OBAMACARE aka the affordable care act, yeah right my payment for a month now is $310 a month and I am in good health aged at 31 years. This administration has more scandals than it does anything else, its ultimately corrupt. I believe republicans in office would be better, but politicians just cannot be trusted in this day of age. We need term limits for politicians or they will keep making a profession out of a job that was not created for that purpose. I feel like the democrats and republicans have been playing the American public like a fiddle for the past 35 years. We need a new party, with term limits, and people that will listen to ordinary americans not the special interest groups or the elite!!!!

    December 26, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  12. Name

    Those dastardly republicans. Preventing all those people from getting insurance. Just like the black panthers blocking the polling place

    December 26, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  13. Mike

    5 minutes ago on CNN tv network, they were peddling the myth that congress should be charged on the number of pieces of legislation that they pass. Looks like the American public thinks CNN is full of it.

    December 26, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  14. Bud

    I will vote for my dog before I vote for a liberal again, GOP or Dem.

    December 26, 2013 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  15. srcactus

    Shhhhh
    The secret taxes are ready to be charged!

    December 26, 2013 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  16. srcactus

    The new taxes and fees include a 2 percent levy on every health plan, which is expected to net about $8 billion for the government in 2014 and increase to $14.3 billion in 2018. There’s also a $2 fee per policy that goes into a new medical-research trust fund and Insurers pay a 3.5 percent user fee to sell medical plans on the ACAweb site.
    Americans also will pay hidden taxes, such as the 2.3 percent medical-device tax
    Total tax about $600 bucks a year? NICE

    December 26, 2013 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  17. jan53

    X dem voting GOOD. Obama is a liar and dem in the Congress were speeding his lies.

    December 26, 2013 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  18. Chuk

    How you get an edge is to, unapologetically, put every obstacle you can to make sure nothing works. Now that's patriotism.

    December 26, 2013 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  19. Freedom311

    Marcus (from...?)
    "Five years and a few months late.
    Conservatives like to tout the economic numbers of the GWB's years as president... minus the last eight to ten months when the bill for such 'prosperity' became way too public to be ignored any longer.
    And now they want us to go back to those formulas and models that crashed the economy..."
    ------–

    That's quite the ridiculous strawman you have there. First off, while "the Shrub" may have been a fool, it was the lefts obsession with "fairness" that caused the crash by insisting that the "evil" banks be coerced into giving loans to people who were not credit worthy. The "evil" banks created schemes in a reaction to this leftist mandate to deal with what was forced on them by the left who called them "racist" for reminding them it was a bad idea in the first place. Of course this government intervention into the free market then did what was inevitable...and it crashed horribly. It was the lefts dumb ideas that pushed us over the edge, and if the right would have had the courage to stand up to the race baiters who actually caused this...it never would have happened.

    December 26, 2013 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  20. DH

    Black panthers blocked nothing. You keep believing fox bs, but remember fox also told you Romney was winning.

    December 26, 2013 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  21. Ctrygrl

    This is going to hinge on how well health insurance goes in the coming year. If the people that signed up do indeed get coverage and start using it AND the democrats can get the "good news" out even half as effectively as the republicans have trumpeted all of the problems, things should go a lot better. Women especially must think very very carefully about this next election. Seeing what has come out of the house on women's rights is extremely frightening if there was a republican senate to also pass it. I do not understand democratic apathy, this election is incredibly important to this country.

    December 26, 2013 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  22. Tommy G

    The AMerican people are simply fed up with all of the lies coming out of the Democrat Party and especially Obama.

    You simply cannot screw up every American's healthcare insurance after promising not to, and get away without consequences. Obamacare will be in the news during all of 2014 so it will be the gift that keeps on giving, to the Republicans. Obama and Obamacare may render the Democrat Party extinct by 2016.

    December 26, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  23. Robert N. constant

    This poll is not to be trusted. Once again CNN has violated the rules of ethical journalism. It continues to commission political polls to ORC International. ORC International is owned by Lake Capital, which is controlled by TERENCE M GRAUNKE. Mr. Graunke is a major Tea Party Contributor to the Republican Party. Most notably, he withdrew support from Mitt Romney because of Mitt Romney's position on health care.
    At best , ORC International is suspect because of its being controlled by a Tea Party activist. Given the "do whatever it takes" fanaticism of these people, this is completely unacceptable. For CNN to choose such a polling company shows a complete disregard of responsible and ethical journalistic practice or perhaps something worse.

    December 26, 2013 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  24. Name

    The truth.......is now the misspoken truth

    December 26, 2013 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  25. Walt Peterson

    The trick for the Republicans will be to nominate candidates for Congress who won't embarrass them. The media is on the prowl for stupid things Republican candidates say, and one gaff by just one of them becomes a national headline, but they give Democratic candidates a pass whenever one of them says something stupid,

    December 26, 2013 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
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