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

    Didn't some poll say a Rep. candidate was leading President Obama sometime around this time in 2011? Hahahahahaha...

    December 26, 2013 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  2. Adam

    I always vote for whomever does what they say they will do. How else can one know who to vote for? If you repeatedly lie I will not vote for you. Obama has failed miserably on almost every campaign promise he made. My taxes went up, the debt went up, the poor are much poorer, and my insurance is now 220 dollars more than it was with a deductible that has doubled and my prescriptions now don't count against my deductible!!!! Every single thing that made me vote for him was a lie. I've worked more hours every year since he took office just to stay afloat and I don't see it getting any better. The middle class is sinking while the rich are getting richer and the government prints money and pumps it into the stock market so the wealthy can make more and more and people like me now have no retirement funds left. Lie after lie after lie.

    December 26, 2013 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  3. tbone

    Republicans will lose again...it is inevitable... they stink.

    December 26, 2013 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  4. Mr.HowdyDoody

    OK, so it looks like we have Dems saying the economy is gettign better thus the Dems will keep voting for Dems. Then they blame Republicans for all the poor people and the continuing stuggle of the poor and that it's republicans fault for the sagging economy and the poor people?
    Which is it? If the economy is doing good, why are there more and more people on welfare?

    December 26, 2013 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  5. texasnotea

    Gop'ers are a bunch of whining crybaby's lost in their own lies. If you just take the time to watch fake fox for fifteen minutes and hear the cavalcade of nonsense and misinformation that streams endlessly from talking heads who are paid to say these things to make the flock believe Obama is the problem you can see exactly where the problem lies. The misinformation somehow is magically transformed into what they believe to be the truth and then spread like cow manure across the blogosphere. After a while, even the mainstream media has difficulty sorting the lies from the truth The gop is subscribing to the theory " If you can't win by telling the truth, then baffle them with BS" Unfortunately it is working and America will pay a bitter price if they should win back the White House.

    December 26, 2013 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  6. Jeff Crouse

    Huffington post is a co conspirator with the Obama administration in turning the United States into a third world dictatorship. Their lack of coverage of the corruption in the Obama administration is criminal.

    December 26, 2013 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  7. Thomas

    Unemployment down , stock market up over 18 , the housing market stabilizing , more us car sales then pre recession.

    Where's the jobs . was the battle cry of the TEAGOPs , Now it's the Affordable Healthcare Act , on the first Tuesday of every month it's Benghazi .

    What's next , GREEN EGGS AN HAM .

    December 26, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  8. mike johnson

    ...you are all wrong .. it makes no difference whether D:s or R:s are in charge ... they are both corrupt ... bought and paid for

    December 26, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  9. navaJohn

    How quickly they forget.

    December 26, 2013 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  10. js_biggs

    Obamacare is the ever tightening noose around the fascists in the Democrat party. The official lie of the year – "READ MY LIPS!"....."If you like your health insurance you can keep it"

    December 26, 2013 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  11. SCIP

    DEMS will get slaughtered next Nov. They OWN 0bamaCare. House and Senate will be under Republican control. 0bama will be impeached. Democrats will be black sheep of DC for many years. Thank You Pres 0bama!!!!!

    December 26, 2013 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  12. Chuck

    It's amazing that I had to find this story on Drudge Report. Didn't see it anywhere on CNN.com. It's obvious that they will continue to CONDUCT polls, but only report on those that are favorable to their liberal thought process.

    December 26, 2013 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  13. Boston Bill

    Even the libs in this bastion of Political Correctness join with CNN's assessment that the party is over. As for Obamacare, you only need to know two things to know its a loser: 1.) the very fools who enacted it are exempt from its provisions, and 2.) Even if it actually get implemented, Illegal Aliens will still get 'free' medical care at every emergency room in the country.

    December 26, 2013 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  14. eyesfrontmen

    That any men vote for the feminist democrat party is insane. The 35% is probably manginas conspiring in their own destruction. Unfortunately, the white night Republicans don't offer much help to encourage them to reform and vote their interests, just as they continue to betray us in the fight against the feminist dystopia engulfing our republic.
    If the republicans would strap on a set and fight the feminists which power the democrat agenda, they might start restoring the republic and winning elections.

    December 26, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  15. Disgruntled

    Nonsense. The GOP has already decided to lose the next election by attacking their own base. Apparently they'd rather lose than be expected to actually listen to their voters.

    What should be a slam-dunk crushing victory will be a humiliating defeat because of the idiocy of the republican establishment. I hope they're proud of themselves, for the disasters they've let this nation get rammed down our throats. They can all burn in hell, for all I care.

    Life-long registered republican here, BTW.

    December 26, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  16. Liz the First

    I hope the American people stop listening to what the repugs say and start watching what they DO! their actions, and their inaction, tell their true feelings. they say they support our troops, but they send them to die in illegal wars, then do nothing to help them when they get home. they say they want people to take personal responsibility and then slam the ACA, which is all about personal responsibility. they say they want to reach out to minorities, but block any meaningful immigration reform. i could go on and on about their hypocrisy, but i can't type that long. if this country leaves the House in the hands of these incompetent hypocrites, we deserve for this country to go down the drain. and Bud, since you will never vote for a liberal again, guess that means you wouldn't vote for JESUS if he ran for office!

    December 26, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  17. John

    What do we miss most?
    .....9/11?
    .....Shock and Awe of Baghdad?
    .....Real Estate Collapse in 2006?
    .....Wall Street Collapse in 2007
    .....TARP in Oct. 2008?
    .....4 trillion $ drop in stock market in 8 years?
    Just is it about the above that we miss the most from the good ole GOP "in contol" days?

    December 26, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  18. Lee McBride

    It's way too early to tell what will happen next November of 2014, however, if ACA continues to unfold as badly as it has so far, this could spell disaster for the democrats. Late next year the ACA employer mandate will result in insurance cancellation notices going out to millions more of Americans – right before the mid-term elections. Ironically, President Obama's signature legislation could turn out to be "the gift that keeps on giving" to the GOP.

    December 26, 2013 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  19. Bud Smoker

    The GOP has the advantage in the all you can eat contest at you local Wendy's. Really folks we should get serious about Obama ma-ma care. We can reform Social Security by starving off the elderly and slaughtering cripples like myself. Then we can lower the minimum wage down to like $2 an hour after we sink the stock market like we did the last time. We can do all of this and more while we help the people who really need it, the wealthy.

    December 26, 2013 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  20. Az_outlaw

    I expect the gap to widen even further for the GOP come closer to elections. The NSA spying, Benghazi, Syria, Fast and the Furious, IRS targeting conservatives, and the dismal failure that Obamacare is will doom the democrats. Not to mention the numerous lies told by this president.

    If you like your health care insurance, you can keep it. Period! Obama only got elected due to being able to organize the numerous low information voters who expect handouts.

    December 26, 2013 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  21. badtobone

    Welcome to a repeat of 2010 .only in congress this lime

    December 26, 2013 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  22. Donald George MacDonald

    The worth and validity of our democracy
    can be measured by the worthiness of actions by our leaders
    elected to carry out the will of "we the people."

    So the most important questions we should ask:

    Are “we the people”
    empathetic and reasonable enough
    to be qualified to elect our representatives
    who can repair our nation and our world?

    December 26, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  23. Jim

    After these past ten years, how can the GOP have an edge? They have done the bidding of Corporations that have off shored jobs and gotten tax breaks because of it? When will we learn?

    December 26, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  24. Larry

    Solid proof once again of the stupidity of American voters. If the GOP gets more than 5% of the vote millions of people voted against themselves – AGAIN. The party of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich thanks you from the bottom of their thick wallets:)

    December 26, 2013 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  25. stan bamberg

    How can 44% or 39% still support Obama and the Dems? We have 5 years of current empirical evidence the fool's policies are not working. So we are supposed to join the lemmings in their jump off the cliff into the sea? That is what CNN, MSNBC and the alphabet networks want us to do. No thank you! FREEDOM!!!

    December 26, 2013 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
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