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

    I don't think it's an issue... You know, which party is "in control" of business as usual. The Democrats and Republicans are not competing political parties.. They are a dynasty, and no good can from from the US government until they are gone.

    December 26, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  2. Mack

    Ok That guy, please name one thing the Republicans have done that has helped the poor or the middle class in the last 30 years? They nearly destroyed the country during Bush's reign. Tricke on economics doesn't work. Time to try something else.

    December 26, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  3. Stupid

    365 million people in this country, they talk to 1000 NATIONWIDE and try and make it seem like a legit poll?

    Maybe I don't understand how polling works, but if this is it...then its more useless than congress has been lately.

    With the gerrymandered districts its unlikely there will much if any movement (party wise) in Washington for a long while. And with the needing 60 votes to get anything passed a filibuster thing going on, Washington is totally screwed until they get some people up there not acting like spoiled 2 year olds when they don't get there way.

    December 26, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  4. Brian

    Although I lean Democrat I do agree with many of the criticisms of Obama care and domestic economy affairs. However, if you care about foreign relations and you care about the potential collapse of our environment you may want to stay away from hard core conservatives..

    December 26, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  5. tom l

    @deavyin
    "Let me get this straight: Americans call this a "do nothing congress" they accept that it's due to partisan gridlock and they put the blame for the partial shut down at the feet of the GOP and their Tea Party show runners. Yet, they would be willing to give both houses of congress to the republicans because the affordable care act had a bad website? My god...i guess we get the congress we deserve. Let's let the Tea Party just slash and burn our government and raze it to the ground. Good bye social safety net."

    ====

    It has nothing to do with the website and everything to do with a flawed law. No matter how many bandaids Obama tries to put on the ACA it is in desperate need of a tourniquet...

    December 26, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  6. Jared Daub

    Hmm... that's funny, I'm neither rich, nor a moron, so I guess I just don't "fit" your stereotypical view of what a conservative is. Fact is I LOVE smaller government, and I think in 2014 we should clean house and start new. I hate the "big" government push the democratic party has going on, especially with obamacare. But I also hate the "republicans" like McCain and Graham who totally deviate from what they say they stand for. We will clean house for the better. Problems exist on both sides, and while I personally align with the republican side more, I will not call myself a republican, I am free to think and to decide what principals I want in office, and not all line up with some on my own side, and those who have proven ineffective I will not be voting for. I vote for freedom. Freedom to protect my family how I choose, freedom to buy what I choose, freedom to spend, freedom to save, freedom to create a business, freedom to fail if I choose, and I vote for a small government, and powers being rested in the states..

    December 26, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  7. T E X A S

    Centrist Republicans might be OK as long as the Tea Party has zero influence.

    December 26, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  8. Tom

    Remember people. Obamacare is brought to you by Democrats. They wrote it, they sold it, they lied about it, they wrote the 2600 plus pages of legislation and the 60,000 plus pages of regulations (so far), they screwed with election rules in New Jersey to put Frank Lautenberg on the ballot when Bob Torecelli had to resign in disgrace, thereby negating Scott Brown's "no" vote, they passed this thing without reading it, on Christmas Eve, with zero Republican votes. Now many of them are acting as if none of that ever happened. Do not be fooled people. Do not vote for a Democrat in 2014. Also, third party candidates are being used to help defeat Republicans. It just happened in Virginia where, it turns out, the Libertarian candidate was funded by one of Obama's bundlers. Do not vote 3rd party–it is like voting for a Democrat. Vote Republican in 2014 and 2016 and this abomination will go away.

    December 26, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  9. Cneder

    If the GOP can't win off of the disaster that is OWEbamacare, then they don't deserve to be the party in power.

    December 26, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  10. mike

    Obama the chronic liar makes it easy for the GOP

    December 26, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  11. Joe Casey

    I think some democrats will be actually be..."happy, happy, happy" to hear this, because it is the only way to stop, or at least slow, the progressive's take over of their party.

    December 26, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  12. Anonymous

    The most unpopular Congress in the history of the United States is being polled by one of the most unpopular news organizations in the United States and the results are in. The lowest polling political party in the history of the United States now has a "slight" edge. Uh huh. And less than a year and half ago Mitt Romney was going to win it all in a landslide. Or so said Pew, FOX, and a host of other media polling including CNN.

    December 26, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  13. BRoss

    Ha! Once again CNN refuses to release the entire poll.

    Oh, and in this same poll ... while 54 percent said Republicans in Congress would move the country in the wrong direction.

    Either the author of this piece has NO CLUE "how" to make conclusions from a poll or the guy is just full of - you know what

    December 26, 2013 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  14. osu84

    The Republicans may be bumblers but they've done their level best to block the idiocy coming out of the WH for the past five years.

    December 26, 2013 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  15. Don Butler

    Holy Shmoly! I will alert the dirty stinking lying weasel boy.

    December 26, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  16. billbfit

    Sorry leftists, Obingo has ruined your dreams of the next USSR.

    December 26, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  17. jose 17

    GOP campaign of lies and deception is working as planned. The most unproductive and obstructionist congress in history and voters are planning to reward the GOP who has led this congress into oblivion? Unbelievable how stupid the American voter has become. I guess I'm in the minority of voters who has turned away from the GOP, but absolutely no regrets.

    December 26, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  18. blakenaustin

    No one should be surprised. Obama is a compulsive liar and the worst president in American history. Obama's cabinet is as corrupt and scandal ridden as he is. Reid and Pelosi are an embarassment to the Democrats. ObamaCare is a nightmare. The far left's agenda and values are dangerous and foolish. The only surprise is that it is not a 5-1 GOP advantage. Probably would be if the RINOs were ousted from the GOP.

    December 26, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  19. IntheMiddle

    I'm voting against anyone currently in office, regardless of party as they are both alike.

    December 26, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  20. jinx9to88

    Just like the GOP bloggers say on here, "I don't believe CNN polls".

    December 26, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  21. john

    Their all need to be re-place in Congress in2014

    December 26, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  22. Dan

    This should be no surprise after this year.

    December 26, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  23. Joan

    Send your emails and call your representatives. Amnesty can change the game entirely. If you oppose it, you have to voice your concerns in a responsible manner. Complaining from the couch will not work. Your representatives need to know where you stand.

    December 26, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  24. Ex Democrat

    To Linda and all the others likely paid by the DNC. It was hardly the GOP that got us into financial trouble. The insane Clinton era housing rules did more to screw up the economy than anything the GOP did.
    Banks were forced – by democrats – to make bad loans to minorities or face prosecution. The DNC fought every meaningful piece of reform W attempted. Yes, that same DNC that now complains the House is blocking Obama.
    If we had a president who could lead as good as he runs his mouth, we'd be in better shape.
    Obama will go down as the affirmative action president.

    December 26, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  25. rlr4818

    If the GOP takes over the senate and holds the house, you can thank the heavy handed "affordable" healthcare cat, AKA, Obamacare.

    December 26, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
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