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. Jason

    Yes, it was men with White Guilt, that elected Obama in the first place.

    December 26, 2013 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  2. Rick

    CNN loves to put out this sort of misinformation, they think it makes for more viewers and readers rergardless how outrageous it is. Just as Romney had "a clear advantage", there is no way that the GOP/Tea party have a national advantage in anything no matter what anyone says and they know it.

    December 26, 2013 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  3. pat

    This poll is meaningless. It is an emotional response to a situation that may not even exist in 6 months, much less 10. If Obamacare turns out to be the disaster that Republicans would love to believe, then there will be trouncing for Democrats, but I personally doubt it. The ACA isn't pretty, but it is the only girl in town, so with a little lipstick and a good girdle, the country will date her for a while... at least until the Republicans come up with an idea other than "Obamacare is bad". ACA is not all that anyone would wish, but it is here, it is working (after a fashion) and it beats anything – or more accurately – the nothing that the Republicans are proposing.

    Democrats have lot of time to louse it up even more and that will have consequences,\. However, I am betting that Republicans love the taste of their own shoes so much, that doubtless they will say things, oppose just about everything, and attempt to pass laws that disgust us out of any desire to reelect any them, let alone elect more of them. I just wish there was a non-crazy third party alternative (no thanks, Libertarians – I have seen your schtick and you do not qualify for the non-crasy criterial)

    December 26, 2013 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  4. Richard

    The American voting public is still thinking that it matters which part of the demopublican party is in control. They are both very much in favor of gargantuan government. The Libertarian Party needs to be included in the poll, and they need to poll much higher. Otherwise, this nation is going to cave in even further under the weight of massive systemic corruption and plunder. Only a smarter and more liberty minded voting public can save us. Time to wake up people.

    December 26, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  5. No1Uknow

    The GOP better purge itself of RINO and fake Conservatives or it doesn't stand a chance ...and that spineless Weeper of The House HAS GOT TO GO!

    December 26, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    I wonder how many of these newly found, "small government" neo-libertarians realize that they are simply being used by the wealthy and big business to weaken government to the point of ineffectiveness. And once the federal government rendered inert, then they will start on the state and local governments, until all of us living as serfs under imperial capitalist rule, led by an elite society of aristocrats.

    If there are any genuine libertarians in this country, then they would be people like the Quackers living in central Pennsylvania and other similar groups. Most of these neo-libertarians would shocked to discover just how liberal thinking that some of those isolated communities actually are. Some would call them socialists because of their common good lifestyles.

    December 26, 2013 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  7. Enigmatic1

    I would love to know who they polled because the recent election indicators say different. I guess the Repubs are pulling out all the stops. The GOP is losing ground and seats in every election I've watched so far. Most seasoned political analysts agree on the idea that Virginia is a good indicator of the national path of thinking and they just elected a democratic candidate who was not strong at all and has a number of holes in his campaign however; he unseated a VERY Popular GOP incumbent who was one of the high ranking leaders of the GOP. I doubt that people have forgotten the GOP shutdown and I believe the GOP will be help accountable for it over the next few years. If they're lucky, they will just begin to earn forgiveness in 2016 however; they will not do well that year either and will not take the WhiteHouse. We are more likely to see the GOP win in 2020. Two factors that obviously played a part in this poll is that they polled the GOP party itself (Only 49% of it's own party would vote for them which makes sense because of all the Tea Party trouble) and that the Dems took a hit so their polls are at a low right now. Give it a month and we will see those numbers change drastically. The 2014 midterms will be a big win for dems.

    December 26, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  8. TmX

    there is no way that the GOP/Tea party have a national advantage in anything no matter what anyone says -

    Ha, we have a zealot here. Feels like Ric is fighting for his share of other people's money.

    December 26, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  9. Martha in CF

    Stupid polls. If the American public is dumb enough that they haven't understood the GOP obstructions there is something wrong here. They must be watching FAUX news....scary

    December 26, 2013 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  10. DAT

    The sad fact is most people never learn. Heck, I still can't believe Dubya won a second term!

    December 26, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  11. Mack

    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.

    December 26, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  12. Jack

    And seriously, they make this the congress of do nothing or block everything, shut it down and make the US look like fools on the international stage, yet Americans think they would run the country better. This is why I have lost all faith in my country.

    December 26, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  13. Tom1940

    Several Political Commentators/Contributors, who ran or were closely associated with Presidential Campaigns/Elections have stated it correctly. "It is an "eternity", between now and Election Day 2014. Anything can happen!" (I agree. And it probably will).

    December 26, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  14. Damian Cruz

    "A CNN/ORC International survey released Thursday also indicates that President Barack Obama may be dragging down Democratic"

    Maybe? The Democratic Party is the Titanic.
    Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the band playing classic music...

    Barack Obama is the iceberg

    My prediction – Republicans increase the Congressional seat count by 5. Republicans gain control of the senate by a count of 53-47. Manchin will try to save his political life and jump ship over the Rep camp

    December 26, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  15. Clinton Alexander

    ur cnn poll is stupid a lie, u wont post the one poll I have cuz cnn don't want another poll disputing there poll

    December 26, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  16. Andy

    The (D) in Democrat stands for Dictator.

    December 26, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  17. Doc

    Can this poll be serious?????? Who got us into this mess in the first place....ultra conservative Republicans! Truthfully, I would vote both parties out and start fresh if I could. But surely the American people will not elect a party that has ruined our world reputation.

    December 26, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  18. Ed

    If there were no "R's" the U.S. would be like Venezuela right now. If there were no "D's" we would still have all our basic freedoms intact.

    December 26, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  19. Tim

    It's much easier to go downhill then to climb uphill, although the elections are just over 10 full months away the Dems have a long way to climb.

    December 26, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  20. Clinton Alexander

    Martha the cnn poll is stupid, we all know gop is going to get there buts whipped

    December 26, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  21. Somebody

    I'll vote Democrat, but I'll vote for the primary opponent in the primary. I think all incumbents must go, regardless of party.

    December 26, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  22. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Keep fooling yourself Steinhauser. Republicans have done absolutely nothing for the public to view them favorable. Just a bunch of bad press and misinformation on the PPACA is the only thing helping the GOTP. Besides for that, they have absolutely nothing to show for their time in Congress except for a downgrade of our credit rating and a government shutdown.

    December 26, 2013 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  23. Toc7

    It's time women smarten up!!! Voting in the most ruinous POTUS in the history of the United States because they want gay marriage, free birth control and 2nd and 3rd term abortions was incredibly short sited, selfish and stupid.

    December 26, 2013 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  24. Brian

    Considering the Gerrymandering of so many districts, it will probably be more of the same after the 2014 elections. "Throw the bums out"...except for my representative.

    December 26, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  25. Jack Thomas

    Time to kick all the progressive liberal fascists out of office and take back our country from this vermin!

    December 26, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
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