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

    The good new is there is a solution to elected officials that do nothing:

    ELECTIONS. You fire them in the next election and hire someone else. Whoever is running against the incumbent gets your vote. Nothing gets a politician's attention like the possibility they will lose their cushy job. And 100% of Congress in both Houses need to lose their jobs. They have not earned their pay and are not worth keeping in Washington. Can 'em and start over.

    December 26, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    All that Democrats need to do to defeat the Republicans is hold up social agenda carrot in front of them, and they will drive themselves right over the cliff, just like they did in 2012.

    December 26, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  3. kylefromohio

    Sure if you say so!

    December 26, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  4. EXFL

    People get the type of government that they deserve. If they vote for a party that stands against the very notion of having a federal government then they should not be surprised that their representatives go to Washington with the intent of doing nothing at all.

    December 26, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  5. Guido Viviani

    GOP will win in a landslide! These polls are always tilted towards democrats.

    After all look at the job the DEMOCRATS have done with Benghazi, Syria, Iran, employment, economy, healthcare, government transparency, our debt, inflation, NSA, IRS, GSA and the fact that we've lost every ally we've had for decades.

    December 26, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  6. Mauloa

    Obviously Obama is an albatross in a massive way for 2014 – however any Democrat that voted for Obamacare shot themselves in their foot and cannot place blame on Obama. America wants to "cleanse themselves" from this activist group in Congress and the White House – who have brought "HELL" down upon the American people. CNN – you played a huge part in hyping Obamacare and Candy Crowley was the evil witch during the debates that also made Obamacare the "gift" that will keep on giving. Democrats and the liberal media will find what they have created during 2014.

    December 26, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  7. Enigmatic1

    Who did they poll... the Tea Party?

    December 26, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  8. tom l

    @Rudy
    "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."

    =====

    So only if you're hardline are you "genuine". Your post shows just how ignorant you are of libertarians and the way they feel. So, just to let you know, with your little example you either knowingly omit one piece of huge information or are just completely ignorant. Guess what's missing in your little example of the Quakers and your "isolated communities" example (which doesn't really exist but you like to make things up to try and prove your point)????

    Do you know what's NOT in the equation? It's called "government'. Libertarians are for small govt, not NO govt as you falsely claim. Libertarians recognize there is a role for govt. Stop being so intellectually dishonest.

    December 26, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  9. mainepotter

    The GOPTP will keep talking and this too shall pass.

    December 26, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  10. Maine Liberal

    This would be important news : if there were any "generic" republicans running. Once you put a Name to the republicans thay have no chance. The teaparty with its strict dogma has destroyed the once moderate and reasonable party of Reagan, Eisenhower even nixon .

    December 26, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  11. ned schmidt

    Obama and Reid have destroyed the Democratic party.

    The Democratic party is no longer of lasting importance.

    It will fade into history as have all socialist movements.

    It has no place in the future.

    December 26, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  12. freddy4life

    The MAJORITY of those voting WILL be voting AGAINST the President and his LIBERAL non-patriotic party.

    December 26, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  13. iratenate

    Jason; it was actually millennials that put Obama in the White House. Twice.

    December 26, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  14. Russ

    If CNN is admitting the GOP has an edge then it must be substantial. Those who refuse to believe that the Left could be behind ignore that the last election was so close it was most likely able to be stolen in several key states.

    Rick, by the time the next election rolls around, there will be so many Americans with no health insurance, or much more expensive insurance, or worse coverage, do you think they will reward the people who gave it to them despite knowing we did not want it? "Gee honey, our health insurance costs us $400 a month more than it used to. Let's keep voting for those Democrats!" The number of voters who will be helped by the ACA pales compared to the huge numbers of millions whose insurance costs or situation are about to take a huge turn for the worse.

    Pat, you know you would never vote for a Republican anyhow so their "laws that disgust out out of any desire to re-elect any of them" is just an excuse for you to keep voting for this same garbage who for the most part controls things now, the Democrats.

    December 26, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  15. benharry

    If anyone thinks that the USA can continue on this pace Obama has set for us, then you are either ill-informed or a racist.
    My daughter is 27; has 2 Masters Degrees and owes well over $125,000 in debt and earns $48,000 per year.
    In Massachusetts Welfare Recipients, along with their Obama phones earn well over $52,000...

    Vote: "YES" – If we should immediately reduce these benefits... Vote "NO" – If we should continue as is.

    December 26, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  16. JB

    Voters have only to look at downtrodden Wisconsin to see the complete failure of republican capitalistic policy. No woman would ever vote republican trash into office ever again.

    December 26, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  17. Tampa Tim

    The republicans gave us the great income disparity of the 1890s, the Great Depression, the income disparity of 2000+, the great recession of 2008, TARP, unnecessary wars, unneeded tax cuts for the wealthy, unpaid for drug programs, and two thirds of our national debt, while alienating 70% of our population. And people want more of that crap?

    December 26, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  18. Joe

    The Demwits on this site just shine with their steady drone of hatred for any person who do not agree with their big government lies and tirades. It's doesn't take too much thought to spread hatred versus solutions to the problems they have created these past five years. 2014 will be a banner year for those opposing all the Democrats have foisted on the American Voter. If we can't change it this year, then one party rule will become the fact of the land and a national socialist state will not be far behind.

    December 26, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  19. Tampa Tim

    I forgot to add the great republican government shutdown that cost $24 billion.

    December 26, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  20. Joe

    The Demwits on this site just shine with their steady drone of hatred for any person who do not agree with their big government lies and tirades. It's doesn't take too much thought to spread hatred versus solutions to the problems they have created these past five years. 2014 will be a banner year for those opposing all the Democrats have foisted on the American Voter. If we can't change it this year, then one party rule will become the fact of the land and a national socialist state will not be far behind.

    December 26, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  21. TeaParty4Life

    Democrats are rightfully doomed!! The party of no morals or values will define the demoncats for generations to come.

    December 26, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  22. Tampa Tim

    Libertarians are the true something for nothing crowd.

    December 26, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  23. Russ

    Enigmatic1 said "Who did they poll... the Tea Party?"

    You know they didn't because they never do. Polls aren't meant to tell us what we think, they are meant to try and convince us that we think a certain way. You don't have to be in the Tea Party to have your insurance go up hundreds of dollars a month, or to have your better cheaper plan dropped because Obamacare requires it to insure you against things you can't possibly get. This is happening to a lot more people than are coming out ahead under ACA.

    Get your news from places without a clear bias in favor of the Democrats and you might hear about some of that.

    December 26, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  24. Tom Tucker

    Maybe people are simply getting tired of being forced to embrace every immorality while denying basic freedoms and truths...and pretending that America is progressing forward. Maybe we are just tired of the liberal National Socialism that has been forced down our throats.

    December 26, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  25. Prospector

    Good Citizens, have the oceans begun to recede, yet?

    December 26, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
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