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. Clinton Alexander

    when its all said and done russ u will find out dems will win, I could find a poll easily that would dispute this cnn poll

    December 26, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  2. mtnman28709

    Like that'll help?!

    December 26, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  3. MediaSucks

    Don't forget the fact that POTUS has been exposed as a complete and shameless liar! "If you want to keep your plan ... Blah blah blah". You can't trust the liar or any politician for that matter!

    December 26, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  4. citizenatlarge1

    The Pendulum swings once more. There are profound lessons to be learned here. Not all people who were following Mr. Obama were mindless liberals. They wanted change from a government perceived deaf to the wishes of the people.
    We got change all right, by an administration that is probably the most partisan and divisive in the history of our nation.
    Now it's the Republican's turn. Contrary to what most liberals think, the vast majority of conservatives are not backward intolerant religious zealots. It is imperative that our elected officials, as well as we the voters understand, that whoever is in the Whitehouse MUST govern for ALL Americans. He/she must be a negotiator, a peacemaker, someone who understands compromise and that above all has the courage and wisdom to unify our nation. We will not always agree and that's ok, this is America, it should not make us enemies. And so the pendulum swings again.

    December 26, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  5. Sparky2

    I think what happened is that many young voters realized that they were duped by the mainstream media and elected a 'rock star' rather than a president. Even the media are realizing they made a mistake by being in the tank for Obama. Our country deserves solid adult guidance and republicans in all the states have proven they are the ones who can do it. We all learned a lesson.

    December 26, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  6. Fair and Honest Elections

    The polls shows the responding participants are fair weathers voters. Most likely the same people who will sign up for health care, because they have no heath care. Now they bite the hand offering health care. Foxnews told viewers and listeners Romney was leading in the polls. What happened! President Obama wins, overwhelmingly. Why should be believe the polls? Who are these responding to the polls? Can they think for themselves? This CNN poll displays American voters not able to make a decision, lacking long term planning. This poll indicates a lack of loyalty, a lack of commitment to reasonable planning, Like football fans booing a team with a 10 and 1 record losing at home in the fourth quarter. One has to wonder, who are the Americans responding to the polls? We do not need a poll to tell us, when, what, how, or who. Wake up America, stop being fickle!

    December 26, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  7. Clinton Alexander

    let the teaheads and tea baggers and gop with there humbs in there mouth whinning like little babies cut everything out what we will do is steal what we need and want then go to prison and it costs the taxpayers alott more to keep us locked up so haha we win in the end

    December 26, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  8. Maine Liberal

    The only lies about the ACA are the lies about its failure.
    FACTS
    I still have my employer health insurance plan
    My premiums did not go up
    My co-pays, deductibes and out-of-pocket stayed the same
    I get a 40 dollar per month premium cut from the plan when I had a free "wellness" checkup
    I recieved a full free physical benefit this year

    My employer with the insurance company have more to say about my CARE than I do.

    December 26, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  9. Sheila

    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
    Quit with the "AMERICAN PEOPLE" BS with YOUR reporting "SPIN DOCTORS when there are 319 MILLLION people in AMERICA Thank GOD MOST of us know this
    "Understand how timing is everything. Knowing how to (persuade people) isn't just in words and body language - it's also in knowing the right time to talk to them" and YOUR STATION REACHES MILLIONS more than YOUR SILLY ASRE poll. ,you trying to PRESUADE Folks of a BAGGA SPIN ?.... Ummm Hummm

    December 26, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  10. bluecollarbytes

    Missing from the polls, leading up to mid terms, is the inevitable support of Democratics by nearly all of PopMedia, scheduled to kick in well before the elections.

    December 26, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  11. Tampa Tim

    Anyone who thinks killing bin Laden, having over 8 million jobs created, the market over 16,000, 47 months of economic growth, ending 2 wars while avoiding a third, ACA, equal pay, etc., without a single republican vote is nothing, should be called brain dead.

    December 26, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  12. Joe

    for Tampa Tim...
    Vice the Democrat five years of 7 Trillion Dollars of new debt.... Give me a Kool-Aid moment sir.

    December 26, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  13. America Suckered Again

    Want to see a congress that will get things done to help the American people? So do I. Hopefully this trend continues and Republicans also take a majority in the Senate. This is Obama's best hope for some meaningful progress in 2015 and 2016.

    December 26, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  14. DemoCOWARDSwontANSWER

    What HASN'T the Obama and the DemoKRAP Party lied to America about, and why do democrats want the compulsive serial lying democrats in charge of their children's health?

    December 26, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  15. Tampa Tim

    I noticed a lot of people are posting the right wing hate machine talking lies word for word. Is that plagiarism? Brevet art and the other reptiles would be proud.

    December 26, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  16. Shannon

    How dare CNN submit an other than rosey picture of the political landscape for Democrats.

    December 26, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  17. Tampa Tim

    Oops, Breitbart.

    December 26, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  18. Nameas nicka

    Blah blah blah... for nothing what republican in congress did? Nothing nada zero good luck with the party for nothing!

    December 26, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  19. erocks49ers

    I love how suddenly "polls are meaningless" People were quick to point to polls when Dems had the advantage. Can't have it both ways.

    The numbers are understandable. Repubs warned what would happen, Dems vilified them, and it happened. Now Dems look like liars in the eyes of the voters. The president seems to be less then knowledgeable about the law.

    I don't think the midterms will be a landslide either way, but Dems stand a good chance of losing seats in the senate. Maybe the Republs will lose a few in the house but they will keep the majority

    December 26, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  20. mensa141

    Lets see. From what a lot of the comments supporting the democrats are saying the best we can do is support LGBTs, abortion, birth control, free healthcare, welfare and unlimited unemployment. There is no thought for what most of that does to any society and no thought whatsoever about how it is going to be financed. Sounds just like my children before I taught them better.

    December 26, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  21. Steve

    Anyone that wants a majority of either party controlling the country is insane. A balance of power is the best way to success. Its best to have a democrat in the whitehouse and a republican countrolled house/senate and vice versa. That way, not everyone will be happy, but there will be compromises. If one party controls all, that creates hatred and disfunction. Checks and balances. A one party government throught history has done nothing but create tyranny and problems.

    December 26, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  22. Fair and Honest Elections

    The polls shows the responding participants are fair weathers voters. Most likely the same people who will sign up for health care, because they have no heath care. Now they bite the hand offering health care. Foxnews told viewers and listeners Romney was leading in the polls. What happened! President Obama wins, overwhelmingly. Why should be believe the polls? Who are these responding to the polls? Can they think for themselves? This CNN poll displays American voters not able to make a decision, lacking long term planning. This poll indicates a lack of loyalty, a lack of commitment to reasonable planning, Like football fans booing a team with a 10 and 1 record losing at home in the fourth quarter. One has to wonder, who are the Americans responding to the polls? We do not need a poll to tell us, when, what, how, or who. Wake up America, stop being fickle!

    December 26, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  23. MCW

    Dirty harry and wasserman-schultz both says obamacare will help the dems in 2014. I hope they keep they believing that all the way to the minority.

    December 26, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  24. sundownr

    Is this a joke or just stretching the imagination. Between women, minorities, youth, you name it, the Republican Party is approaching extinction. Fake a poll if you want. It only shows desperation.

    December 26, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  25. Rochester NY

    The operative word here is "early." So many months left for one side or the other to totally step in it. Stay tuned.

    December 26, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
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