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

    "We have to pass the law to see whats in the law".

    We've seen it and it feels like oppression.

    It stinks.

    December 26, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  2. charleedog

    Whoever we vote for..must support Israel...must cut taxes...must stop making ppl dependent on a free cheque from the government..must have strong military...stop funding every organization going..and....and.. SET AN EXAMPLE for all of us and cut back on your salaries/benefits/pensions..even if it is 10 percent...lead by example!!!!!
    DONE

    December 26, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  3. G Gedot

    Whenever the dumbocrat base loses their devotion to the cult, , expect filthy hateful class warfare "campaign" tactics to emerge for the "enlightenment" of the public.

    December 26, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  4. kylefromohio

    Sure if you say So CNN!

    December 26, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  5. Dave-0

    Obamacare, the gift that keeps on giving. Go ahead Dems, run on it, we won't let you run from it.

    December 26, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  6. juan767

    they earned it with govt. central planning eg. a 5 year plan or the ACA , doomed to failure because central planning by pointy headed bureaucrats always fails, no one or group can control all the variables as the market can no matter what their IQ or self esteem.

    December 26, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  7. Rick

    And the entire article boils down to two things. CNN is waiting the poll to favor dems and the words "registered voters". It's likely voters that matter for accurate predictions. This entire article is a piece of targeted propaganda. THat's fine, but it's its nonsense and wishful thinking. Barring clearly stolen votes such as in the last presidential election, bussing in illegals to vote in elections where you cant check ID, the Dems are in real trouble, not losing their edge.

    December 26, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  8. cleo48

    Frankly, I don't believe much of it. Statistically, that spread would be portrayed as a "dead heat" during an election. CNN is suggesting it's bad news for the Democrats. Given what I've seen, heard, and have personally experienced in the last ten months, I'd be surprised if these figures are accurate. My instincts tell me it's a whole lot worse. Too many people and their interests, and pocketbooks have been damaged by this government. Friends I know who have been life-long Dems are telling me that their interests, hobbies, of financial conditions have been harmed by this government, and they are finished with it. We'll see.

    December 26, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  9. Cyril

    Yeah whatever! We will see.

    December 26, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  10. kylefromohio

    @ Sparky2

    If that thought makes you feel better, then there you go!, except he was elected twice, with a clear choice against him, explain that!

    December 26, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  11. Jeff

    This isn't anything new, President Bush in his 6th year lost control of the House. This year is shaping up to be what we do as a country. I anticipate President Obama should lose control of the Senate. The GOP will maintain its hold in the House.

    December 26, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  12. Tony

    Two reasons Dems are now down.. 1 Is Obamacare disaster.. 2.... Obama and Dem supported for amnesty for 30 millions illegals which will hurt Americas jobless and working middle class and poor.. 3.. their immigration reform.. also increases foreign workers into the country by the Millions all the while making life worse for Americans..

    December 26, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  13. kylefromohio

    key words in this article is "might be" or they could have said maybe or I think.

    December 26, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  14. Mike in Texas

    For those who come on here and post that the President and Democrats have taken away your freedoms and are oppressing you, please state exactly what freedoms you have had taken away and how you are being oppressed. State what laws have been passed to deny your freedoms and have oppressed you. Back up your claims. You're being called out. It's like math. You have to show the work to get credit.

    December 26, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  15. Mack

    They want small Gubermint until there's a tornader, hurricane, fire, landslide, etc, then the Federal Government can't get there fast enough.

    December 26, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  16. Econ Guy

    Democrats up by 6 points in 2010 and lose 63 House seats. Now down by 5 points? And CNN thinks that's an "edge"? No-it is a disaster which will make the 2010 elections look like a cake walk....

    December 26, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  17. Voiceinthewind

    No one has to wonder why this far right Republicant news outlet or as I call it a propaganda machine favors Republicant's. Like anyone with a brain would vote for a Republicant after their performance.

    December 26, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  18. HeatherMae

    I think it was really the Democrats who overplayed their hand during the government shut down debate refusing to delay something that wasn't ready for prime time and ended up being delayed and wavered as a hardship anyway. The fact that they knew Obamacare wasn't ready and yet fought for it anyway is disgraceful. They would have looked so much better if they would have compromised and reached across the isle.

    December 26, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  19. Mike in Texas

    If you really want to see oppression first hand move to North Korea. Try to make negative comments about their leader and see how long you last. I think telling women what to do with their bodies and trying to force them to have invasive procedures is far more oppressive than requiring people to purchase health care. So if you think that is oppressive then I guess both Presidential Candidates in 2012 are oppressors. Romney just did it at a state level.

    December 26, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  20. Republiker

    More promises of free stuff from the Democrat Freeloader Party will bring out their base for the win. Sad but true.

    December 26, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  21. Gooojooo

    The democratic voters know they don't need to vote to win, the electronic fix is in.

    December 26, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  22. jao44

    Absolutely under no circumstances would I believe these polling numbers. Putting false hope out there is a well used tactic by the left.

    December 26, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  23. Anonymous

    "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."

    Welcome to CNN where truth no longer matters as much as selling a narrative. Albeit a false narrative.

    December 26, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  24. Penarrow

    I think this poll is a good headline and that is all. We cannot sustain another Republican Congress an Americans know this. When it comes time to vote in 2014, Americans will vote and they will disprove the historically claimed tradition of low turnout in off year elections which favors the Republicans. The local and state elections are of special importance and there is an opportunity to bring some of America back towards the center and back on its axis, instead of the off balance "spinning" we have experienced over this past 13 years escalatedin the past 5 years by "our main objective is to defeat Obama" tactics of hate. This will have to be defeated or it will destroy us.

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

    Republicans will have to suppress almost 3 million votes in order to win in 2014. So it will be close.

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