CNN Poll: GOP has edge in early midterm indicator
December 26th, 2013
09:00 AM ET
12 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

    If we look at history (mid-term, of a president's second term elections) regardless of party, it supports the opposing party. Add to that there are more democrat seats up for election in the Senate than republican, and many of those seats are in states that voted heavier republican in the 2012 elections, while most republican seats up for election are in strong red states, it does lean strongly towards the republican. Then add all the issues, IRS, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, Obamacare, etc., etc., and it is clear that the dems a a ton of work ahead of them to not lose seats (and very possible enough seats to lose the Senate) in the 2014 elections.

    December 26, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  2. Richard_Iowa

    CNN, which has been carrying water for Obama, the Democrats, and the DNC for quite sometime report that Republicans have a slight lead. Considering CNN's leftist leaning when it comes to reporting, I suspect that the Republicans have a huge lead in the polls.

    December 26, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  3. rs

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

    We've seen it and it feels like oppression.

    It stinks.
    ____________________
    Yup, being responsible for your healthcare and paying your way is real oppression. You realize that particular piece of the law came from the GOP and it's beloved Heritage Foundation, right?

    December 26, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  4. Heisenberg

    Checks and balances. Cause and effect. When everybody got sick of Bush, they elected a Democratic majority. Now everyone is sick of Obama, and will elect a Republican majority. This is the way democracy is supposed to work. All of you fools calling for the destruction of the opposition party are just asking for fascism....

    December 26, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  5. Nap_ster

    See all the HuffPo trolls are still delusional and in denial (not a river in Egypt).

    December 26, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  6. Swedge70

    The thing that cracks me up about the web site flap (and yes, it was bad) is that when google is down, nobody considers google to be a complete failure. If it were anything other than the ACA that suffered such a rollout, there would be comparatively no complaints about it.

    December 26, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  7. E Hunter

    There's hope for America yet.... Too much Govt. cradle to grave care and the people are finally waking up realizing they don't like the "Do as I say not as I do" Liberal take your rights away stinking elitists, about time...

    December 26, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  8. takecareofyourskin

    rs states "the ACA is working."

    Wow. "Denial" just isn't a strong enough word. "Mental illness" perhaps qualifies.

    December 26, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  9. rs

    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..
    ___________
    You're correct about the ACA- the press and the Republicans have successfully pasted it- and it is now a negative.
    The Illegal amnesty charge however is totally bogus. The Senate's bi-partisan bill contains no amnesty, and no one in this administration is calling for it. On your last point, please be reminded that the GOP made Immigration reform a priority 2 years ago- and they got a bill through the Senate. Immigration reform is critical to the GOP's survival. The failure to secure that reform will lose them vote among the legal minority population.

    December 26, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  10. Jhul69

    The S.S. Obamacare continues to take on water and the Democrats are in total denial! Thank you Democrats for this wonderful gift now let the Repbulicans take full control of the Senate and House.

    December 26, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  11. Ken

    The reason is much more than just a botched roll-out or even ObamaCare itself. It's all the LIES the President and his minions (Dem.party) told about keeping coverage, doctors, saving money, and being less expensive.

    December 26, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  12. Jess

    I can't seem to understand how people think that the Democrat and Republican parties are different. The only way to see a better America would be to vote them out of office completely and put in a third party. They have run down our country long enough. The LP would do a much better job and definitely restore our constitution.

    December 26, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  13. Anonymous

    "Hilarious!!!! Absolutely hilarious!!! I really enjoy reading the comments from those discrediting the results of the survey. Demodummies in denial."

    So says Sharron Angle. Who was might I add polling well above Mr. Reid the day before their election. CNN also gave her a fairly significant lead up until election results showed her - oh, I am sorry - showed REID the winner by a significant edge.

    December 26, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  14. Arminius

    Know what extinction smells like?
    It smells like Democrats.
    Enjoy minority status, Harry Reid et al: you're about to experience it for a decade, or so. You've earned it.

    December 26, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  15. redruffansore

    To rs: Listen dear Puppethead supporter, while paying for and being responsible for your own health care might have been a Heritage Foundation idea, it also would have been predicated upon have robust competition in health care which we have NEVER had. Get government out of it and you'lll find you have more choices. Having ONE choice mandated by a dictator is not choice.

    December 26, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  16. False Hope

    Please Sir!!!! Can I have some more of your hope and change!!!!

    December 26, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Once Americans figure out the hypocrisy of the overall argument being made against the PP&ACA, then Republican support will quickly dwindle. You have a party that wants to "Repeal And Replace" a law with absolutely nothing. House Republicans have yet to put one piece of legislation on the floor for a vote that could be remotely described as a replacement.

    Republicans like to complain that the ACA is taking away existing health plans from many millions of people. Just wait until people figure out that the Republican plan to repeal the ACA will mean taking away existing health plans from everyone. Conservatives argue that they don't want to be paying for someone else's health care, when the law actually requires for those same "someone elses" to purchase health care. It would seem Republicans would rather pay for "someone else's" health care by paying more for health care services, instead of capping health care expenses to an annual maximum.

    December 26, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  18. John

    >>>> 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.

    Wanna know who WILL be there? The Tea Party.

    December 26, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  19. jnsesq

    Nah... Those inept, Democrat-enabling panderers will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory as they generally do. And if they don't, with but the scantest few of exceptions, they'll go on to behave like Democrats Lite.

    December 26, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  20. Name jdtuck

    R u kidding yourself this poll is like the one u had during the last election u see who won don't u. U neglect the majority of American people who r middle class struggling u see what republicans did with shutdown of govt do u really think we will vote for people who don't give a damn about anyone but themselves and being elected

    December 26, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  21. rs

    So the ACA forced Americans to do something. They must now buy insurance. That is taking away your freedom and your choice – don't come back and give me why they did it, that's not what you asked. You asked for proof of our freedoms being taken away and the ACA is just that.
    __________
    But Tom, you conveniently ignore that the so-called "personal responsibility clause" was taken directly from the GOP's 1990s vintage health care reform, right? It is in the ACA because the GOP and the Heritage Foundation demanded it. As far as the so-called lost freedom, you're kidding right? Americans should have the freedom FROM affordable Health Care? Who in the world does that benefit?
    You are simply parroting the worst idiocy of the Right- you know where freedom means the Right legislating your sexual preference, your ability to have or not have a child, or to have or not have invasive medical procedures or drug tests. Utter nonsense that I suspect you cannot even believe.

    December 26, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  22. Dead bear

    I'm still not voting for the GOP... Their views do not represent mine.

    December 26, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  23. whatever1784

    this poll shows gop with the edge, another poll shows the gop led congress with the lowest rating in history?

    December 26, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  24. Andrew

    Things could change in the next 10 months. Most people don't start really caring abut an election until August or even September. The news concentrates to much on politics and less on actual news. It's time we all stop whinning about stupid crap. Go live your lives.. Stop giving the media what it wants – angry voters divided over non-issues.. All they want is to scare you into believing more crap from Fox News to CNN.. It's all a farce.

    December 26, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  25. Jamison

    Hey all you 60,000,000 Americans:
    "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan."

    December 26, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
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