CNN/ORC Poll illustrates Democrats turnout problem
June 23rd, 2014
11:07 AM ET
4 months ago

CNN/ORC Poll illustrates Democrats turnout problem

Washington (CNN) -- It's the biggest question surrounding this year's midterm elections: how many people will turn out to vote?

The answer is crucial, because a smaller, more typical midterm electorate should favor the Republican Party. That's because single women, and younger and minority voters, who are big supporters of Democrats in presidential election years, tend to cast ballots in smaller numbers in the midterms.

That's the problem facing Democrats this November, as they try to hold onto their 55-45 majority in the Senate (53 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party). The party is defending 21 of the 36 seats up this year, with half of those Democratic-held seats in red or purple states. In the House, the Democrats need to pick up a very challenging 17 Republican held seats to win back the majority from the GOP.

A CNN/ORC International poll released Monday illustrates the turnout dilemma for the Democrats.

In the generic ballot question, the Democrats have a two percentage point 47%-45% edge over the Republicans among registered voters. The generic ballot asks respondents to choose between a Democrat or Republican in their congressional district without identifying the candidates.

But when looking only at those who say they voted in the 2010 midterms – when the GOP won back the House thanks to a historic 63-seat pick up and narrowed the Democrats' control of the Senate – Republicans have a four-point 49%-45% edge.

"Younger Americans, women and non-whites score low on questions that ask them whether they are likely to vote. But on questions about how interested they are in the 2014 elections, women are not much different than men, non-whites are not that much different than whites, and people under 35 years old are not much different than people between 35 and 65 years of age," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "The task for the Democrats is not to get those voters to pay attention to this year's election - the party faces the much more difficult task of turning that attention into enthusiasm for voting."

Two caveats: The margins are within the poll's sampling error. And the while the generic ballot is a much watched midterm indicator, the battle for Congress is not one race but instead 471 individual Senate and House contests across the country.

2014 Midterm Elections: Complete Coverage

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International May 29-June 1, with 1,003 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for registered voters and plus or minus four percentage points for self-described 2010 voters.


Filed under: 2014 • CNN/ORC International poll • CNN/ORC poll
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Lynda/Minnesota

    "The answer is crucial, because a smaller, more typical midterm electorate should favor the Republican Party."

    Well, yes. Taking all the polls together and munching up the numbers still won't get folks out to vote. Thus bringing to conclusion the "will they or won't they turn out and vote" talking points before anyone has cast the first vote. Thing is, we really won't know until election day, now will we?

    But, hey. Good for clutch my pearls hand-wringing doom and gloom prophesy.. Or something equally silly.

    June 23, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  2. Winston Smith

    Regardless of the circumstance, vote. Whether any of you realize this, it is one of your most fought for, and died for freedoms. No one can truly call themselves American, unless they exercise their right to vote. It's your voice of freedom.

    June 23, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  3. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    That's right. Keep thinking we're not going to turn out, you're going to get an even bigger surprise than election night 2012. Keep lulling your people into a false sense of security. More useless polling to try and deter us but it's actually having the opposite effect.

    June 23, 2014 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  4. RandyIA

    My belief, 2016 is determined by 2014. If the Reps take the Senate in 2014, they take the white house in 2016. If they don't take the Senate, the White House goes to the Dems in 2016. Not only that, but they will lose the Senate big in 2016. The House belongs to the Reps for the foreseeable future. Reason behind this is pretty simple if they take the Senate and Obama, or the Dem minority, refuse to sign, or filibuster Rep legislation, the obstructionist title the Dems are using now, switches to the Dems.

    June 23, 2014 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  5. smith

    No surprise here. Alot of Dem voter only care about the big dance, mid-terms and local elections bore them. Whats all the gab about these days? Hil. Clinton and 2016 not the 2014 mid-terms.

    June 23, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  6. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    President Romney approves this message.....✌️

    June 23, 2014 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  7. Chris-E...al

    If i were a democrat i would switch and vote republican if you need and would like to keep your money . Money is to hard to make and keep under dem leadership . And the dems have got a plan on how you are going to spend Y0URs .

    June 23, 2014 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  8. Thomas

    This is good news for Louie Gohmert !

    Is there anyway we could talk Michele Bachmann into one more term ?

    June 23, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  9. Bb8371

    Someone needs to explain to The VP, he does not contribute to his pension, it is paid for by the American people, as is his salary. That congress so freely increases, without the approval of the American people. He is comparing his lack of saving or stock to the American people... REALLY. !!! Hardworking People lost their 401k and pension during the financial crisis, everyone lost except the US government officials.. Sadly you could be the worst representative and still get a pension for life Pension is not a good description...he will get his full salary for the rest of his life.. When the American people talk pension it is a percentage of your pay based on the years employed.. No where near the last amount you were paid... I am not sure what point he was trying to make, but all he did was validate how out of touch they are...

    June 23, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  10. smith1

    vote in the midterms. !!!! get rid of the do nothing repos and the teaparty morons. Vote Vote!

    June 23, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  11. Tony

    RandyIA, 2016 has nothing to do with 2014. More Republican Senate seats will be in play in 2016, which should guarantee a Democratic Senate, no matter what happens in 2014. Democrats will turn out in 2016. Actually, other than some people predicting that Democrats won't turn out in 2014, no one knows for sure how Democrats will turn out in 2014. The voting has not happened yet. People (or should I say Republicans) have been predicting the failure of Obamacare since 2010, and it still has not happened. Most importantly, Republicans have no one who can match up with Hillary Clinton. Actually, Republicans have no one who can match up with a reasonable Democratic candidate. No reasonable Republican has a shot at the Republican nomination.

    June 23, 2014 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  12. Bill from GA

    Here in Georgia we are voting for a Senator and a Governor.

    Unfortunately, that still won't be enough to get out the lazy Dems.

    June 23, 2014 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  13. Dead Bear

    There may be some truth to what they say about the disconnect among Democrat voters during midterm elections but there are other factors that should be considered when trying to determine the level of participation this November. PA, for example, does not have Senators up for re-election and the incumbent representing the Congressional district in which I live is running unopposed

    June 23, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  14. Stuffitu

    Poor democrat liberals have been lied to so much by the most corrupt president in history, they are scared of making another mistake.

    June 23, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  15. old age voter

    It's not a turn out problem; its a Democratic Party policy problem, we have seem 6 years of failure and we the people are tired of the Democratic Party lies and a president that never stops lying.

    June 23, 2014 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  16. Lily

    This poll looks like a special Ad to Dems. There is no Dem who is thinking right, will sit at home come November, while they have been watching everything is going further South, and the Taliban T/Party are beating their chests that they are here to kick out bad apples including good ones as well . 2014 is NOT 2010, will you please get it!

    June 23, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  17. Lolo

    They will come out this year, you can bet on it. The crazies are trying to take over the asylum and they must be stopped. This is why all of the tea party nuts are running, they hope there is a low turnout so that they can ease into Congress easily. Go vote America!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Also don't let anyone try to suppress your votes, because the GOP/TP Klan are working hard on it.

    June 23, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |