March 24th, 2010
10:41 AM ET
13 years ago

CNN poll: GOP has slight edge as economy remains top concern

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="According to a new CNN poll, 43 percent of respondents said the economy is the most important factor in their vote this year."]Washington (CNN) – The health care bill signed into law by President Obama on Tuesday is dominating the debate in Washington, but with seven months until the November midterm elections, the economy remains the top concern of voters.

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Tuesday, 48 percent of registered voters said they would vote for a Republican this November while 45 percent would vote for a Democrat, numbers that have remained relatively unchanged since January.

"It's unclear whether the health care bill will help Democrats or Republicans in November," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But the effect of the economy is easier to figure out. If conditions stay bad or get worse, that benefits Republicans. Improving conditions may help the Democrats hold onto more seats."

In the poll, 43 percent of respondents said the economy is the most important factor in their vote this year. Health care came in a distant second, with 23 percent of respondents naming the issue as their top concern.

Health care, though, remains the top non-economic issue in this midterm election year. Among those surveyed, 43 percent named health care as the most important non-economic factor in their vote, with education, the federal deficit and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan trailing far behind.

The new poll was conducted before the House on Sunday narrowly approved the health care reform legislation favored by Obama.

Only a third of Americans approve of how congressional Democratic leaders are handling their jobs, an approval rating that has dipped 10 points since last April. The numbers aren't brighter for the Republican leadership - just 32 percent of Americans approve of their job performance, a mark that has remained relatively steady over the last year.

On the "generic ballot" question, there are early indications that the Democrats will fare poorly in competitive congressional districts where the incumbent won with less than 55 percent of the vote in 2008. In those districts, 57 percent of registered voters said they plan to vote for a Republican in November, while 31 percent said they will vote for a Democrat.

Independent voters also appear to be favoring the GOP. Among registered voters who call themselves independents, 43 percent plan to vote Republican, while 32 percent plan to vote for a Democrat.

The CNN poll was conducted on March 19-21 through telephone interviews with 1,030 adult Americans, including 953 registered voters. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Full results here and here.

Filed under: 2010 • CNN Polls • Congress • Economy • Health care
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. j

    How many times does it need to be said? The Republicans are the ones responsible for this economic crisis. They are proven liars. Their two tax cuts for the wealthiest at the expense of everyone else created a 2 trillion dollar deficit. Their practice of deficit spending helped to put us into an even bigger hole. Instead of shrinking the size of government, they've actually grown it under Reagan and the Bushes. So when they say they are fiscal conservatives, they are LYING!

    They're not the ones you want running the government. The Clinton administration created a budget surplus. Statistically, the economy does better under Democratic leadership. So when the economy turns around from all the action that the current administration is taking, and it is turning around, just remember that when you vote. It's the Democrats that have pushed programs that put America back on it's feet and headed in the right direction.

    March 23, 2010 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  2. CBR

    I want to see the day when voters will stop answering polls. They are not worth the money spent on them Do we need to know month by month how the president or any other politician is doing. Decisions need to be made on the overall performance if they run for re-election.

    Wow. The Republicans who got is into this mess in the first place by not funding the war would be better at running the economy. Where have these people been the last 7 years. The deficit grew mightily during the last seven years because everyone is afraid of the T word.

    The economy will improve slowly. The problem is we have little or no patience. We want an instantaneous recovery. That is not going to happen.

    March 23, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  3. Patricia

    You have got to be kidding me!!! Americans want more of what they got with Bush/Cheney???? NO WAY!!!!!

    March 23, 2010 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  4. T"SAH from Virginia

    "...48 percent of registered voters said they would vote for a Republican this November while 45 percent would vote for a Democrat.."

    It's strange how these SAME nunbers fluctuated exatly the same during the entire campaign of 2008 – and who WON!!!! It makes me wonder CNN – and I have said this many times before – WHO ARE YOU POLLING???

    March 23, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  5. tjaman

    Americans have ZERO memory. None. If people are concerned about the economy, why would they first turn to the party whose policies destroyed it, in a systematic way, over the course of the past decade, rather than the party who has been doing nothing but rebuilding it since gaining control of it?

    March 23, 2010 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  6. Hannah

    I don't get it. Why would people want to go back to the party that started all of this mess? it defies all logic. The GOP talks about cutting taxes on the rich, so they can provide jobs. Well we saw how that worked. The GOP does not wants no regulation of the banking industry, and that was a disaster.

    March 23, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  7. Reggie

    Obama's ineptness has reenergized the republicans!!!

    March 23, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  8. cspurgeon

    What do you think. Do you think these politicians are praying for the economy to remain bad so they can win a seat so they can do nothing but collect money for doing nothing...Well its your money. Send in those contruibutions fools.

    March 23, 2010 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  9. liberal wingnut

    Umm I think you can add health care to that.

    March 23, 2010 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  10. ED FL

    Wake up GOP'ers the odds are against you to get a majority anywhere and you still have to overcome a Presidential veto. Lots of luck on that. that all depends on how the public {NOT CNN] responds to americas lesser advantaged getting a break and voting for someone who cares about them and not just the special interest of the GOP right wing NUTS.

    March 23, 2010 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  11. m smith

    they should have a poll to decide who is the most disgusting group. My vote would go to the repos who have shown themselves to be wing nut racist. Who have no self control and should no longer be in the halls of our capital. Surpirzed they din't take to the streets and burn the flag. What a bunch of wacko's

    March 23, 2010 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  12. Aspen Professor

    Now that the Health Care Bill has passed the House, it is time to take that poll again. Once the ACTUAL facts become obvious to Americans, and the Republican lies become equally obvious, the Repubs are going to crash and burn. There will be NO change in 90% of American health insurance coverage. The Tea Party fools will scratch and scratch trying to fine what impacts them and won't find a single thing. Not unless they have annual taxable earning in excess of $200,000 ($250,000 for couples). Unlikely, since these Tea Party fools are mainly low or middle income folks bought and paid for by the Republicans.

    March 23, 2010 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  13. Pragmatic

    OK, if the economy is the top concern, why is the GOP wasting time on silly law suits, blocking the health care reform bill and promising to repeal health care?

    Could the GOP show some leadership on the problem? Nope – too much of a challenge! Fear and smear – no solutions on making the economy better ... they are going to run on "smile – we're taking away all your new health benefits! Would you like a nice doughnut (hole?)

    March 23, 2010 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  14. Buddy Gilmour

    Tough spot for the GOP. Their traditional base owns a lot of stock and has gotten back under Obama a fair chunk of what they lost under Bush. They'll need the economy to tank and a bunch of folks to lose their jobs to make real gains. Maybe they can call in some chips from the Saudis?

    March 23, 2010 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  15. Preston kathy

    Preston kathy obama cares about every one i think the gop is trying to do the same thing that hilter did

    March 23, 2010 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  16. Desmond in Canada

    Intelligent, Just and Compassionate citizens who want to get the right things done in good time will vote for candidates working with Obama.

    March 23, 2010 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  17. Palin Power

    This is a clear sign of the conservative comeback of this country and the inevitable victory of Sarah Palin in 2012. President Palin and her conservative GOP majority congress will usher in the greatest era in American history with economic prosperity never before seen. President Palin will go down as the greatest American president this country has ever had. Men will never be president after Palin.

    Palin 2013-2021.

    March 23, 2010 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  18. Full-Time Gamer

    It makes sense, but I think the Dems have plenty of times to pass some legislation and remain watchful. The economy continues to recover

    March 23, 2010 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
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