March 24th, 2010
10:41 AM ET
12 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. A. Smith, Oregon

    The Democratic led majority in US Congressional federal government is moving toward the most sweeping overhaul of college financial aid in decades.

    The US House of Democratic Representatives voted for the measure as part of its passage of health care legislation Sunday.

    Under the proposal, private lenders would no longer make federally subsidized student loans. Instead, the government would make all such loans itself, instead of only some as it does now.

    Eliminating the middleman would save the government an estimated $61 billion over the next decade. About $36 billion of that would be used to increase so-called Pell grants for lower-income students. The legislation also allocates $2.5 billion to historically black colleges, $2 billion to community colleges and at least $10 billion to reduce the federal deficit.

    If the Republican lawmakers would have gotten their way, pell grants would have been reduced in number and the amount would have been reduced nearly 50% to 2,500.

    The Democratic lawmakers in this Congressional Bill increased the Pell grant numbers and the amount to just less than 6,000 dollars each.

    Vote for more Democratic lawmakers for a brighter College Education and a brighter future for all Americans.

    March 23, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  2. Four and The Door

    but with seven months until the November midterm elections, the economy remains the top concern of voters.
    ...but passing an economy killing health care insurance entitlement fiasco remains the top concern of the Democratic Leadership.
    They are in their own little world, aren't they?!?! Look at them hamming it up in DC, high fiving and all! They don't have a clue.

    The rest of the country, believe it or not, is experiencing high unemployment and a recession.

    March 23, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  3. I am the Great and Sociopathic Wizard of Rush and I Say . . .

    New Harris poll:
    24 per cent of republicans think President Obama may be the antichrist.

    March 23, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  4. Tulsa

    Incredible that anyone but a true idiot would vote in a Republican thinking they are GOOD at economics. Let's see, Reagan turned us from the largest lender to the largest borrower, GW Bush ran up a trillion dollar debt in a war with Iraq that he kept off the books and where did that money come from? CHINA. Then he presided over the biggest economic downturn since the great depression......His Daddy was a one term and done failure. (read my lips)

    Where are these brilliant Republican economists? I don't think I've ever seen one. and I'm freakin' OLD.

    March 23, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  5. Mike

    nobama is not concerned with the economy, he is concerned with cap and tax and illegal immigration reform to let illegals automatically becomes citizens prior to the November election. He knows he cannot win any elections now neither can the demorat congress. This stealing of this countries wealth should be enough to bring nobama and the demorats to court for theft.

    March 23, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  6. Sandra South Carolina

    I live in GOP heaven. I am not proud of them. They have led our state to be the laughing stock of the US. I am an independent who will vote Democrat just to stop their foolishness. Shame on them.

    March 23, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  7. The Calabash Kid

    These are the "independent voters" who think nothing, believe in nothing, and change their opinions with every breeze. They're for the war, then they're against the war. They're for Obama, then they're against Obama. Then they're for the war again. Then they're for Obama again. Then they're sort of for Obama but sort of for Romney.

    They change with the weather.

    March 23, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  8. BeverlyNC

    Once Americans learn the truth about what is really in the healthcare bill and all the Republican lies have been finally laid to rest, then the Democrats will gain huge ground.

    This healthcare bill will bring great benefits to all Americans and these benefits start this September – seniors will have prescription drug help to close the "doughnut hole", no child can be denied healthcare because of a pre-existing condition, no insurance company can put a cap on how much money you use to meet your healthcare needs during your lifetime, no insurance company can drop your healthcare coverage if you get sick, and small businesses will get tremendous help and tax cuts to keep providing healthcare for their employees.

    Republicans claim they will run their campaign on repealing healthcare. I hope they do because Americans will stand up and reject them soundly once they have begun to receive these life-saving health bill components.

    The GOP can only run on hate, lies, fear, and racism for so long before the People will rise up against them. What has a Republican done for a single American? Call for our failure? Vote no on every piece of people-oriented legislation? Hold up unemployment benefits just because they could?

    With enemies to the People like these – we need to rid these traitors from office. No leadership. No solutions. No ideas. No concern for restoring America. No care for what is happening to working families.

    We will use our NO vote to rid Congress of all Republicans who have done NOTHING but betray us.

    March 23, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  9. deloris

    Indeppie arn't these the ones that gave gwb eight years.

    March 23, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  10. More more more gimmee gimmee gimmie more!

    Now that the health care bill is pretty much stuffed in, what will Obama find for his next $1 trillion project? It's gotta be big! Maybe a government takover of the power industry? Those greedy power generation executives are ripping us off blind! There have got to be a few good old ladies and poor people who have had their power turned off that we can parade in front of congress. Power for everyone!!! Why should only the rich have uninterruptable power?

    March 23, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  11. Buck12

    This is a sad, sad day in the history of this country. The only thing this government is concerned about is shoving their liberal agenda down our throats.

    March 23, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  12. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Since the Republicans were in charge of Congress from 1995 until the end of 2006, and this recession took seed during their watch, why would anyone put faith in them to fix the economy?

    March 23, 2010 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  13. anonymous

    If The Federal Government has control mandates state’s rights over health control, then each state’s rights depends upon the relative wealth of the population of each state. Who would really benefit from this bill in actuality?

    March 23, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  14. Scottyrw

    Watch the polls in the next couple weeks .... they are going to reverse quickly in favor of the Democrats. I think 60% favoring ... 35% against and Mr Obama ratings in the low 60s. People around the country will start hearing how health reform is going to help them and family members to will change! Watch and see!

    March 23, 2010 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  15. Ryan

    How are people this stupid? Republicans have no answer and desire no solutions, only to regain power for the sake of having power. Wake up already!!!

    March 23, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  16. MsDp

    Hint, hint! No one asked me who I would vote for! I refuse to believe that we are going to give America back to the gop. No way!!! We will not be insulted again!!!

    March 23, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  17. ThinkAgain

    Only a fool would think that Republicans no anything about economics!

    Here are some hard facts to consider:

    Republican Ronald Reagan cut taxes on the wealthy while dramatically raising military spending with the result of huge deficits and recession.

    Democrat Bill Clinton left office with a budget surplus.

    Republican George W. Bush took that surplus and squandered it on two unfunded wars, and irresponsibly cut taxes on the weathly during wartime. Huge deficits, global financial meltdown, rising unemployment = all started in earnest under GW Bush.

    Republican voodoo, tinkle-down economics don't work! Republicans only care about their wealthy constituents and corporations. They like to throw around buzz words like "smaller government", but they always grow it and "fiscal responsibility" and always create huge deficits.

    Like I said, only a fool would think Republicans know diddly about economics.

    March 23, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  18. Rick McDaniel

    Jobs are concern number one. The Dems are doing nothing about it, so the public will vote their wallets in November.

    March 23, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  19. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    Why does the American voter only recieve two choices for their vote? Why must we always pick either a democrat or a republican? Why is it that I'm always having to choose between to extremes, when my life's history shows that neither party gives a hoot about me?
    Our problem here in America is these two parties, both look to represent the, thmeselves, the party only, then the Corporations and last the people. Seems a little backwards huh.
    First the American voter need to fire all of our elected officials, no incumbemts this fall no matter which party or if they are liberal or conservative. tell Congress....

    March 23, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |

    Well, this you must be polling folks who have amnesia because the GOP (you know, the ones who try to stop progress) ARE THE ONES WHO GAVE US THE DEFICIT IN THE FIRST PLACE!

    March 23, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  21. payback

    .....CNN stop using METH...It's bad for you. Also, are you trying to be like "fix news".....Correct me if I'am wrong. Wasn't it, the republicans, the party, that held control of the three branches of government. In control that are responsible for the meltdown......If the american, people think, the republicans are better with the economy. Than the Democrats. I lost all, respect for americans. Because, they are more clueless, than I thought................................................

    March 23, 2010 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  22. President Obama could walk on water and the Party of NO would still complain that he left footprints!

    Experts on the economy!

    Someone has spiked the Greedy Old People's prune juice!

    If that is true then:

    1. Why did you and the other Reds vote YES in 2003 for Prescription drug coverage for MEDICARE Part D when the CBO score said it would ADD to the deficit an additional 394 BILLION dollars?

    2. Why did you and the other Reds vote YES in 2003 for Tax Cuts for the rich when the CBO score said it would ADD to the deficit an additional 349 BILLION dollars?

    3. Why did you and the other Reds vote YES in 2001 for Tax Cuts when the CBO score said it would ADD to the deficit an additional 1.3 TRILLION?

    Then a black man was elected as President and now these same cons have had a “Come to Jesus” meeting on “fiscal responsibility” and are sorrowful about “loading years of debt on the backs of our grandbabies“.

    1. Why did you and the other Reds vote NO for health care reform in 2010 for 32 MILLION Americans when the CBO score said it would SUBTRACT 1.3 TRILLION from the deficit.

    I thought the Party of NO was for working class Americans AND deficit reduction?

    More like economic malfeasance if you ask me!

    March 23, 2010 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  23. al in memphis

    Isn't it funny how you can do nothing and still gain in the polls. There is a reason why the Republicans concentrate on complaining and attacking with false rationale -- it works.

    Think about it– why would anyone who really wants to get re-elected really push the health care bill. Maybe it is because they know something critical had to be done about the health care reform.

    On the other hand, the Republican know just how un-informed we voters choose to be and that a few gimmicks can get us to vote.

    March 23, 2010 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  24. An 8 year old ELEPHANT dung heap, does not transform into compost in just 1 year!

    "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"

    That will improve now that they have stood up to the cons in Congress and got the job done.

    I would have voted both Dem leaders poorly before Sunday, but now I can gotta hand it to both, but especially Nancy, I thought she was the "weakest link" but obviously not!

    Thanks to both for helping President Obama fulfill his number campaign promise of bringing health care to 32 million working poor Americans!!!.

    March 23, 2010 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  25. Enough

    Anyone with half a brain knows the Democrats are job killers, always have been and always will. Tax and spend will not recover this economy and the stimulus projects underway are a total waste of money. After spending a week in Death Valley, one of the parks that received funding, I can tell you first hand our money is being wasted. How many people does it take to fill a pot hole...............15, that's job creation for you. Also paving partial roads is ridiculous.

    March 23, 2010 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
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