October 31st, 2010
08:30 AM ET
12 years ago

CNN Poll: Large advantage for GOP as election nears

Washington (CNN) –Two days before the midterm elections, a new national poll indicates that Republicans have a 10-point lead over the Democrats in a crucial indicator in the battle for control of Congress.

The GOP's 10 point advantage in the "generic ballot" question in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national survey released Sunday is slightly larger than the seven point advantage Republican candidates had on the eve of the 1994 midterms, when the party last took control of Congress from the Democrats.

"But unlike 1994, when polls indicated the public had a positive view of the Republican party, a majority of Americans now do not have a favorable view of the GOP," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Full results (pdf)

According to the poll, 52 percent of likely voters say they will vote for the generic Republican in their congressional district, with 42 percent saying they will vote for the generic Democrat, four percent saying neither and two percent undecided. The GOP's 10-point lead is up from a seven-point advantage in a CNN poll conducted in early October.

The overwhelming majority of Democrats questioned in the survey say they'll vote for the Democrat in their district, with the overwhelming majority of Republicans saying they'll cast a ballot for the GOP candidate. Fifty-five percent of independents say they'll vote for the Republican candidate, with 32 percent saying they'll cast a ballot for the Democrat. The support of independent voters was a crucial factor in the strong showing by Democrats in the 2006 and 2008 elections.

"Six in ten suburban voters say they plan to vote for the Republican candidate for the U.S. House on Tuesday,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “That's not good news for the Democrats since most of the seats in play are in suburban districts."

The generic ballot question asks respondents if they would vote for a Democrat or Republican in their congressional district, without naming any specific candidates. It is used by many polling organizations, including CNN/Opinion Research Corporation surveys. In the battle for control of Congress, the generic ballot is arguably the most watched polling indicator, but it should not be considered a one-for-all.

The survey indicates that 44 percent have a favorable view of the GOP, with 43 percent saying they hold an unfavorable view. Forty-six percent of the country has a favorable view of the Democratic Party compared to 47 percent with an unfavorable view.

The public is split on the limited-government Tea Party movement, with 37 percent seeing it in a favorable light and an equal amount viewing it in a negative way, and just over one in four undecided.

According to the poll, Americans like some Democrats and others, well, not so much. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's favorable rating has dropped to a new low, just 26 percent, while a majority have a negative view of her. House Minority Leader John Boehner, the Republican who would most likely succeed Pelosi as House Speaker if the GOP wins back the chamber, is still an unknown quantity to most Americans. Nearly half questioned don't know him, and those who do are evenly divided.

President Barack Obama's favorable rating is 48 percent, down from 53 percent in September and 57 percent in April.

But not all Democrats are facing falling favorables. More than six in ten like the Clintons: Former President Bill Clinton gets a 63 percent favorable rating and Hillary Clinton is essentially tied with him at 62 percent.

A favorable rating is not a job approval rating. It's a measure of a person's personal popularity rather than an indicator of how that person is handling their duties in office.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted October 27-30, with 1,006 adult Americans, including 921 registered voters and 542 likely voters questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percent, with a sampling error of plus or minus four percent for likely voters.

Check out CNN's new Polling Center, which provides the most comprehensive polling data covering national questions and the top 2010 election races of any news organization in the political landscape.

- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Filed under: 2010 • CNN poll • Polls
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    I don't trust polls because they have been wrong so many times. I have never been called (and we still have a landline and yes, we do have a couple of Droids!) nor anyone whom I know.
    As a country, if rethugs get control, we are going to move backwards to the 50s and 60s but not in the last century!!!

    October 31, 2010 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  2. Turnabout is Fair Play

    Those of us who are the silent majority on the left will continue to let the media pundits and the radical extremists on the right crow like roosters until Tuesday then we will give them the shock of their lives like we did in 2008.

    October 31, 2010 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  3. SethC

    For being the majority in the House for years and years, they have PROVEN, that they have done a bad job. Lets at least give these Republicans a chance at maybe making a change for us. We have do something, we can't let the same old same old keep going. This Stewart thing was a make-up artist nightmare cover up for a political stand, with Oprah standing in the wings, ready to come out and straight out say lets get behind the democrat's, have a hard time with her and her influence on people who follow actess, actor say so. Does make sense that they know more than the people, besides they have money they don't have to worry ever.

    October 31, 2010 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  4. DG

    This is a tragedy for our country. Bush and the other evil Republicans were the ones who destroyed our country and ran it into the ground all to help their wealthy cronies get wealthier on the backs of the middles class. Remember under Bush and the Republicans we had over $4 gallon gas, we had 9-11, we had the war in Iraq based on a lie that cost us trillions, we had tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires which cost us trillions, we had the uptick rule eliminated and shortly thereafter the wealthy cronies sold the stock market short causing the crash to 6,700, and they gave tax breaks to corporations who shipped our jobs overseas, and it goes on and on and on.

    October 31, 2010 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  5. rdepontb

    Part of the thanks for getting those nut jobs into office will be due to CNN's coverage of the campaigns so far! Whoever was on last night's CNN panel, around 7 pm as we were driving back to Maryland from the Rally to Restore Sanity, kept ragging on about "But what in world was this rally trying to accomplish? Does anyone really think this will change _anything_? The huge question is, Will any of these people actually vote on Tuesday??" Cynicism towards someone trying to represent the middle 90-95 percent of the nation who are not at the extreme Right or Left. Cynicism from the pundits-this is exactly what the rally was about, and your panel just didn't seem to get the message-"knock it off-you are all being ditto heads!"--CNN, I was insulted by that discussion. We expect better of you.

    October 31, 2010 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  6. "Keith"

    This is good news. Now maybe I can keep your . . . ur, my Job. Thanks American voters,

    "Keith", Bopal. India("American Industries",inc.)

    October 31, 2010 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  7. Ancient Texan

    But anyone would be better for America than the present radial wild spending occupants of the House and Senate.

    October 31, 2010 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  8. A Patriot

    Those voters that take the time to think for themselves, that don`t reward the false, misleading, nasty attack ads, that reget fear, smears and hate as election tactics, that are Christians who live their lives in a way that emulates "CHRIST", will end up voting for the proper candidates – those that will lead our country back to the greatness that was promised when it was founded.

    Funny how I didn`t have to endorse a particular party in making this post.

    Now, which party best embodies these attributes?

    October 31, 2010 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  9. Lloyd

    This time American people have to think before voting on Tuesday. Do you want things to get done rapidly or do you want the next two years once again have stalled with partisan bickering? If you want things to get done then the only choice while you have a sitting Democrat President is to give the Democrats a large enough majority in both the House and Senate that the GOP "Just say NO" machine will not matter. You can not have a Republican house and senate and expect a Democrat President to vote with them on large issues meaning everything you want passes will be yet again a struggle.

    October 31, 2010 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  10. Todd

    Not by the looks of the Colbert/ Stewart rally. I think there will be a rude awakening on Tuesday that we're not going to be
    controlled by a teabag.

    October 31, 2010 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  11. vic nashville tn

    “Former President Bill Clinton gets a 63 percent favorable rating and Hillary Clinton is essentially tied with him at 62 percent.”
    We cross the party and support Hillary in 2008 but media pundits change every thing “what Bill will do in the white house” comments like this
    Nearly 40 to 45% not interested vote out of 60% 52% support GOP that mean only 31% will elect the next government some thing wrong

    October 31, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  12. Time Grows Short

    The Dems, Obama, and the likes of CNN WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO DESTROY THIS COUNTRY. The massive debt run up by Obama and Pelosi. The kowtowing to Marxists and Islamist by Barack Hussien Obama. The rape of the people with Obamacare. The alliance between big banks and Obama and his fascist cohorts. This is stopping Tuesday. And their isn't a damn thing CNN or Obama or Castro or Chavez or Pedophiles can do to stop it.

    October 31, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  13. diridi

    I voted for Dem...did it have poll?

    October 31, 2010 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  14. vic nashville tn

    Only in CNN today morning raise the questions about major legislation I bet our congress won’t talk major legislation next 4 years they get pay but they won’t do their jobs SAD

    Other networks talking about how big lost or how big is the win

    October 31, 2010 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  15. GL

    According to the poll, 52 percent of likely voters say they will vote for the generic Republican in their congressional district, with 42 percent saying they will vote for the generic Democrat, four percent saying neither and two percent undecided. The GOP's 10-point lead is up from a seven-point advantage in a CNN poll conducted in early October.

    AND THEY ALL WAS WHITE VOTERS AND THESE POLLS NEVER INCLUDE minority voters are young voters and this is why on Tuesday they all is going to be in for a rude of wakening. SHOVEL YOUR POLLS CNN.

    October 31, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |