CNN Poll: Democrats up 50-46 percent in battle for House
May 10th, 2011
10:50 AM ET
12 years ago

CNN Poll: Democrats up 50-46 percent in battle for House

Washington (CNN) - It's one of the storylines for 2012: Can the Democrats win back control of the House of Representatives?

A new poll suggests that they may have a chance.

Full results (pdf)

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday, the Democrats have a four-point margin over the Republicans in the battle for control of Congress. The poll indicates that 50 percent registered voters say if the election for Congress was held today, they would vote for the Democrat in their district, with 46 percent saying they would cast a ballot for the Republican in their district. The Democrats' four-point margin is within the poll's sampling error.

The GOP won 63 seats in last year's midterm elections, taking back control of the House for the first time in four years. CNN's last poll conducted before the midterms indicated the Republicans had a six-point advantage over the Democrats.

GOP victories in 2010 were due to some major historical shifts. More women voted for Republican candidates than Democratic candidates in 2010 for the first time since exit polling began in the early 1970s. Voters who never attended college - generally considered to be the bulk of the blue-collar vote - voted Republican in House races for the first time since 1994. And 56 percent of independents voted Republican in 2010, the highest that figure has ever been in exit polls.

"Now the Democrats are seeing some of their natural constituencies coming home," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "In the latest generic ballot, Democrats have a ten-point lead among women, and a nine-point lead among voters who never attended college. But the Republicans still have a plurality of the Independent voters, 47 percent to 43 percent."
The poll also indicates a geographic split that may favor the Democrats, with Democratic candidates pulling a majority in the Northeast, Midwest and West. Republicans win a majority in the generic ballot only in the South.

"It's far too early to use these results to accurately forecast the 2012 congressional elections," Holland notes. "But it does indicate that some of the shifts that swept the GOP into power in 2010 may be shifting back."
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's used by many polling organizations, including CNN/Opinion Research Corporation surveys.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted April 29-May 1, with 1,034 adults questioned by telephone. All interviews were completed before news of Osama bin Laden's death was reported. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Filed under: CNN poll • House • Polls
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. BinFL

    The 2010 midterms was just a fluke of disastrous proportions. The voter turnout was very small and it was mostly the older votes that the GOP managed to spook once again. Some of the Dems who voted thought they would send a message to the Dems by voting in the GOP (not a good way to send a message since you're voting against your best interest). At any rate, I do believe that people have seen the light and realize that Repubs are still playing their same old games and any more power given to them would be the end of the middle class which is the backbone of our great country. Can't wait till 2012 to get the DEMS back in the House as they will certainly maintain the Senate & White House (GO OBAMA!!)

    May 10, 2011 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  2. Mike

    They run on Jobs and the minute the controlled the house, the only thing they are interested on is giving more tax cut for the wealthy and killing Grandma by turning Medicare into a vouchere program.

    May 10, 2011 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  3. Four and The Door

    GOP where are the jobs?
    Rosaadriana, where is your newspaper, your TV and your internet? Your radio? Latest report:

    Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 244,000 in April, and the private sector added 268,000 jobs. Employment rose in a number of service-providing industries, manufacturing, and mining. Since a recent low in February 2010, total payroll employment has grown by 1.8 million. Private sector employment has increased by 2.1 million over the same period.

    Thank you American voters for your wise choices in 2010.

    May 10, 2011 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  4. shoegazer

    Can the sight of a certain speaker of the house blubbering be far behind?

    May 10, 2011 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  5. Dejavu

    This poll is a joke. I cannot believe that CNN would even do this. It is totally devoid of issues and reason.

    May 10, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  6. Tulsa

    Dave H., WHAT? Where the heck have you been man, oh, let me guess, over at Fox? Just one more Republican trying to rewrite history.
    Too bad the truth seems to have a Liberal bias.

    May 10, 2011 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  7. PalmReader

    "Thank you American voters for your wise choices in 2010."

    And yet, unemployment still sits at 9%.

    May 10, 2011 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  8. rob

    The only way Dems re-take the house is if they don't say what they will do if elected. Just like in 2006 and 2008 the Dems never revealed their real plans, in the immortal words of Nancy pelosi "We have to pass the bill so you can see whats in it" Well we now see whats in it and what the Dems did for 4 years. They took a very real financial crisis and rammed through every liberal pipe dream the public didn't like with disasterous consequences to the future of the country. And where is nancy Pelosi now?...well deserved obscurity.

    The republicans have been in controll of the House only for 4 months and jobs are starting to recover. The President and the Dems are suddenly deficit hawks who with the help of their friends in the media want you to forget their huge spending and failed economic policies of the past. Luckily most Americans can get information away from the traditional liberal media and won't fall for the spin.

    Nov. 2012 can't come fast enough.

    May 10, 2011 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  9. CVaughn

    This isn't a particularly surprising poll. Even FOX polls show congress with a 75% disapproval rating. The tea party isn't winning the repubs a lot of fans – and it is costing them a lot of their former constituency.

    May 10, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  10. gt

    dont bet on it... one thing for sure they need to dump nit wit nancy... she is one of the reason they lost so bad last election..

    May 10, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  11. Four and The Door

    And yet, unemployment still sits at 9%.
    The employment growth in April was the biggest hiring spree in five years, which was reflected a variety of sectors, including retailing, manufacturing, finance and construction. However, the federal, state and local governments cut jobs.

    ...which is the mandate Republicans were sent to Washington with. Again, a win for the American voters.

    May 10, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  12. CVaughn

    Palm – No president is a miracle worker. When the country is spiraling down, there is nothing a president or congress can do to immediately reverse that course. Signs that the course of the repression has changed are all good – but you can't expects that anyone could pull us out of the financial disaster we were experiencing without some bumps and bruises. It's ludicrous. Do you REMEMBER where we were 18 months ago? Banks failing, mortgage market crashing, market plunging, mass layoffs....

    May 10, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  13. HAD ENOUGH? 9% unemployment, $4-5/gal gas, $1.7 TRILLION deficits, $14 TRILLION debt, Obamacare

    Why take a poll that essentially asks "Who do you like?". Totally useless

    May 10, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  14. CVaughn

    Jobs aren't recovering because of congress – that is completely ridiculous! Name ONE jobs bill the republican congress has presented – even ONE! They HAVEN'T!

    May 10, 2011 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  15. egore

    Much too soon to read anything of substance in these polls, but history suggests that the Republicans will lose some House seats in 2012. Whether it will be enough (25) for the Democrats to take back the House will depend on a number of things. First and foremost the state of the economy. The Presidential race also will have a major impact, both in the size and nature of the electorate. Coattails also matter, and if Obama is polling high against the Republican opponent, that could sway House contests, especially in swing districts. Countering that trend, as other bloggers have wisely pointed out, will be the impact of congressional redistricting based on the 2010 Census. Conversely, redistricting can be somewhat unpredictable in the aggrate as well. For exanple, many of the seats that have shifted to sunbelt states are the result of dramatic growth in the Hispanic population, who traditionally tend to support democrats. Finally, a lot will depend on budget debates playing out in coming months. If, God forbid, there is a serious miscalculation by the Republicans with respect to the debt ceiling and another great recession, or far worst, is the result, all bets are off.

    May 10, 2011 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  16. rhumba

    The Republicans have accomplished absolutely nothing since taking over the majority in the House of Representatives. They are still presenting themselves as uncompromising, narrow-minded zealots with little or no understanding of what the average American family needs. Their only goal is to remove President Obama from office when they should be concerned about the jobs report. Where are the jobs, Mr Boehner? Where are the jobs, Mr. Cantor? Where are the jobs, Mr. McConnell?

    May 10, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  17. Al-NY,NY

    Buyer's remorse of epic proportions. As usual they ran the old bait-and-switch..."jobs jobs jobs" "abortion, NPR, DOMA"

    May 10, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  18. Bessy

    Not only do they have a chance but it is going to happen. People are starting to realize how much damage these Republicans, who were recently elected, are doing to the country in general. I recently attended a function with people from 3 different states and all of them were saying how much their state is suffereing because of the Republicans who just assumed power. Until Republicans realize that they have to tax the rich and stop trying to take away from the poor and middle class, they are going nowhere.

    May 10, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
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