November 26th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
7 years ago

CNN/ORC poll: Democrats lose 2014 edge following Obamacare uproar

Washington (CNN) - What a difference a month makes.

A new CNN/ORC International poll indicates a dramatic turnaround in the battle for control of Congress in next year's midterm elections.

Democrats a month ago held a 50%-42% advantage among registered voters in a generic ballot, which asked respondents to choose between a Democrat or Republican in their congressional district without identifying the candidates.

That result came after congressional Republicans appeared to overplay their hand in the bitter fight over the federal government shutdown and the debt ceiling.

But the Democratic lead has disappeared. A new CNN/ORC poll indicates the GOP now holds a 49%-47% edge.

The new survey was conducted last week and released Tuesday.

The 10-point swing follows a political uproar over Obamacare, which included the botched rollout of and controversy over insurance policy cancelations due primarily to the new health law.

The turnaround in the CNN/ORC poll follows similar shifts in recent national surveys from Quinnipiac University and Fox News.

At a news conference two weeks ago, President Barack Obama acknowledged that problems plaguing the startup of the new healthcare law could hurt Democrats.

"There is no doubt that our failure to rollout the ACA smoothly has put a burden on Democrats, whether they are running or not because they stood up and supported this effort through thick and thin," Obama said.

The CNN/ORC poll, released as the President makes a West Coast campaign fundraising swing on behalf of fellow Democrats, indicates both parties making gains within their base.

"It looks like the biggest shifts toward the Republicans came among white voters, higher-income Americans, and people who live in rural areas, while Democrats have gained strength in the past month among some of their natural constituencies, such as non-white voters and lower-income Americans," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

"If those patterns persist into 2014, it may indicate that Obamacare is popular among those who it was designed to help the most, but unpopular among the larger group of voters who are personally less concerned about health insurance and health care," Holland said.

Republicans currently have a 17-seat advantage in the U.S. House with the Democrats holding a 55-45 majority in the Senate.

While the generic ballot question is one of the most commonly used indicators when it comes to the battle for Congress, the poll results are a long way from predicting what will happen next November.

"There is just under a year to go before any votes are actually cast and the 'generic ballot' question is not necessarily a good predictor of the actual outcome of 435 separate elections," Holland cautions.

"A year before the 2010 midterms, for example, the Democrats held a six-point lead on the generic ballot but the GOP wound up regaining control of the House in that election cycle, thanks to an historic 63-seat pickup," he said.

The poll was conducted November 18-20 for CNN by ORC International, with 843 adult Americans, including 749 registered voters, questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Filed under: 2014 • CNN/ORC poll • Congress
soundoff (885 Responses)
  1. Los

    If Democrat politicians learned how to think for themselves instead of functioning like a beehive following marching orders from the president like a loyal colony, they would not be in this predicament. Republicans have been hammering and announcing from roof tops the debacle ACA was going to be but the media and CNN included called Republicans extreamist, hostage takers, holding guns to people's head, suicide bombers , you name it. Obama tried and continues to try to push the implementation of ACA until after elections for a reason.

    November 26, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  2. srcactus

    Based on the redistribution of "wealth" or wages of the working class, I cannot imagine how ANY working person can even consider a vote for a liberal Democrat. The liberal agenda is obviously the theft of income earned for redistribution to those that earn little or nothing. The liberal agenda further promotes give away programs instead of economic growth and jobs for those that work or wish to work for a living. JMHO

    November 26, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  3. ThinkAgain: The GOP owes our nation $24 billion

    @Abbey: "When the cancellations hit in the millions no amount of DNC propaganda is going to save the party in 2014."

    Every year, your health insurance company renews your policy – and they have the choice to cancel it. Policies are being cancelled now because they are so crappy, they don't meet the minimum standards of coverage specified by Obamacare.

    President Obama has said that if people really want to keep their crappy policies, then they can. Most people have discovered that for about the same price, they can get much better coverage (and many qualify for subsidies).

    These are the kind of FACTS you obviously don't know – probably because you watch Fox and listen to the likes of Hannity, both of which have been lying to you and playing you for a fool FOR YEARS.

    November 26, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  4. MaryM

    Just wait till next month, the polls will change again and again in January. The only polls I believe are Nate Silvers at the Times

    November 26, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  5. El Warbo Grande

    I think it's fairly certain that neither Ryan nor Palin are likely to be considered.

    November 26, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  6. longhauler

    cant believe people want to default on their social security and medicare If the gop wins we spend it all on tax cuts for the rich and WAR

    November 26, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  7. rs

    Malory Archer


    To all you liberals who keep posting about republicans being only for the rich, at what point does rich begin?

    How much do you want to take from them, 50% 90%.


    My husband and I barely break $100k, but between federal & social security taxes, our tax rate is 25%. So, I suppose I'd prefer those making more than us to be subject to the same rate instead of the 15% the majority of the 1% pay – the 12% rate the 2012 also-ran paid.
    It may be useful to remember in 1958/9 under Republican Dwight Eisenhower, the very top tax rate in the U.S. was 89%. I believe (then) that applied to income over $100k). The fact the the "rich" are far more so than in 1958, and have so many ways to shield their income (if only paying what? 34% now?) which means unlike when America was prosperous, with a growing middle class, the rich are paying very little and coporations far less (5-7%). We should go back to the 1958 rates, maybe for incomes of $800k (or perhaps a $million).
    America helped make these folks rich- they can afford taxes, and everyone benefits. I think that is what used to be called "patriotism".

    November 26, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  8. Rudy NYC


    In the last 100+ years we've had total GOP Control 3 times:
    1. The 12 years leading up to the Great Depression.
    2. 2 years in the mid 50's that brought us the GOP Communist Witch Hunt.
    3. The 6 years – 12 for Congress – leading up to this Great Recession.
    Yeah, it's funny how that works. Isn't it? If you let Republicans control the Congress and White House at the same time, then bad things always seem to happen. They start persucuting their political enemies, hunting crimes and criminals. Leave them in power long enough and eventually the economy slides off of a cliff, and somehow it's always the fault of the liberals.

    November 26, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  9. Paul

    So Bush screws us up, we vote Democrat. Obama screws us up, we vot Republican. Anyone seeing the folly of it all yet?

    November 26, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  10. OhSoHowEasilyTheyForget

    According to polls Mitt Romney will win by DOUBLE DIGITS LMAO Remember the media's constant media message. SMH lol

    November 26, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  11. Malory Archer


    Hey republicans, i am a moderate, and I would consider voting republican next election IF, you dont lean towards religion too much and of course as long as you don't have a candidate that is too far right like Ryan or Palin – go a bit more moderate and you will scoop up people like me this next election


    Yeah, except they run as moderates and populists (remember their 2010 campaign mantra: jobs, jobs, jobs?) only to wage war on women, the elderly, the poor, people of color and anyone else not a wealthy white male once elected. Haven't they fooled you enough times already?

    November 26, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  12. Truck

    @Bill, NY,read your history Billy boy,it was Bill Clinton that started the financial meltdown by enforcing the CRA to the nth degree.Bush told Congress TWICE to regulate the banking loans or there would be a financial disaster,but Barney Frank said FM & FM were doing just fine.You liberals need to get over the Bush "lies" & listen to your messiah's lies. Next year when 80-100 million lose their heath insurance,the libs are toast. Oblamey pushing the enrollment date up 2 weeks past the elections won't help them. Rick above had the right approach...

    November 26, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  13. james

    If the Obamacare website is a look into the future of Obamacare then I suspect the GOP will win by default.

    November 26, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  14. ex-sarge

    You may thank President Reagan for the demise of the Fairness Doctrine, but you can thank President Clinton for the media monopolies. That said, when 5-6 people own 98% of the media, and those 5-6 people have an agenda that favors one political party over the other, what do you think will happen? If you really think that the majority of the media is liberal, then you should check what you are seeing against unfettered liberal media (no, not Maddow, MSNBC is still owned by General Electric, not exactly a socialist organization), try taking a look at "The Nation", "Mother Jones", "The Young Turks", these are liberal outlets that make no bones about being liberal. Just give it a try and see what liberal media looks like before you start in on CNN, ABC, NBC, as being "the liberal media", they aren't liberal and they darned near aren't media. But don't take my word for it, think for yourself.

    November 26, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  15. dan

    Lol on how well the obama groupies on here condemning the ignorance of the people polled. Liberals are the best at lieing but you can't refute millions of plans doubling or tripping their deductables.

    November 26, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  16. Michael

    I continue to love how the media frames this the GOP gains among those who are not as concerned about health coverage and those that benefit continue to support the Dems. Let's frame it as it really is, those that are paying for it don't like it and those that get it for free and/or are subsidized like it. I don't mind helping those who need insurance, food, housing, etc. but there at some point has to be an end to having people live for life off of others. I see many people abusing the system. Let me give you a quick one right now: I see parents get their kids diagnosed with various mental health disorders so they can collect SSI for them and stay home saying they have to stay home to take care of their child and can't work. They educate the kid on what to say and how to act to keep the money coming in. I am not saying all do this but I have seen quite a few in my lifetime in social services over the past 20 years.

    November 26, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  17. Malory Archer


    If Democrat politicians learned how to think for themselves instead of functioning like a beehive following marching orders...


    Wow! Project much?

    November 26, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  18. Allen Scott

    The GOP doesn't have a chance if All the women and Hispanics get out and VOTE VOTE VOTE The GOP is making it hard for women to have a say in government Go get em Girls

    November 26, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  19. chaing

    After what the American public have been witnessing over the last several years the serious dysfunction in Washington I believe NO ONE has any "edge" in 2014. That is of course if the American public has been watching or has the brains to make a change!

    November 26, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  20. Data Driven

    Well, CNN, what the polling tells us is that it can't be trusted a year in advance. Memories are short, for one thing; conditions change, for another. If ACA continues to recover from its rocky Marketplace launch, you can flip these numbers again.

    Drawing conclusions from a year-out poll is a mistake for another reason: it leaves out the Republican Factor. They'll do several horrible things before next November, and that will also impact the numbers.

    November 26, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  21. Stephen

    @ThinkAgain: The GOP owes our nation $24 billion

    We'll pay up just as soon as liberals pay down the $17+ Trillion...

    November 26, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  22. El Warbo Grande

    @ ThinkAgain

    They're not being cancelled because they're crappy. They're being cancelled because they don't cover the things Obama wants them to cover. things like abortions, breast pumps, etc. If you liked your old plan, it's probably because you didn't need these things and didn't want to pay extra for a plan that included them. That certainly doesn't mean your old plan was 'crappy'. It means it was the right plan for you.

    November 26, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  23. Jim

    I imagine that 47% that still favor the Dems are the same 47% mentioned by Mitt in the last presidential election. Going to be tough to open their eyes while still on that teat.

    November 26, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  24. YUCK

    Once again,republicans,and their lies,the far right will do anything and say anything negative just to dismantle obama's plan."wait and we call this a Christian nation?

    November 26, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  25. Roscoe Chait

    Not a chance. The GOP have NO edge. The Party of NO is NOWHERE. Only a fool would vote for the 1%.

    November 26, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
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