November 26th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
8 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. lsjogren

    Don't worry Dems, the Republicans are masters at snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory.

    November 26, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Haskel Pippin

    @ Profio: The shutdown that I assume you're referring to was a result of the Republicans wanting to delay funding the ACA for a year. it was Obama who refused to negotiate that one issue in his budget proposal – and instead opted to shutdown the government – then blame the Republicans for it. So what was it that you were saying about an IQ test?
    Hey, Pippin. Sen. Cruz has long since claimed credit for the government shutdown. It's an official feather in his cap now.

    November 26, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  3. Allen Gingrich

    So basically the people are already forgetting everything we've ever learned about Republicans...

    November 26, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  4. keltic1

    They were warned & they shot the messenger because the message was Not liked. Tea Party was correct.

    November 26, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  5. southerngent


    You are in better shape financially than I however to lazy low life you owe me people we are rich and believe they deserve what we have. I wife and I worked hard earn what we have and am damm proud of what we have accomplish for our family and ourselves. Our taxes were equal to yours, but now that I think of it, you make considerably more than my wife and I so you are richer and should be paying more! How does it feel?

    Can you spell Kenney, Buffet, Hollywood.

    Think, my dear, to force all people in America into a program under the threat of penalty is socialism.

    November 26, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  6. lsjogren

    "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."

    Same goes for the Republicans.

    Our country could be destroyed a lot cheaper if we put electronic robots in to govern us in Washington in place of the biological robots there now. Electronic robots don't demand salaries and pensions, campaign slush funds, and they don't fart or solicit sex in bathrooms.

    November 26, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  7. YUCK

    How many times Obama tried to work with the oppressors,and thee oppressors keep on refusing to work with him??plent of times,it's all written in history if people will go back and read it.

    November 26, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  8. david saint

    if people didnt learn from the 04-08 disaster that was the GOP majority, then they deserve what they get. IE less income while corporation profits soar, less rights due to religious zealotry, and the birth of fascism. Just look what they have done in states they control. Passed legislation on the backs of budgets and motorcycle safety laws without honoring open meeting laws..and the best part, the control the teahadi's have over them. So, go right on ahead..just dont be mad when some of us say "we told you so"

    November 26, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  9. Chukch

    These same pollsters has Romney ahead on election....the continuous lying is only making things worse.

    November 26, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  10. Paul

    The ACA could have been better prepared and Obama did "misspeak" on one point (like this is something new in politics?) but the concept of medical coverage for ALL American citizens is a sound principle. With some Congressional cooperation, the Dems would not have felt rushed to get it through and online. The GOP should think more inclusively regarding the people and not be so beholding to Pharma, for-profit Health companies and lobbyists.......but, then again, there are all those campaign contributions to worry about during election time.

    November 26, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  11. Ex Obama Supporter

    The Democrats have made this bed for themselves with their arrogance and hypocrisy.

    I voted for Obama in 2008 to punish the Republicans for the same things, only to find the Democrats take it to a new level. I'll get all sorts of snark and abuse herein, accused of being a Republican for simply questioning the Democrats, and so ideologically I have no choice but to finish what we started in 2008 by helping remove political arrogance from office.

    Sometimes, I guess you just have to flush twice.

    November 26, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  12. lsjogren

    This is the modern history of the US. One party gets elected. They stink up the place. The public recoils and puts the other party in office. They stink up the place. Rinse and repeat.

    One thing you can be sure of. If the fact that the Democrats are stinking up the place leads to the Republicans winning in 2014 and/or 2016, you can be sure they will stink up the place just as bad and will be voted out of office.

    It's too bad we don't have a political party to vote for in this country that does not stink to high heaven.

    November 26, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  13. DirtyHeat

    This administration has shown time and time again in the last 5 years that they are in way over their head. Yes Republicans have done what they can to block most of Obama's agenda however, nothing that Obama has passed has actually worked the way it was supposed to. How can you blame Republicans for blocking initiatives when everything the left has pushed through has failed?

    November 26, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  14. luke,az

    I haven't been called to participate in this poll. President Obama and the Dems are on the right track. Don't believe this poll. Republicans have obstructed everything the President has tried to implement. They have tried to delay, deny or dismiss everything. 2014 will not be a good year for the Republicans.

    November 26, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  15. Wade

    Every poll is different CNN always seems to favor the dems. The real polls I trust say it is a 9 point lead the GOP now has over the dems but the real pols are in the individual states . There the GOP lead is even greater.

    November 26, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  16. Tychi

    Fickle. Voters have very short memories. The whole fiasco this passed few years has been caused by the GOP. That people would vote for the GOP just due to ACA is beyond understanding. You vote for the GOP , you vote for America's nay-sayers, do-nothing politicians or for corporations.

    November 26, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  17. Corporate America

    GOP will put final nail in the coffin of the middle class. People starving in the streets and dead from no medical care. This was the GOP plan from the beginning to cancel policies. You don't hear Insurance companies complaining. CNN doesn't report that part of the story.

    November 26, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  18. Jess Florida

    No one can predict what will happen in November 2014, a year away. It's all up for grabs. If people would be smart and voted all the Democrats in and all the Republicans out, we would be moving Forward and Progressing this country as we all voted for in 2008 and 2012. If both parties do not understand the word, "compromise" then the next viable solution would be to have a majority rule in the house and senate to get stuff thru. If a President is a democrat, then so should the Senate and the House. If they're Republican, so should the House and the Senate. As Obama said recently, "If you don't like what I'm doing, win an election, change it" or something to those words. He's right. So hopefully, in 2014, people will wake up and realize compromise doesn't happen and the democrats needs to have the majority rule in both the house and senate the last 2 years of this administration to get anything done.

    November 26, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  19. tom l


    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.

    I have news for you. According to Obama, you're rich. Also, I'm hoping Obamacare can help you with that "fetish" for African American males just like Sarah Palin apparently has, according to you. By the way, calling another human being a "fetish" just due to the color of their skin is pretty darn racist.

    November 26, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  20. Madison

    Meaningless. The website is near fully operational, stories today in major papers about how good the deals are for consumers, now that they are signing up, millions and millions with coverage for the first times in many of their lives.

    Obamacare will be a success story by years end no matter how many millions Koch industries spends to spread lies about it. And it will not be the defining issue of the 2014 elections.

    November 26, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  21. Kerry

    When it comes to voting, the people will remember who brought the government to a standstill and will vote against the perps and GOP in general for backing the Tea Party.

    November 26, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  22. Stevester

    We haven't even heard any candidates speak yet and we're already discussing campaign odds??? Besides, with minimum wages being what they are and food stamps being slashed, it will most likely come down to the most populist party.

    November 26, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  23. Smoke and Mirros

    Super so the GOP can hold the country hostage, shut down govt, obstruct every single thing in legislation, and all democrats need to do is screw up a website and all is forgiven for the GOP. Americans are stupid if this poll is correct.

    November 26, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  24. Kerry

    When it comes to voting, the people will remember who brought the government to a standstill and will vote against them and GOP in general for backing the Tea Party.

    November 26, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  25. Gord

    Can't be!
    Some dork/dorkette poster was absolutely certain that the GOP would be wiped out in the next mid terms.

    November 26, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
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