November 26th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
9 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. Rudy NYC


    @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
    Have you ever heard of the ADDI? The "American Dream Downpayment Initiative" was passed by a Republican Congress and signed into law in 2004 by a Republican President. It was designed to give away $200 million annually, in $10,000 grants, to first time home buyers. It also relaxed the rules for the languages in mortgates so that people would not have to go out and hire an accountant, or a lawyer, to read it for them.

    That piece of legislation, the 2004 ADDI, led directly to the modifed language used by lenders to create the mortgages with balloon payments that the people simply could never afford, which led to the still ongoing mortgage crisis in America.

    November 26, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  2. Dave

    The People saw and realized that the government shut down was ALL on Obama and Reid. Obama KNEW for FACT that the ACA was not ready to roll out, and the individual mandate should be delayed, just like what was requested. The Republicans had already conceded (agreed to...compromised to) letting the ACA go effective to those that WANT to participate, but to only delay the MANDATE to participate for those that do not want to change plans. Obama and Reid were the ones' which REFUSED to negotiate or make any compromises, and forced the government shut down. The People (paying attention) now know this to be fact. Now add the "naked power grab" (Biden's own words) of implementing the nuclear option, and The People are DONE with the established hypocritical democrats.

    November 26, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  3. Tom Legare

    Dream on dudes. This poll is about as useless as breasts on a hog!!

    November 26, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  4. Fact

    Socialism and Capitalism cannot be combined.
    Obamcare is attempting to do that, which will drastically increase the wealth distribution inequality. With Obamcare the middle-class folks will be paying the bills for poor-class, gradually swifting them too in to poor-class. Rich-class becomes richer by collecting all the money lost my middle-class

    November 26, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  5. FreedomFred

    in response to Thomas. If you think that any president has an affect on a free market system, you are an idiot. The economy is controlled by corporations. The president has no power with the economy.

    November 26, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  6. Dave

    Where's my $2,500 cost savings for a comparable healthcare plan with my same doctors, as promised? On here how many of you are actually seeing a $2,500 decrease in premium with a similar plan, AND keeping your doctor?

    November 26, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  7. winchester74

    the GOP pays CNN to post these phony "news" stories

    November 26, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  8. DS

    You think the polls suck for the Dems now just wait until next year when millions more get shafted and their policy gets cancelled. Hell, I kept my plan and my premium went up $240/month next year. So the morons who think the poll results are just due the botched website have their head up their arse. I am livid and everyone I work with as well.

    November 26, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  9. southerngent


    What a joke!
    That would only be a drop in a bucket to pay all the liberal programs. Where do you go from here.
    So how much do you want to take from the rich?
    What do "you" think is fair?
    Give some real numbers?

    If you win the lottery YOU would be bitching about how much the government would take.

    Are you OK with a socialist form government? I for one am not and here we have our quandary, liberals want to take what I have to distribute the wealth, conservatives want to maintain our constitutional rights.

    November 26, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  10. Edwin

    The worst part about this is that, due to gerrymandering, democrats need to have about a +8% advantage to get half the seats in the House.

    That aside, nobody should have thought the shut down swing would last... and nobody should think this Obamacare rollout swing will last, either. In spite of the shut down "disaster" most people seem to have recovered just fine, and in spite of the rollout "horror" it appears that sign ups are actually progressing quite well. In a month or so almost nobody will really care that ACA started badly.

    Of course, Obama personally took a hit, just like the GOP in Congress took a hit... But that doesn't change much in terms of actual elections.

    November 26, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  11. Deac

    Just wait until people start loosing their employer supplied insurance and premiums skyrocket...its not going to be pretty

    November 26, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  12. Tim

    CNN, please quit with the very unscientific polling of 843 questioned. IT IS NOT NEWS!! It is at the very least, annoying and a complete waste of time evening opening article. If you are going to poll do one representative of 30,000 likely voters across all states. That would be an attention grabbing poll!

    November 26, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  13. Clarity

    Well I run a large business, I am white and relatively high income but fortunately not a simpleton so certainly would never vote for the Greedy old party! Oh to be in a country with a decent national health system.......instead of clinging to the past.

    November 26, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  14. Saboth

    Obamacare's rollout has been a mess. Personally, my insurance rates went up about 15%, and I may lose some benefits at work supposedly because of Obamacare. However, I can't see the logic in rewarding the Republican party with any seats in Congress or the Presidency. They've spent the past 3-4 years doing nothing at all but obstructing progress in the country. This "economy" that they like to blame in Obama came about after almost 2 full terms of Republican control of House, Senate, Executive, and some would argue Judicial as well. They have done absolutely nothing to help this country for quite a while now, and not only that, have been actively hindering the country with hopes Americans will give power back to them. Sorry, just can't see it, regardless if Obamacare had a bumpy rollout or my personal finances are worse off because of Obamacare. Why? Because Republicans have proven they have no ideas to solve anything.

    November 26, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  15. Tampa Tim is a liar

    Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    People would have to be crazy to vote for the GOP to control the house, just look at their incompetent behavior over the last five years , no jobs bills no healthcare no farm bill, they are just a total failure, and then there's the shutdown and the GOP loss of 34 billion dallars in 16 days, vote dem.
    Now it is $34 billion, when did it go up from $24, can't keep your lies straight??? LOL Too bad the American public now sees that is was Obama and the Dems in the senate that shut down the government, not the GOP! Say bye bye to all the dems in Congress and Senate in 2014!!! hahahahaha Freaking hilarious, your name even states 24 billion and you still can't keep your LIES straight! LMFAO

    November 26, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  16. tc

    great – society is flapping between partisan failures. What we need is compromise from both parties to balance this out. Why can't we see by being too far left or too far right is bad in itself. Bouncing between them for 4 years at a pop is not the answer and makes things worse. The change needs to come from our leadership to stay in the middle of the road.

    November 26, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  17. rare_earth

    Oh look.
    Americans taking sides again.
    There aren't any 'sides' folks.
    They're all the same.
    After this Obama fiasco, I have made it my intention to never, ever vote again.

    November 26, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  18. Loathstheright

    Never underestimate the stupidity of the American sad that people are really that stupid as to even think of voting republican.

    November 26, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  19. Darwin

    The only good thing about the GREAT RECESSION was the millions of Conservatives who lost their HEALTH INSURANCE and thus were able to find out personally how rotten our American health care system is. Here's a comparison of our health condition compared to CANADA (from the CIA worldfacts website):

    Canada maternal mortality = 12 deaths/100,000 live births; USA = 21 (75% higher!)
    Canada Infant mortality = 4.78 deaths/1,000 live births; USA = 5.9 (23% higher!)
    Canada life expectancy = 81.6 years; USA = 78.6 (3 years shorter!!!)
    Canada spends 11.2% of GDP on healthcare; USA spends 17.9%

    So don't give me any right-wing hate radio lies about Canadians dying up there because they can't get timely treatment because CANADIANS LIVE 3 YEARS LONGER THAN AMERICANS! If we could just have more millions of American conservatives dying early because of the rotten American system, then maybe these troglodytes will let us go to the simple, universal, tax supported Canadian MEDICARE FOR ALL.

    November 26, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  20. livingston

    This poll means the exact same thing that the poll last month meant as far as the 2014 elections go. It means absolutely nothing. The fact that it can change so quickly shows that this far out, it means nothing.

    November 26, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  21. PtBarnumBoy

    Can't wait to get back to those Bush days. I really miss those unjustified wars and economic failures.

    November 26, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  22. Batrix

    The writer is Republican!..............How will it happen when all this Repubs are always against the will of the people..imagine, they can afford and say "Now we have shutdown the goverment"....what a thinking? never cared for those who lost their checks, counting on their salary every pay period, loosing benefits for a month or so...this thinking should not be for the congress nor WH.

    November 26, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  23. martin

    It's a long way to Tipperary

    November 26, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  24. fatlip

    Don't worry y'all... the republicans will screw it up before the election, they always do!

    November 26, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  25. Drew

    CNN also projected Romney to win after debate 1

    November 26, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
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