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. David

    Yeah, put Republicans in charge when most of us are still not making it. Because they have a plan to fix healthcare and the economy. And that plan is......?

    November 26, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  2. oreo

    LOL!, the only thing worse than a Republican is a Democrat!

    November 26, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |

    It is about time people got smart. Do not vote for Democrats they are hateful, liars, racist, Anti-Business and Anti-people. All they care about is getting votes.

    November 26, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  4. dwstick

    And now I see that Obama has quickly and quietly ordered the US Embassy to Vatican City to shut down. The move appears to be purely spiteful, since US Catholics were vehemently against all the abortion and birth-control coverage requirements in the new Obamacare law.
    Supposedly, Vatican City personnel will move to, and operate out of the US Embassy in Rome. The 'official' reason for the closing was 'security concerns'. Trust me, it was pure spite. Nothing more.

    November 26, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  5. petena

    You will vote for GOP because of the rollout of ACA? Give me a break! You are probably one of those who doesn't even need the coverage.

    November 26, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  6. dejavu65

    I don't believe this poll at all..and if it was true then Americans have a very low collective IQ...So what if the ACA is having problems in the first couple of months at the end of the day it will eventually work out and be beneficial to all Americans are you all forgetting that the current and past health care system in American is a rip off!!!!!.....Also how in the world do people forget what the GOP has continue do over and over to destroy this country the last 5 years..all the GOP has done is be negative and try to block every job act to protect the rich 1% that controls their party now...I work in the health care field and have a secure high paying job...a cynical part of me wants the GOP to I can laugh when they change all of the existing policies to put us back in a recession and rob from the poor and middle class to benefit the billionaires,, it would kinda be poet justice...You would really trust the devil just because Obamacare is off to a slow start...good luck trying to survive the next recession and hope you all have no pre-existing condition and can cover your children with health insurance...I will still be pocketing money in the bank...Good luck simple minded Americans!!!!Good luck!!!

    November 26, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  7. candycoatedapple

    GOP has my vote!

    November 26, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  8. David

    If you like your nuclear program you can keep your nuclear program-oh wait-you didn't build that--I just love my healthcare increase-I was wonderingthough if I dould count a few poor people as dependents?-what do you think?

    November 26, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  9. Sum guy

    If the Republicans can be smart about the budget negotiations for once, they can ride this right to the elections. Obamacare will only get more bad press when the employer mandate kicks in.

    November 26, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  10. John

    The House and the Senate needs a clean slate. Get rid of everyone in DC, and start over. We have so many career politicians, and the job was never meant to be this. The American people need to stop looking at parties, and start looking at candidates. Who is the best person for the job?

    November 26, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  11. Geoff

    This is like watching a battered wife choose which of her abusive ex-husbands to move back in with. Enough is enough America, wake up and vote 3rd party.

    November 26, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  12. liz

    Can't help but remember Koch/Dinkins race for NYC Mayor in 89' the media kept showing voters being polled as they exited the voting sites and they all said they voted for Koch turns out they lied Dinkins became Mayor. Don't believe the polls especially not one done a year in advanced of the vote.

    November 26, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  13. Scott

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

    Text from story:
    "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.

    Misleading headline is misleading.

    November 26, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  14. rs


    Republicans are the devil that we know and are better than the ones we do not know. For what this current administration has done to Israel, they will never get my vote again. How in the world did they give Iran the green light to enrich their uranium! Why! Now, it is going to be nuclear arms race in the Middle East again!!!! God will surely come down to protect Israel this time and I pray for Benjamin N to remain strong and fear not.
    Ummm, point of fact: At the beginning of GW Bush's Administration, Iran had zero centrifuges to enrich uranium. After 8 years of sanctions, and no dialog, Iran had hundreds of centrifuges and was enriching uranium. get it? Nuclear energy much weaponry is not theoretically complex, but it does require high-tech. Israel has the bomb, it isn't proprietary- anyone with the technology can build one. This treaty halts much of Iran's nuclear activity. In other words, take off your partisan blinders.

    November 26, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  15. Jason

    These polls are obviously skewed. I didn't think anyone was actually a democrat anymore. Who in their right mind would vote for another democrat after witnessing this mess for over 4 years?

    November 26, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  16. mike

    Ted Cruz was right. Impeach impeach impeach

    November 26, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  17. Jim

    Polls, every other week polls, it's no wonder nothing gets accomplished. Polls will put any moderate common sense idea in check because before it can be thoroughly reviewed, the polls already have their say. Thank you todays hypersensitive politically polarizing media. There was a time when the news was working for the people for a better tomorrow. Now, the more chaos, the better the ratings.

    November 26, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  18. Thomas

    @ Misterwire. Israel can take care of themselves and it's about time!

    November 26, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  19. Heidi

    I do not drink the kool-aid of either party I voted for the President because as a female of color I do not feel welcome in the Republican party. I do not think reforming health care is a bad idea but private insurers are in control and they will continiue to set the prices and we will continue to have rising cost and spend more on helathcare than any insustrialized nation in the world and provide services to less people. I am in the 53% that owe taxes at the end of the year. I do not think we can cut or spend our way out of debt and neither party wants to admit we need both revenue and cuts. We need jobs more than anyhting that can raise people out of poverty. I am sick to death of the tea party and any other politician that will not compromise to try and make things better. To solve our problems we will have to get a loner attention span.

    November 26, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  20. Squealy


    November 26, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  21. Bill

    The fool part about this is that a third party hasn't gained traction yet.

    November 26, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  22. Bob Smith

    Everyone wants universal health care, just as long as someone else is paying for it.

    November 26, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  23. 66Biker

    Who do you vote for when it is so obvious that no politician deserves your vote? Regardless of which politician wins, the typical American voter loses. They represent big corporations, themselves and their rich friends, and couldn't care less about anyone else.

    November 26, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  24. poorboy

    Looks like if Dems like their Dem senators, maybe they won't be able to keep them.

    Of course the new Dem strategy is to claim that what they really said was "If you like your plan and doctors, you will be able to keep them FOR A PERIOD (the period being the time between when you log into the exchange and when you are able to sign up).

    November 26, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  25. Js

    "Democrats are doomed and a month before that Republicans were doomed and a month before that Democrats were doomed and a moth before that Republicans were doomed.

    Each side takes turns screwing up and America takes a poll to see who they hate worse every month"

    ^^ Absolutely perfect and right on the money!

    November 26, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
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