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. Me

    Has Anyone

    Has anyone signed up for the republican plan yet?
    Yep I have along with about 85% of the population! Remeber, 85% of the population WERE HAPPY WITH THEIR HEALTH INSURANCE PRIOR TO OBAMACARE but of course you and your liberal buddies forget this!!! Troll!

    November 26, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  2. wendel

    well we have repo congressmen using assumed names trying to blast the president on face book and twitter. How many on this site complaining about health care? The republicans have waged a dirty war on this president and people stupid enough to believe in them will get what they deserve in the next election. If going back to the 1950's with no health care and low wages is your idea of progress then have at it. Just remember the minority will soon be the majority and then we will just vote all the repo trolls and their followers out.

    November 26, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  3. southerngent

    Get a job

    I agree. This is what conservatives have been saying for the past 5 years. If obama had focused on jobs instead of obamacare then more people could afford health care. Even if we keep this nightmare law, there will always be people who will not have health insurance and the system will still have to provide for them, unless we completely abandon capitalism.

    Liberals will just say it was Bush's fault, although the democrats were in control in 08 and the fact obama has had 5 years.
    They will also it is the Republicans fault because they tried to block all legislation disregarding the fact the democrats were had full control.

    November 26, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  4. Kevin

    None of this matters right now. People vote based on how things are in October/November 2014.

    November 26, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  5. steve

    I had great health care before Obama fixed it! Never again will I vote democrat.

    November 26, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  6. Don

    As a news "junkie," everyday I read MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, and of course, CNN. (Including comments.) It is very obvious that the American citizens are slowly awakening to the failure of our Socialist experiment with Pelosi/Reid/Obama. Even CBS is starting to report un-slanted news but woefully, MSNBC and CNN have not yet notice their precipitous lowering of viewers and commentator"s attempt to correct MSNBC and CNN's slanted tacks.

    November 26, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  7. Christopher

    My first reaction to this headline is: ARE YOU FREAKIN' KIDDING ME???
    Americans really do have short memories.

    November 26, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  8. James

    As someone who lives in California and has seen the horrible effects of one party rule (Democrats in this case), I will do everything in my power to make sure Wasington doesn't return to one party ruile. Whether it is all Republicans who start wars and spend on their pet projects or whether as in California everything is tilted towards the illegal aliens or prisoners. One party rule does not work.

    November 26, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  9. Kevin

    There goes the stock market, and housing prices, and the rest of the economy.

    November 26, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  10. just wondering

    you cannot fix stupid

    November 26, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  11. Rooney

    I was stupid enough to vote for Obama the first time because I used to be one of the many thousands of uninformed voters that helped him get elected. If you cant see through this man now, then you have got to be a complete idiot.

    November 26, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  12. mindie from indie

    how gullible are you people ? Don't you know CNN does this for ratings? Every comment (including mine) is proof millions of people read this rag. Tomorrow a report will come out saying the Democratic Party has the advantage. Good Grief.

    November 26, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  13. Steve

    Going down to historic defeat. Obamacare and its rollout will end up being the Pickett's Charge of American liberalism

    November 26, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  14. indymary

    It's a bit early for victory laps.

    November 26, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  15. Klue

    As Wendel illustrates, whackjob left-wingers abound.

    Always funny how left-wingers react to dissent against them – they can't stand it and wish to silence, demonize, exterminate it.

    November 26, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  16. fukoff

    The dems deserve the beating coming their way

    November 26, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  17. Me


    @tom l
    Any of the liberals on here want to defend the labor participation rate? That shows how many people are working that can work. Every year of GWB's presidency it was in the 66% range. It remained in the high 65's for the first year of Obama's presidency, then trickled down to the 64's for the next couple of years, then down to 63 and is now firmly in the 63's for the past few years and is now at 62.8%.

    That is damning evidence. You can't spin that. This president has failed the economy.


    Can we go and look for WMDs in Iraq again ?
    That is all you liberals can do is try and deflect, TRUTH HURTS doesn't it!!! hahahahaha

    November 26, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  18. BeverlyNC

    This poll changes nothing about the reality of the extremism of the Republican Party. They have destroyed the rights of workers – refuse to raise the minimum wage, women – degrade us and have passed state laws to prevent us from making our own health decisions, voters – voter suppression laws, purging voter lists, targeting minorities, gerrymandering districts and cheating in every way they can because they can't win otherwise.
    Republicans are still full of hate, lies, bigotry, and want to destroy every major program benefitting us. They want to kill education, job creation, infrastructure, immigration reform, Social Security, Medicare, all assistance for the poor, and healthcare with complete lies about the ACA. 0.6% of people lost policies and they were awful policies with no coverage so when these people did need care, they could not pay and we all lost by paying for them in higher premiums. I have kept my policy and so has every single person I know.
    The number of people signing up is doubling and tripling each month. The ACA is working and has been for more than a year. All children are covered. Students can stay on their parents policies until age 26. There are no more insurance abuses such as pre-existing conditions, random loss of policy when your treatment cost is too high, a lifetime cap on medical coverage, and other abuses to deny you treatment when it will hurt their profit margin.
    The President does not lie – Republicans lie about him and dismiss every one of his accomplishments. Republicans in Congress have not allowed a single bill to even be debated much less voted on. 433 filibusters in the Senate when there have only been 3 total since the Johnson administration in the 1960s. Refusal to take any votes by Speaker John Boehner.
    Republicans don't care about healthcare. They only care about defeating the President.
    The People and the Party destroying this nation and our rights are Republicans and when the people realize this again – Democrats will take back the government and actual work will get done for the people, the nation, and making sure we have no more wars (like the one Republicans are desperately wanting with Iran).
    I stand with the President. Democrats are the only ones standing up for you. They are the only ones keeping you from losing all your rights and all the programs you depend on. Democrats work for you. Republicans work for corporations who pay them highly to only look out for them and not you.

    November 26, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  19. yankquest

    Ahhh.... Here comes the "I told you so" crowd. Of course there has been some damage, but in states that followed the Federal Government (i.e. Kentucky) things have run much smoother. Besides, when was it alright for one side to basically "sabotage" our country, just to make a point? Since Obama has been in office, the miscreants have come out of the woodwork, many of whom call themselves "Christians". This country had been in a mess when Obama took over, and things finally are swinging around, with zero help from the right, zero. We have heard over and over about birth certificates, religion, and yes, his skin color, BUT, zero support from the right for ANYTHING proposed by the left, zero. The right now operates on the premiss that, if you tell a lie often enough, people will believe you. How quickly those that support the right have forgotten just how bad Medicare Part D was when it came out, and it was not even budgeted for!! But, that's OK, since it was the right that brought it out, not the left. Oh yeah, lets not forget that we must support big business, after all, they need help to create jobs, but we have to get the people off the federal budget, it costs too much.....

    November 26, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  20. RobertD

    See saw, flip flop, party out of power attacks party in power.

    Meanwhile, the country is headed in a straight line towards fiscal insolvency.

    November 26, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  21. Me


    The masses are often fools. Consider this...the GOP takes a quantum leap in the polls because they chose to sit back and permit the Affordable Care Act (supported by the majority of Americans)
    That is a flat out lie scott, EVERY poll says just the opposite!!! I can't believe people like you have NO integrity and will blatantly lie like that, Dems are a sad group of liars these days!

    November 26, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  22. BinFL

    Everyone knows these polls will change 100 times before the 2014 elections and the only poll that will matter will be the election results. If the Repubs/Tea Partiers shut down the government again they will be toast!

    November 26, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  23. southerngent

    Thank you Don.

    Some of us know the liberal news outlets appear to hide all negative stories of this current administration, but some refuse to believe it, just like they refuse to believe obama lied about obamacare.

    November 26, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  24. T. Lee

    IF REPUBLICANS ARE RETURNED TO THE W.H. & Senate majority – then Americans are TOO STUPID to be given the right to vote!!

    Has everyone FORGOTTEN? – that the Bush "rollout" (Republican) of the Medicare Prescription Plan for Seniors was just as much a fiasco (albeit on a slightly smaller scale) than "Obamacare" has been? It took Democrats coming to the rescue to fix that mess – something the Republicans haven't stepped up to the plate to do in return.

    Has everyone FORGOTTEN the train-wreck the REPUBLICANS made of the country's economy??? Jobs are back, housing is recovering, THE MARKET IS ROARING AGAIN – all with NO THANKS from the Republicans!!

    Vote the Republicans back into political majority in the Senate and return them to the W.H.?

    NO THANKS (and I vote Independent BTW!!!)

    November 26, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  25. mac1017

    I have great healthcare coverage, but The Affordable Care Act is what's good for our country not what's only good for me. Unfortunately, since Reagan told the country that "government is the problem" no one thinks government can pass laws that make the citizens of this country better (as it has throughout our history). It's early in the game. Republicans will have a lot of explaining to do when they do studies in 5 years showing that the states that embraced the ACA have healthier populations paying less for medical care than the states that didn't. Mark my word.

    November 26, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
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