CNN Poll: GOP has edge in early midterm indicator
December 26th, 2013
09:00 AM ET
9 years ago

CNN Poll: GOP has edge in early midterm indicator

Washington (CNN) - Democrats have lost their advantage and Republicans now have a slight edge in the battle for control of Congress, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/ORC International survey released Thursday also indicates that President Barack Obama may be dragging down Democratic congressional candidates, and that the 2014 midterm elections are shaping up to be a low-turnout event, with only three in 10 registered voters extremely or very enthusiastic about voting next year.

Two months ago, Democrats 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 evaporated, and a CNN poll a month ago indicated the GOP holding a 49%-47% lead. The new survey, conducted in mid-December, indicates Republicans with a 49%-44% edge over the Democrats.

The 13-point swing over the past two months follows a political uproar over Obamacare, which included the botched rollout of and controversy over the possiblity of insurance policy cancelations due primarily to the new health law.

"Virtually all the movement toward the GOP has come among men," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "Fifty-four percent of female voters chose the Democratic candidate in October; 53% pick the Dem now. But among male voters, support for Democratic candidates has gone from 46% in October to just 35% now."

Republicans have a 17-seat advantage in the House and Democrats hold 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 cautioned.

"A year before the 2010 midterms, for example, the Democrats held a 6-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 added.

Lack of enthusiasm

According to the poll, only three in 10 registered voters say they are extremely or very enthusiastic about voting for Congress next year, compared to more than four in 10 who felt that way in late 2009. And 43% say they're not enthusiastic about voting, up from 25% who felt that way four years ago.

Democratic voters seem particularly unenthusiastic about voting, and that is likely to benefit the GOP. Thirty-six percent of Republicans say they're extremely or very enthusiastic about voting. That number drops to 22% among Democrats.

Another GOP advantage is the President's standing with the public: 55% of registered voters say that they are more likely to vote for a congressional candidate who opposes the President than one who supports him and four in 10 say they are likely to vote for a candidate who supports Obama.

"Those kind of numbers spelled early trouble for the Democrats before the 1994 and 2010 midterms, and for the GOP before the 2006 elections," Holland said.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International from December 16-19, with 1,035 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

Filed under: 2014 • CNN/ORC International poll
soundoff (654 Responses)
  1. rs

    The reason is much more than just a botched roll-out or even ObamaCare itself. It's all the LIES the President and his minions ( told about keeping coverage, doctors, saving money, and being less expensive.
    And the GOP's lies? Death Panels, Healthcare surveys run by the IRS, sexual histories kept, socialism, etc? The GOP through the Koch brothers spent more that a $1 billion to lie about the ACA- remember? Congress is exempt? The GOP cannot even admit- the personal responsibility- that requires the purchase of healthcare insurance was their idea.

    December 26, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  2. Clinton Alexander

    ur wrong Richard dems will whipp gop butts u mark my words, gop thinks there gonna in 2014 they got a big surprise coming

    December 26, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  3. Clinton Alexander

    gop got a big surprise coming iun 2014

    December 26, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  4. Crandor

    It's quite obvious that if people make the great mistake in voting for the Republicans in 2014 that is because they are all independently wealthy or have the means to fully support themselves should a big crisis occur in their life and they would not have to turn to the government for some help or temporary assistance. They wouldn't need to. In fact, they could just all give back their Social Security checks to the government as well. They would also not care about Jobs, Education, the Environment, Clean Water, etc. either. The Middle-Class and the poor simply Cannot Afford To Vote Republican. People do not stop to think about that in their fervor to undo Obamacare, which they will later find they really need. They need to use their head and think logically in that the Republicans are all about CUT, CUT, CUT and that does not benefit anyone except the rich! When you Cut from programs that people deserve to have and what people have worked so hard for all of their life that they are now fully entitled to receive because they have EARNED it, then there is not one person who can benefit from it, except of course, the wealthy which is the prime aim of the Republicans in trying to gain control of both Houses of Congress and the presidency. Watch Out! Voting Republican could hurt you BIG TIME unless you are rich!

    December 26, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  5. nononsense57


    The thing that cracks me up about the web site flap (and yes, it was bad) is that when google is down, nobody considers google to be a complete failure. If it were anything other than the ACA that suffered such a rollout, there would be comparatively no complaints about it."

    You're not using all your brain cells. When Google is down there are readily available alternatives, and get this, no one is mandated to use them under threat of penalty! Also get this,,,Google is a corporation,,it's not part of the govt...oh no! You must have really cracked up. Please tell us,,which has Google gone down for extended period repeatedly (after promises it would be running)..?

    December 26, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  6. BobStrebs

    The GOP would like to take this time to joyfully thank the Democrat Party for Obamacare and all of its wonders.

    December 26, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  7. Textdoc

    It is not just the failure of Obama Care but the other idiotic things that are happening in America such as cutting veterans, the administrations war on Christians, the abuse of power by various administration departments, the IRS scandal, Benghazi killings, kowtowing to dictators, spying, corruptness in the administration, gun running in Fast and Furious, War on white traditions, and most of all a president who can not be trusted and would rather LIE THAN TTELL THE TRUTH.

    December 26, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  8. rs

    rs states "the ACA is working."

    Wow. "Denial" just isn't a strong enough word. "Mental illness" perhaps qualifies.
    Explain (using facts) what isn't working. Almost 3 million Americans have signed up for insurance since the ACA opened- the vast majority are getting better insurance at lower cost. How is that a failure?

    December 26, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  9. Nameas nicka

    Wake up people the republicans party don't think about you just themselve.Why you want the party republican in power who dragged the country bankcrupt what's wrong with the people today? Open your eyes and think twice or triple. Don't be amnesic

    December 26, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  10. BluClw


    Hehe desperate much?

    I especially like that bit about more people signing on to Obama Care when it was just reveled that even Obama himself couldn't use the site to sign up lol

    But please, by all means continue, I didn't mean to heckle your stand up!

    December 26, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  11. king

    the dems will be routed way more than they did last in 2010. i doubt if they will hold on to the the senate, because the Jerry meandering and the way superior propaganda machine that the repubs has .they will sweep the dems like bees . i see darker days in our future. because with the repubs in power they will be able to shift their focus to the big corporations, that will not invest in our old broken down country, and less and less spenders, they will be seeking greener pastures in china, and the immerging markets, which has way more spenders than we do. the constant sucking out of our spending money out of our economy, championed by the repubs and their global conquest mindframe, will reaked havoc on the middle class. america will seize to be america, as the wold will be the new economy, and america will be forced to compete with third world country wages, just to have a job, we will be just a dwindling slice of the world's pie. the stupidity of the american people has doomed us all.

    December 26, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  12. Clinton Alexander

    what if this new cnn poll is rigged to show that gop has egde to fool the gop into thinking there gonna win when really the democrats will win, I think this cnn poll is wrong and the dems will win but cnn wants to fool gop into thinking they will win when they wont

    December 26, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  13. Anonymous

    "CNN, which has been carrying water for Obama, the Democrats, and the DNC for quite sometime report that Republicans have a slight lead. Considering CNN's leftist leaning when it comes to reporting, I suspect that the Republicans have a huge lead in the polls."

    Regardless of what Bill O'Reilly thinks, CNN is not carrying water for Obama. Nor is it a "leftist" machine. That you are here at CNN spouting off FOX talking points explains your confusion. But, do continue to think that old Bill is looking out for the little people. Not only is O'Reilly amusing, so are his puppets. Personally, I rather think O'Reilly's only concern in life is his pocketbook. Of which he thanks you and his few million puppets.

    December 26, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  14. OnePercent

    The GOP has a very real chance of winning the senate in 2014...unless they do something idiotic like hand the democrats a massive victory on amnesty for illegal immigrants! I certainly hope the party leadership is smart enough to realize that such a foolish action will only serve to strengthen the democrats while weakening their own parties chances of regaining control over congress. Just hold on until 2015 and then once they have retaken power the GOP can then start working to resolve the immigration problem on their own terms instead of Harry Reid's.

    December 26, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  15. TruthIsLost

    Why do you all think they are pushing for Amnesty now? They need an entire NEW class of voter to exploit so the criminals can remain in power. You better get organized ASAP. The coup is on full speed ahead folks. If you are smart enough to get this, you should be prepared.

    December 26, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  16. lsjogren

    RS said:

    The Illegal amnesty charge however is totally bogus. The Senate's bi-partisan bill contains no amnesty, and no one in this administration is calling for it. On your last point, please be reminded that the GOP made Immigration reform a priority 2 years ago- and they got a bill through the Senate. Immigration reform is critical to the GOP's survival. The failure to secure that reform will lose them vote among the legal minority population.

    1). Granting legal status to illegal aliens is typically referred to as amnesty. Personally I don't think it's a very appropriate word but for the OPPOSITE reason you do. Amnesty is a euphemism for the legalization of illegal aliens. True amnesty would be for the govt to guarantee that if illegal aliens return to their home countries then the US will not prosecute them for immigration-related crimes. But the Senate bill is amnesty in the sense of letting a bank robber go scot-free and still allowing them to keep the money they stole.

    2). The legal minority population does not support bringing in new immigrants to take their jobs, which is what the Senate immigration bill does. African Americans strongly oppose permissive immigration laws. Latino Americans are split, but are bound to be increasingly anti-immigration as they find their economic future increasingly jeopardized by the influx of workers for whom there are no jobs.

    3). If the so-called Comprehensive Immigration Bill passes, it will be bad for the Republicans, but for the opposite reason the pundits claim- it will be bad for the Republicans because many Republicans are siding with the extremist Democrat open-border position. While it will be bad for the Republican Party, it will be a disaster for the Democratic Party. To be a party that claims to stand for"the little guy" and then adopting this policy which floods the workforce with tens of millions of more workers than there are jobs for is a path to the absolute obliteration of the American middle class, and the people are going to seek retribution against the political forces, first and foremost the Democrats, who did this to them.

    December 26, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  17. Tampa Tim

    Is there anything that the republicans have done that will help citizens? In the last 5 years, anything? I would like to know of one thing, anything. In the last two years, anything? Nope, not a thing.

    December 26, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  18. LesTadO

    You idiots need to break out of this divide and conquer tactic and realize that GOP and the so called "Liberals" are all funded by the SAME PEOPLE! They are all in the same GROUPS (CFR, Builderburg, BOHEMIAN CLUB) and yet you really believe they aren't allies? How ignorant do you have to be to reality to allow yourself to remain in this state of mind? Let me ask you this, if the pope was a member of a CULT (like the Bohemian Club who worships a stone owl every summer) that also had members from other religions such as Satanism or Luciferianism, would you still trust the pope? Or would you (wisely) think: maybe he is in alliance with them....? It is no different when these "Democrats" and "Republicans" gather in the Skull & Bones, Scroll & Key, and Wolf's Head societies at Yale; then grow up to meet in the Bohemian Grove by the THOUSANDS every summer. Nearly all presidents and major world leaders (including all the CEOs, CFOs, and other high ups in all of the major Banks & Corporations) come to this religious cult and nobody bats an eye? You are all in denial.

    December 26, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  19. Bubba

    Republicans win, the Middle Class loses. Democrats win, the Middle Class loses. Tea Party wins, the Middle Class loses. There is a strong pattern starting show here.
    For a country who sees itself as primarily Middle Class, we surely do not vote accordingly.

    December 26, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  20. rs

    Perspective (as they say), is everything. 5 years into this President's administration we have:
    8 million new jobs.
    The lowest unemployment rate in 5 years.
    15 million new cars sold this year.
    A record high stock market.
    The highest executive pay ever.
    The most American millionaires and billionaires-ever.
    Record corporate profits.

    And yet, the GOP cries and called this President a "failure"- clearly he is a better Republic (by their own metrics) that they are. Remind me again- what has the GOP done in the past 5 years to help? Oh, yeah, they passed 265 laws to regulate the human female reproduction system- always jobs in that!.

    December 26, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  21. tony

    I thought Pajama boy would have helped with the male demographic.

    December 26, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  22. Sniffit

    Still early.

    "Enjoy minority status, Harry Reid et al: you're about to experience it for a decade, or so."

    Oh please. What happened to the GOP's "permanent majority" they claimed to have achieved during Dubya's administration? It's too early to rely on any of these polls. CNN is just stirring the pot because they don't want to do any real journalistic work.

    December 26, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  23. Really

    The GOP-TP has dug a deep, deep hole. One little Dem hiccup won't make a difference, wait and see!

    December 26, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  24. Sniffit

    "when it was just reveled that even Obama himself couldn't use the site to sign up lol "

    Gross misrepresentation. The fact that his aides did it for him and that national security concerns about the President of the United States' personal information required some different procedures indicates neither that the website is broken (it's not and is signing people up at 50,000+ per day) or that the website poses security concerns for the rest of us.

    December 26, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  25. Paul

    Looks like the Republicans' incentives to the private contractors working on the ACA websites paid off.

    December 26, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
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