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. Anonymous

    There sure is a lot of anti-Obamacare people complaining about a program they will never have the need to use nor would ever sign up for to begin with.

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

    “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”
    ― Winston Churchill
    Pretty humorous inasmuch as England is in fact a socialist nation (especially when looking at health care) then, right?

    December 26, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  3. JC Calhoun

    Until the GOP fat cats get tough they will NEVER win a big national election. Pajama boy will vote Democrat until hell freezes over. The only thing that will change that for metrosexuals like PJ boy is when he loses his job and goes to jail for not paying his health insurance premium. The Republicans need a commercial like the 1984 Big Brother Super Bowl ad.

    December 26, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  4. Really

    Same way 2012 started on CNN, predicting a close race, but it didn't happen. Advertising Revenue was up, the GOP/TP was down.

    December 26, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  5. richard

    The American people did Obama to themselves.
    The American people had ample opportunity to learn the truth about the Democrat/Communist Partie and they chose to live in a coma and believe the lies.
    Rev Wright, that alone was enough to alarm and bring vomit to any civilized person!
    The looney left of Obama,Pelosi,Reid and the fruitcake Elizabeth Warren and the filth of the Clintons is the very epitome of the Democrats as they exist today.
    The party of Henry Jackson,Sam Nunn,JFK is gone!

    December 26, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  6. rs

    Tampa Tim
    The ACA has three million success stories in 3 months. Can anyone think of one Republican success story other than the government shutdown?
    Or a successful GOP effort at all since Bush? They even botched the shutdown!

    December 26, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  7. Frakinstein

    Until the GOP fat cats get tough they will NEVER win a big national election. Pajama boy will vote Democrat until hell freezes over.

    December 26, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  8. Chris

    If the people's memories are so short after the republican shutdown disaster, I'm sure in 6 months, the troubled rollout of the Affordable Care Act won't even register.

    December 26, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  9. get real

    You must be joking! When say "edge" do you mean the "edge of a cliff"?

    December 26, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  10. rs

    Rick McDaniel
    Anyone who would vote for the Dems, after their DISMAL performance, over the last 5 yrs. is deluding themselves..........seriously...........about the truth.
    Name 1 thing the GOP has done FOR America or Americans- just one that shows they care at all about our nation.

    December 26, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  11. Mark in MD

    This poll might be interesting if 2014 was a Presidential election year, but it's not. You can't predict the outcome of congressional elections with a national poll. You need to look state by state, district by district.

    Considering that the Democrats just won a clean sweep of the three highest offices (Governor, Lt Governor, Attorney General) in Virginia – one of the biggest swing states in recent years – suggests that the outcome of the 2014 elections could be exactly the OPPOSITE of what this polls indicates.

    December 26, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  12. anthony ta

    I prefer the voters have to study o ck more all about the president 's policies helpthem or not. If they are not vote all of his party out

    December 26, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  13. LesTadO

    @rs Shut up and please stop spouting off all your false "factoids". All of those numbers have been skewed and anybody who understands math can see that for themselves. Either you are very gullible and believe everything the government tells you, or you are a government mouthpiece that gets paid to come on sites like this and spew nonsense to mislead people. Regardless of which one you are, you make me sad. I feel bad for you. Ignorance is pathetic and there's no excuse for it in a world so full of information. When you change the definition of unemployment, the numbers change. The pool surveyed changed from the number of people who were working age in general to the number of people who "were actively seeking employment"... I think that changes things huh? Those 8 million "new jobs"? Where are they because I haven't seen them and from what I've read that was a big manipulation of numbers to get the "8 million". Alot of the "new jobs" were simply retitling of old positions and guess what? THE SAME PEOPLE WHO ALREADY HAD THE JOBS ARE STILL DOING THEM! The stock market looks high because of the massive INFLATION they have put into effect. Of course there is more "money" in the stock market than ever, because money is worth less than it EVER has been... And frankly, gauging the success of this country on billionaires and executives seems a bit off to me... Most of us are not in that category... And again I will point out that profits are high because the Dollar is LOW... Take into account the devaluation of our dollar over the last 5 years and you will see that the numbers are actually DOWN. Good job falling for all the disinfo though, you're awesome.

    December 26, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  14. pappy

    Its frightening that people are that short sighted and don't see the GOP for what they still are, pro big business and anti American.

    December 26, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  15. jim57

    The republican lead in the polls will be short-lived.
    After his vacation, the President will give a speech and express his amazement at the inefficienies of Obamacare, the President will note that the republicans refused to vote for Obamacare thereby hurting its implementation, and the President will vow to fix Obamacare notwithstanding the terrible republican resistance.

    The press will marvel at the President's speech and declare Obamacare a non-issue. The news shows will report the thrill of the President's speech and express its amazement at how quickly Obamacare has been rescued notwithstanding the oppressive, anti-everything, republican party. The President only had to speak! The democracts will soar in the polls.

    December 26, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  16. Duke McFarlen

    Nothing to watch on CNN, unless it appears during Chanels scrolling up and down.
    On this one, hopefully the guy writing this article and being on front of Drudge readers, don't get fired.
    CNN ACCIDENTLY seems to give an edge to the other side of the isle and that is a NO, NO for them, being faire and balanc...
    I congratulate you on this one.

    December 26, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  17. Name arnejdtucktt

    R u kidding yourselves this poll is like the one taken before the last election u got it wrong it does not represent the middle class struggling American people who don't have a higher wage or health care your poles omit the people who will vote again for the democrats who care and who got it right in last two elections doing the right thing wins in the end and a clear conscience and love for one another

    December 26, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  18. Really

    Huge Demographic shift from the GOP/TP and their failed policies. Polling Grandma and Grandpa doesn't count!

    December 26, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  19. BluClw


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

    Yawn. Thats why if election day was tomorrow only the democrats would be crying about it.

    After all we're ready to face our "hiccups" are you? Or perhaps you need a little more time to massage the message? lol

    December 26, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  20. Whosiwhatzit

    The Democrats have done a tremendous job at keeping the people misinformed about ACA. It was only the undeniable disaster of the website that brought forth an undeniable truth that even the lapdog media could not deny. That the ACA was brought to the US House and voted on without debate. It was voted on not only without debate but without even a reading of the 2000+ page monstrocity. Not one single Republican voted for it, but Nancy Peloci pushed it thru, undebated and unread on the premise that they had to "pass the bill so you can find out what's in the bill." And then Harry Reid used the parliamentary process of "Reconcilliation" to push it thru the Senate without debate. Again, not one single Republican voted for ACA then. Now that the American people can see clearly what was in that bill that Pelosi and Reid rammed thru, they see it for what it is. It stinks on ice and the loyal Democrat lemmings who rammed it thru without a single Republican vote will now pay the price. I look forward to a landslide next November – and rightlully so.

    December 26, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  21. nononsense57

    Rudy sez.."Rudy NYC

    Once Americans figure out the hypocrisy of the overall argument being made against the PP&ACA, then Republican support will quickly dwindle. You have a party that wants to "Repeal And Replace" a law with absolutely nothing. House Republicans have yet to put one piece of legislation on the floor for a vote that could be remotely described as a replacement. "

    Actually Rudy,,you keep looking to big daddy govt to solve the problem. Consider John Cochrane's suggestions in WSJ-
    He says (among other things) "Rather than a mandate for employer-based groups, we should transition to fully individual-based health insurance. Allow national individual insurance offered and sold to anyone, anywhere, without the tangled mess of state mandates and regulations. Allow employers to contribute to individual insurance at least on an even basis with group plans. Current group plans can convert to individual plans, at once or as people leave. Since all members in a group convert, there is no adverse selection of sicker people."

    He also points out "No other country has a free health market, you may object. The rest of the world is closer to single payer, and spends less.

    Sure. We can have a single government-run airline too. We can ban FedEx and UPS, and have a single-payer post office. We can have government-run telephones and TV. Thirty years ago every other country had all of these, and worthies said that markets couldn't work for travel, package delivery, the "natural monopoly" of telephones and TV. Until we tried it."

    December 26, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  22. Anonymous

    "Will anyone be voting except for us folks who support the Tea Party rebellion?"

    Laugh of the day or simple stupidity? Hard to decide.

    December 26, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  23. Clinton Alexander

    I just saw a former republican congressman on msnbc say that he does think democrats will pick up a few seats in the us house but he thinks gop will keep the us house but he said that he thinks it would be hard for gop to capture the us senate and he used to be a republican house member, so he thinks democrats will keep us senate and I agree with him

    December 26, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  24. nononsense57


    Its frightening that people are that short sighted and don't see the GOP for what they still are, pro big business and anti American
    As opposed to the Dems who are anti-business AND anti-American. There you go,,two can play this game.

    December 26, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  25. Sandra

    I find it hard to believe that the Obamacare debacle "uproar" has surpassed what the GOP has done to the ENTIRE country... and continues to do. Are we really that stupid?

    December 26, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
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