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. Clinton Alexander

    remember hitler wanted to get rid of the poor disabled just like the tea party and gop wants to do, so gop and tea party is nazis

    December 26, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  2. Javier

    Tell you all something...if the USA can change and get rid of all these Liberal Socialists – I'll start hiring and investing in my business again. I'll stop going offshore in fear of another welfare driven tax hike. I'll take on risk and invest with the hope of actually being able to keep some of my hard earned money/success – instead of being forced to give it to the ACA and other anti-business legislation that the Dems so stupidly enacted that are making me feel this is no longer America.

    December 26, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  3. JBar595

    With the country on the verge of falling apart who is really surprised. Obama is more interested in himself and his legacy than the United States, Pox on him and his family.

    December 26, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  4. Paul

    I hope that the dems lose control. That way we can stop this out of control congress and whitehouse.

    December 26, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  5. Heime

    The socialist democrats will have their butts handed to them on a platter in the next election.

    December 26, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  6. Broh

    You are right about us GOPers – we are evil, evil, evil.

    All I do is employ a dozen or so of all ages and races, make a middle class wage, purchase from my other local businessman, contribute generously to charity AND expect to keep most of what I earn.

    You liberals better stop us – and your new plans for your national livestock seem to be working well – I employed and payed for health insurance for twice as many 5 years ago.

    December 26, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  7. Anonymous

    "You obviously do not have insurance or work or something because it has already affected all of us in sharply higher insurance premiums."

    Sorry to disappoint you, but I have both a job and health insurance. Capitalism also affects us in sharply higher insurance premiums. It always has and I suspect always will. Along with corporate greed which America has seen an abundance for, oh I don't know, decades now.

    December 26, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  8. Thomas

    There is every reason to believe the Democrats will gain the House. If 10% of republican refused to vote for the GOPs picks once, what is to stop 25% of the base from returning the favor in November?

    December 26, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  9. Bif1961

    More than 5 million policies were cancelled by the enactment of Obamacare. The administration has changed the law 14 times this year alone and more than 8 times since the start of enrollment 1 October. Yet we were told that the law would benefit everyone and that it was the law and couldn't be changed. Not year when the employer mandate is enacted up to 180 million policies will be affected and even governement estimates are that 65% of small business and 45% og large employeers insurance policies will be cancelled, or significatly chamged. Whcih will include increased premiums and deductables. So you can't keep your insurance policy if you like it, or your doctor or save on avergae 2,500.00 a year. All promises (LIES), told in an effort to pass a law which will unisure more than it will try to insure. Thats why the American public is waking up to the fact that Government should not be in charge of everyone's health care choices. The 2014 election may make the 2010 election look like a good memory for the party that wants to control your lives.

    December 26, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  10. Hooper

    They win. You lose. It's that simple.

    December 26, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  11. MNClownfactory

    Reading through these posts reaffirms that critics of the ACA still don't understand how it works, who it affects or what the costs are to the average American. Once the ACA gets rolling in January these will be the facts.

    Hundreds of thousands of ppeople will have health insurance when they couldnt get it in the past.
    Students will be able to rememain on their parents insurance until 26 yrs of age.
    no one can be rejected for pre exisiting conditions.
    small businesses will be able to insure employee's for less.
    The costs of uninsured people going to the emergency room will begin being paid for by mandatory costs (which are very cheap) to those who refuse to get health care.

    December 26, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  12. Hcalla

    Democrats... Obamacare, Pajama boy, GLAAD, NSA, IRS Scandals, Benghazi, Hollywood Limo Liberals, Higher Taxes, More Govt
    Republicans... Oppose Obamacare, Phil Robertson, NRA, Support Troops, Work hard and keep what you earn, Family unity

    December 26, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  13. Leeza

    They warned Dems what would happen when they shoved something like Obamacare down the American people's throats. FORCING Americans to buy a product isn't the way to win hearts and minds.

    December 26, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  14. Sniffit

    ""Pretty humorous inasmuch as England is in fact a socialist nation (especially when looking at health care) then, right?"
    Great Britain did not become a socialist nation under Churchill any more than the US became a socialist nation under George Washington."

    The problem with responding to him and using the word "socialism" as part of your response is that Teatrolls haven't the slightest clue what socialism actually means and is. It's like that anti-drug commercial...they learned the habit of saying it from watching Faux, Beck, Limbaugh, whoever....but they didn't have the slightest idea what they were doing when it started and now it's just an out of control obsessive-compulsive behavior.

    December 26, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  15. lessthantolerant

    One can only hope these polls continue to trend this way and We The People benefit form the Obamacare debacle where we begin to see the defeat and hopefully destruction of the democratic party.

    Dismantling Parasite Nation will be a boon for America.

    December 26, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  16. B. Samuel Davis

    Republicans may not be that great but Democrats are the most corrupt organization on the planet – they even eat their own – look what they have done to African Americans the last 50 years, including enforcing a political correctness standard so one can't even talk about it.

    The Democrats are all about being corrupt, and play on people's fears – not having enough votes here they even imported voters from elsewhere, even though these people took jobs from their base. Democrats care about nothing but power – these people are institutionally corrupt, on an organizational basis.

    Republicans aren't that great, but they are infinitely better than Democrats.

    December 26, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  17. Thomas

    Wal-Mart exploits employee charity to help Ted Cruz and John Boehner

    The will of the people ?

    December 26, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  18. Karl LeBeouf

    To Leftist Drone: Be careful what you shove down our throats, you may just get bitten in the process.

    December 26, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  19. About the Quote

    Regarding the quote from Churchill, why on earth would he not make it being that he was quite wealthy to begin with and of course would not have to ever suffer or worry financially as most people do in this life. Think about it!

    December 26, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  20. rtrauben

    why is cnn carrying water for the gop again?

    December 26, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  21. Sniffit

    ""You obviously do not have insurance or work or something because it has already affected all of us in sharply higher insurance premiums.""

    Right, because insurance premiums haven't been going up SHARPLY every single year for the past 20 years and the only reason they did so this year is because of the ACA...otherwise they would've stayed exactly the same and all the experts who have been citing the skyrocketing costs of health care in this country over the past few decades and predicting it will continue in an out of control manner if nothing is done...they were just hallucinating on shrooms. Without the ACA, you clearly would've maybe even been paying less than last year, right? Oh, totes mcgoats...obv...anyone who thinks that rising costs in health care and insurance aren't solely because of the ACA is just cray cray, right?

    December 26, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  22. laughingJ

    The right had 8 years under Bush to prove their idiocy. The left gets their 8 years to do the same. And they're doing it brilliantly. Bush and Obama should share a jail cell. People aren't enthusiastic to vote for the rogues gallery of morons we get to choose from election after election.
    term limits
    term limits
    term limits

    December 26, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  23. John

    I wonder what people miss most about the good ole GOP in control days?

    December 26, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  24. American Worker

    I would prefer that the American People have an advantage in the mid-terms.

    December 26, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  25. djc60

    Socialism, Communism, Marxism. They may not have the exact same meaning but are all related in some form of fashion or another. One could say they are first cousins.

    December 26, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
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