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. Mark

    Good Idea. You like Republicans, then I hope you enjoy another GReat Recession. The republican party operates under the control of the 1 per cent. Or did you forget that.

    December 26, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  2. David

    Thats ok. Once the dems bring back increasing minimum wage and the GOP stomps it, their numbers will come back.

    December 26, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  3. LonnieL

    The ACA is about breaking the financial back of America to bring about total socialism. This country, as we knew it growing up is going to be lost if the Democrats are not defeated next November. The liberals in this country hate America and are committing seditious and treasonous acts against the Constitution to overthrow our Government from within.

    December 26, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. Mike

    HaHa! It's a do nothing congress that has a republican majority but the GOP has an edge in mid-term elections according to the polls. Geesh oh man! Only in the U.S.

    December 26, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  5. Freedom311

    Hey live in an alternate universe when programs are successful that are hopelessly under water. We have around 100 TRILLION in unfunded mandates due to your foolish Utopian dreams, and if that's your idea of success, I'd hate to see what you consider a total failure. You have passed the bill onto our grandchildren, who will curse the likes of you when they are all slaves to your leftist dreams.

    December 26, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  6. TONE

    This is just an early indicator come 2014 the gop will go nuts when the house in back in the hands of the democrats, i am not worried, but i am waiting for this to happen the gop is no good for this country.

    December 26, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    tom l wrote:

    "Socialism: a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies"

    Are you saying that you're not in support of this? From reading your posts it appears to me this is exactly what you want.
    Your question is too ignorant to answer. But, I will say that I agree with Sniffit. The right wing media sphere has you completely fooled into thinking that a government run by private corporations is a good thing. Today, the government does not own all of the companies and corporations, but the right wing promotes polices that would put private companies in total control of the government. Now explain how that scenario is any different from your posted definition of socialism.

    December 26, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  8. Rick Willard

    So what this means is that we may get rid of the crappy party who's in there now, and replace it with the other crappy party. Yeah, that should make everything all better.

    December 26, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  9. GIJOE

    2014 is America's last chance to correct the catastrophic consequence of Obama's re election and the failure of senate democrats to be more bipartisan. obamacare is truly a disaster for Americans.

    December 26, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  10. Reality Check

    Many voters are so, so fickle. I think they just don't...think. Regardless, what that means is, these early polls are meaningless. Just like the Republicans knew they could gamble on the shut-down in 2013, Democrats knew they could gamble on the ACA launch. They were both wrong technically, but that didn't matter to them. All that mattered was the political calendar.

    Look for another political mood swing in the summer, and don't expect the balance of power to change much. However, keep an eye on some key seats where the Republicans in-fight with old guard versus Tea Party.

    December 26, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  11. Steve

    The 13-point swing from D+8 to R+5 in only 3 months is an unprecedented meltdown in Democratic support. It can be attributed mostly to the ObamaCare debacle, but the privacy violations of the NSA and the Syria debacle also appear to be playing a role. Among people most likely to vote next November, there is a general sense that government is too big, too intrusive and way too incompetent. The most likely outcome is a 20-seat Republican pick up in the House and a 5-7 seat pickup in the Senate.

    December 26, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  12. Mike in Texas


    for Tampa Tim...
    Vice the Democrat five years of 7 Trillion Dollars of new debt.... Give me a Kool-Aid moment sir.

    If the Clinton tax rates had stayed in placed, if we didn't fight unfunded wars and we didn't have Medicare D our debt would be a heck of lot less. You do realize that we had an annual surplus at the end of Clinton's term. It came about due to spending cuts and tax increases which is what creates surpluses. What did Bush do? He increased spending and cut taxes. The exact opposite. So of course we had record deficits. So take away unfunded wars, tax cuts and Medicare D and you have a lot less debt.

    December 26, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  13. just saying

    one thing is for sure... obamacare has absolutely poisoned the waters for hillary clinton in 2016. does anybody really think she will run if the republicans control both hosues of congress? will she run and support the repeal of obamacare? highly unlikely. she will either decide not to run or if she does and gets the nomination, she will lose to the republican that will repeal obamacare.

    the majority dd not want their healthcare system wrecked and the democrats lied and wrecked it. any democrat running in the future will have to wear this scarlot 'o' on their forehead.

    December 26, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  14. dave_d

    Thank you, CNN, for yet another poll that by its own admission is statistically useless. Five minutes of my life I will never get back.

    December 26, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  15. Jan

    So strange that this would come at the heals of a poll showing congress as 'do nothing'. They did nothing because for so long there was absolutely no compromise from the right in the house. Now the American public is going to VOTE for the very folks that stuck it to them? I work, have all my life and my health care has gone up. It's gone up every single year I've worked. EVERY SINGLE YEAR. So somehow OBAMA retroactively made changes that affected the past 25 years? WOW THAT'S QUITE A TRICK!

    And if the economy had not been DESTROYED BEFORE Obama took office, perhaps we wouldn't be in the fix we are STILL in. When an elephant craps in your living room, it takes a while to clean it up. Especially when the folks who are SUPPOSED to be doing the cleaning are waving their brooms screaming 'my way or the highway' instead of cleaning up.

    The business man who sites he used to employ and insure more people before than now can blame the economy the republicans created. To get more of the same, then by all means vote for those folks again. Continue to widen the gap so that very few make a living wage in this country, and more and more small businesses get squeezed out because John Q Public can't buy anything because they can't afford it. The top % folks can only buy so much.

    December 26, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  16. Keldon

    A 13-pt swing right as Obamacare is to take effect.
    Obamacare was sold as health care not to *you* but your neighbor. Obamacare is the worst legislation passed by the Congress since the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.
    The Senate is with in striking distance of GOP control
    And Obama appeared to have lameducked himself by arbitrarily overruling himself and extending Obamacare deadlines.

    December 26, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  17. Tourist

    Gotta love these polls, the same ones that gave us Mitt Romney in the lead throughout the presidential election. Even he bought it. But, in this case, I thinks it's really too soon for Americans to forget that it is the GOP that shut down the government, threatened to not pay America's bills, and has consistantly refused to provide stimulus spending for jobs to fix our infrastructure and our middle class, all while pimping for the Koch Brothers & other 1%'s. Once again, the pollsters will be on the wrong side of history.

    December 26, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  18. Silence DoGood

    Garrett Texas "No one being rejected for pre existing conditions, while a good thing for them, is bad for the premiums of everyone else"

    You might feel different if you, like some people I have known, lost everything due to health costs, now in the pockets of insurance companies and lawyers. Classic conservative rant "I got mine – won't pay a cent to help the general welfare". Karma may come to visit.

    December 26, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  19. S.B. Stein

    We need a greater movement to make it clear that every citizen should vote in every election. This is a sad state when people aren't planning on voting. We call ourselves a democracy, but most of us don't vote. That is like letting someone else take control of an aspect our lives. There should be none of that.

    December 26, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    Numbers so far:

    1.8M enrollees in private insurance via the various state and federal exchange sites. This represents over half the target number despite the federal website being a mess for over 2/3 of the enrollment period so far, as well as some of the state websites having their own issues.

    4.0M enrollees in Medicaid via the expansion, despite GOP/Teatroll-controlled red states refusing to accept the expansions and thereby preventing approximately 5M people who would otherwise be eligible from obtaining Medicaid.

    Spin it however you want, but keep in mind one thing: the MSM ignoring these numbers tells you just how good they are when taken in context.

    December 26, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  21. Mike in Texas

    Michelle Bachmann claimed that the ACA would allow school officials to take students and force them to get abortions and never inform the parents. I actually saw the video of her saying this.

    December 26, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  22. Fastgirl

    Elections have consequences. So do lies.

    December 26, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  23. Bob Reed

    Yeah, given the destruction of the middle class health system, the replacement of workers by illegals, the wholesale push to put everyone on the public dole, and our weaselly foreign policies. Who would not vote for the republicans now?

    December 26, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  24. Palin Power

    This is a clear sign that Sarah Palin will be our next President!

    December 26, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  25. MG

    This totally blows my mind. The GOP shut down the government because the rich aren't getting everything. And some how they are in a better position than the Dems??????????????? Where do I live again??? The working class are brainwashed that the GOP actually give a crap about them??? I am truly perplexed.... The GOP could murder someone in congress blame the democrats it was there fault and get a way with it, and the sad part is the country would believe them... 🙁 it is a sad year in the US!!!!

    December 26, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
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