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. Severe Cuts

    Another very real danger in electing Republicans is the Severe Cuts to Social Security they will make, something that you have worked for all of your life, paying into it each paycheck you got, and then to see it Evaporate under Republican control. Wake Up People! Or do you not care about Social Security when it comes time to collect it?!

    December 26, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  2. Tony Woodard

    You can make book on this: it's much worse than they are saying......MUCH MUCH worse !!

    December 26, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  3. Steve Hamilton

    What this article fails to take into account is two major developments that will happen before June 30: 1.) an Executive Order that will end gerrymandering, and 2.) the publication of the long awaited US credit rating, caused by the far right shutdown and default threat. This will probably lower the credit rating by two levels, which will increase the cost of money by 200 basis points, and raise the deficit by about $100 billion. The Democrats will go on the offensive and the GOP will find itself on the defensive, particularly if the business community carries through on its threat to withhold support for far right candidates.

    December 26, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  4. Rich54

    Sorry, Obama said that I would save $2500 a year, not get a 25% increase.

    December 26, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  5. tychi

    After all of the problems, laziness, and out-right war against non-whites, women, and non-rich; that there are people that will vote for the GOP? I guess only part of the American population gets to participate in the American dream, the rest have to scrap for the left-overs.

    December 26, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  6. Thomas

    @ust 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.


    Who pay's you to post here , you don't speak for the majority .

    Ted Cruz / Rick Perry
    Strong Minds and Body's

    December 26, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  7. Steve Hamilton

    Lonnie L: Read Article 3, Section 3 of the Constitution to learn what "treason" is. It ain't what you think it is; there is no treason being committed by any

    December 26, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  8. John

    What is it about the GOP being in charge that we miss?
    ....Iraq War?
    ....real estate collapse of 2007?
    ...wall street collapse?
    ...TARP in October of 2008...a one trillion bailout of wall street with one day's notice?
    ...a 4 trillion $ drop in the stock market in 8 years?
    Just what is it that we miss about the GOP being in charge?

    December 26, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  9. Freedom311

    Rudy NYC

    "Buy votes by playing Santa? How? I hear the accusation, but you lack any specifices much less actual facts. Sorry, Charlie. It was Ronald Reagan who started the free cell phone program."

    Let's see, free food, free phones, free birth control, free housing...ect. all of which are leftist bad ideas, and Reagan was trying to deal with a far left congress and was at their mercy largely. Oh, and there were no cell phones when Reagan was in office either, but he should have held firm to his beliefs and vetoed that insanity anyway.

    There a darn good reason the left sends buses into welfare districts to get out their vote, because the takers are the base on your party and they are the crowd who votes for "free stuff". Without that base, the left couldn't win any national elections...period.

    December 26, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  10. Mike in Texas

    If the ACA is oppressive and socialism then the Conservative Heritage Foundation is an oppressive socialist group. In 1989 in their proposal for the individual mandate the indicated 1) Health Care protection is a responsibility of individuals, not businesses and 2) there is an implicit contract between households and society, based on the notion that health insurance is not like other forms of insurance protection. They say that when someone wrecks their car and doesn't have adequate coverage, that is their problem, society is not responsible for repairing his car. However if a man has a heart attack on the street Americans will help him regardless if he has insurance or not. We may be angry he didn't buy insurance but he will not be denied services even if that means more prudent citizens pick up his tab.

    A mandate on individuals recognizes this contract. Society feels a moral obligation to insure its citizens do not suffer from the unavailability of health care. But on the other hand, each household has the obligation, to the extent it is able, to avoid placing demands on society by protecting itself.

    December 26, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  11. Steve Hamilton

    just saying: You couldn't be more wrong. Hillary Clinton will win overwhelmingly in 2016. Why? Because women make up 53% of the electorate and virtually every female voter will support her ( what woman will vote for the party that vetoed protecting women from violence?). This leaves only 47% of the voter pool from which the GOP can seek votes. It's mathematically impossible to get from 47% to 54%. The current issues that have the Democrats on the defensive won't mean a thing by 2016.

    December 26, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  12. democRAT

    As always, only room temperature IQ's will be voting democratic.

    December 26, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  13. Kess

    Try not to be such a tool MG.

    the progressive socialist left takeover of America will be beat back, it just a matter of if will be the GOP or not, if they cant figure out how to be true personal liberty loving conservatives, then it will be through another movement/3rd party.

    The country doesnt need 2 different liberal left party's.

    December 26, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  14. Josh

    MG, the GOP didnt shut down anything. They sent SEVERAL bills through, the Dems rejected ALL of them because they did not include more free handouts etc.

    December 26, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  15. Sniffit


    Your definition is a little too generalized, but yes, that's a frequently used generalization. B+

    "You want single payer which is absolutely socialism."

    One thing does not an entire policy platform make. It also depends very much on the details of how it would be implemented how much it would really qualify as "socialism." But I'll give you this one, just not your overgeneralization and extrapolation of it to the rest of my or anyone else's beliefs about anything else.

    "You want the govt to control the oil companies and take over because you don't trust them."

    When have I said that? NEVER. I want appropriate regulation of their activities and sufficient oversight and enforcement to make said regulation effective. That's not socialism. Moreover, I want the gov't to get out of the business of subsidizing them, which you should recognize is a means of leverage and control going in both directions in light of how our political systems work.

    "You want the govt to tell banks how to run themselves (how to lend money, etc) which is, yet again, socialism."

    I think you've now highlighted the core problem here: regulation versus "own and control." Regulation is not ownership and control. if you believe that regulation is socialism, then you're 100% incorrect, have gone a bridge too far and don't understand what you're talking about. Setting the rules of the game and drawing the boundary lines for the playing field is regulation, and that regulation comes in response to the abuses, problems and societal ills we were experiencing when there was no regulation of those activities. You act as if it's not based on something, as if regulations just fall out of the sky and set arbitrary rules out of nowhere and for no reason. Are they perfect? No. Do they sometimes need adjustment when we discover problems or to adapt to advances in industry, technology and society? Yep. Does any of that (or anything else for that matter) make them socialism? Nope. Not even remotely.

    December 26, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  16. Austin

    Obama increased my mother's insurance cost. What a lovely thing to do for someone on a fixed income.

    Many of the left wing comments here are laughable. You people are not in the majority. Obama has done poorly and now it's time to change hands. That's how it works. Cannot wait to see the crying and whining after the midterm elections.

    December 26, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  17. Clinton Alexander

    JIm G <<<< Your grasp of logic is...........non-existent. and stupid lol

    December 26, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  18. just saying

    when it all said and done, tens of millions of americans will have experienced getting their healthcare insurance canncelled thanks to obamacare.

    do the looney lefties in here actually think those people will reward them at the polls in 2014 and 2016? It is going to take astronomical amounts of koolaide on your part to get through the next two elections because obamacare will be the downfall of the far left democrat party.

    December 26, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    And BTW, tom, yet again: the issue was not what I personally believe. The issue was the mindless repetition of GOPers/Teatrolls of the word "socialism" in reference to the ACA. It's entirely inaccurate nonsense. There is no argument about that. It's not debatable: the ACA =/= socialism. Not in any way, shape or form.

    You know this, which is why you deflected and distracted by attacking my beliefs instead of my point.

    December 26, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  20. Clinton Alexander

    o yes for u tea party toilet paper I baught a one pound roast at taxpayers expense for one hundred dollars haha

    December 26, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  21. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    "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."
    No need to be vague, Rudy... please examplify which "right wing policies" would put private companies in total control of the government... specifics, please.

    December 26, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  22. Kess

    I just read john post:


    What is it about the GOP being in charge that we miss?
    ....Iraq War?
    ....real estate collapse of 2007?
    ...wall street collapse?
    ...TARP in October of 2008...a one trillion bailout of wall street with one day's notice?
    ...a 4 trillion $ drop in the stock market in 8 years?
    Just what is it that we miss about the GOP being in charge?"

    Its freaky that there are people so blinded, in denial, and addicted to the koolaid out there in America that they can post this with a straight face.


    December 26, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  23. Dan Charles

    CNN is a BIG part of the problem. Not wishing to offend anyone I guess (as well as currently posing as FOX News Lite), they have assumed this pattern of reporting everything as being equivocal – that dems and republicans are equally to blame for the quagmire in Washington. This is hard to believe, given that nearly all aspects of governance starts in the House – and all aspects of the governance in the House is controlled by the republicans – and the republican party itself has been taken over by the far-right extremists who have no intention of actually governing – and John Boehner is so weak and pathetic as a House leader that the whole process has been thrown off track. If one looks at the issues, the majority of the American people stand with the democrats. However, the republicans are far better at messaging and have a much bigger footprint in the media. So I am left to conclude Americans in general really don't pay much attention with what goes on in Washington. They hear the noise and then find some kind of numbing solice in dumb-down TV.

    December 26, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  24. Joyce

    The GOP/TP are the "do nothing" people and need to be voted out in 2014. They ran on creating jobs to get elected and have yet to work any sort of jobs bill. They even simply "tabled" the jobs bill the president sent to them, so it's "who's actually holding things up when moving this country forward". And we, the people, have to remember that any president only has so much he/she can do via Executive Order.

    December 26, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  25. Sam

    <-Independent will be voting GOP. Reasons: ACA, Jobs, and Constitution. I am not better off now than I was when Obama took office. I blame him and his party.

    December 26, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
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