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. Rudy NYC

    Elsewhere posted:

    For example, in Freedom311's comment that Regan started the free cell phone program. The program was originally for land line phones only, the only cell phones were in cars and the portable phones were not reliable. You people should read some history about government and science.
    Wrong. "Freedom311" used the term "free phones", not your accusation of a "free cell phone program."

    December 26, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  2. Freedom311

    Rudy NYC

    "You don't know your history. All of that "free stuff" was introduced under Republican presidents, most under Reagan, to help immigrants coming to this country who had nothing to fall back on. They were policies put in place to attract workers who would work for lower wages, in an attempt to undernmine the unions in this country. Reagan introduced the phones. Reagan introduced the law requiring health care to the indigent. Reagan who pushed for entitlements for immigrants. Bush-43 introduced legislation that said employers no longer had to keep records of the immigrant workers' status on file after 3 years. All of these bad policies that you speak of were introduced and staunchly supported by conservatives, and opposed by most liberals."

    Oh good lord, you sure do enjoy your pretend revisionist history lessons. Just who is trying to actually do something about illegals....certainly not the left...including RINO's like Boehner and the Shrub who all have undermined the rights of actual citizens. Virtually every welfare program in existence today has been initiated by a leftist silly. It started under FDR, and Johnson's great society put the final nail in the coffin. Now you leftists use "free stuff" that you created as a tool to bribe the stupid with, and unfortunately it works...much to the detriment of the nation.

    December 26, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  3. Allen

    Its about time people realize that they have been conned from day one. Everything about this administration has been directed towards creating a spit between everybody . divide and destroy has been their plan from day one and they have done an excellent job of if because of the ignorance of the average person in this country. They exploit the lack of interest in what is happening and the undying trust they have for a man that has lied from day one.

    December 26, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  4. Kevin

    It is evident by the posts here by the democrats that the whole democratic party is the "Low information" party. When they get their "News" by the left-wing CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS...then you know that the democrats are the low-class of society

    December 26, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  5. Winston Smith

    Like I want to retur to the days of GWB And the pack of DA's responsible for the meltdown. RRRRIIIIGGGGHHHHTTTT....

    December 26, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  6. Mike in Texas


    You do know that the madate is a Conservative idea to offset the Liberal Single Payer system. The fact that a Democratic Congress passed the law and a Democratic President signed the law doesn't change that fact. As for a price tag, it was the Republicans who in the pass have thought tax cuts and increased spending was a good thing. Dick Cheney said deficits don't matter. Just borrow from China to fund our wars and pay for our Medicare D. Once the Republicans lost Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008 did they change their tune.

    December 26, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  7. Donna

    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.

    There's that Rudy arrogance rearing its ugly head again. And just because you know he is absolutely correct.

    December 26, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  8. Sheila

    @MAX17 @ 12:04 pm – You are absolutely spot on !! They are going to get a shellacking unlike 2010 – far

    December 26, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  9. james jones

    Without Obama on the ticket, the youth and minority voters will stay home.

    December 26, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    john, If the Dems lose because they don't bother to vote they will get exactly what they deserve.

    and what happens when dems lose because of gop gerry-mandering and new restrictive voting laws. will you be proud the only way you won was by cheating?

    December 26, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  11. Tampa Tim

    What Sam, no 401k or retirement account? The market went from under 8000 to over 16,000. Lost 8 million jobs in 2008 alone, and that has been erased. Auto industry saved, bin Laden dead, out of a war with Iraq, housing has recovered, etc. you would have to live in a bubble to not notice.

    December 26, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  12. Donna

    Rudy NYC
    Freedom311 wrote:
    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.
    You don't know your history. All of that "free stuff" was introduced under Republican presidents,

    Well for God's sake lefties, please pick one of your lies and stick with it PLEASE. Either the Republicans hate everybody and want them to die early and quick after starving OR the Republicans want to shower the entire population with freebies. So which lie are you going to go with????

    December 26, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  13. DeadGuy

    Not only will the Democrats lose in the next election but the loss will be such that they will nearly gather a 2/3 majority in the Senate... Be afraid liberals... be very afraid.


    December 26, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  14. steve

    This doesn't account for the RINOs that will be shown the back door out of office. They're not fit to exit the front door.

    December 26, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  15. VillageViking

    I would like to personally thank obama for creating the right atmosphere for a likely GOP victory in both the senate and the house...I don't believe we could have done it without obama.

    December 26, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  16. Swedge70

    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)..?
    Thanks for proving my point about the right not getting it. Regardless of what the law does or whether it works or will work, the right declared it a failure purely because of the botched rollout. The same has never been said about google or amazon when they've gone down. That's all my post was saying.

    December 26, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  17. rdg18

    I'm voting Tea Party all the way in November.

    December 26, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  18. rick7809

    The last Gallup poll indicated the approval for Congress to be 9%. The approval for the president was 40%. Those numbers tell me that ALL members of Congress Republican or Democrat, should be worried about their jobs.

    December 26, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  19. Paul Prejean

    This is what happens when Republicans stick to the facts and stay away from social issues. We now know that the ACA is forced shared responsibility as opposed to forced personal responsibility.

    We know that those that were already paying for medical insurance will pay more.

    We now know that the government via the a federal agency via the Debt Collection Act of 1996 can offset social security payments for debts owed it. We know know that this establishes that the IRS can use that legislation to collect ACA penalty money.

    This election is about those who know they're getting fleeced vs those who don't.

    December 26, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Donna posted:

    Well for God's sake lefties, please pick one of your lies and stick with it PLEASE. Either the Republicans hate everybody and want them to die early and quick after starving OR the Republicans want to shower the entire population with freebies. So which lie are you going to go with????
    All of the above. Republicans are the give away party, Donna. Do you remember Reagan's free phones, or are you too young? Do you remember any of the "free stuff" that Reagan gave away, including health care? Reagan introduced the legislation that said Emergency Rooms cannot turn people away who are indigent. Remember George W. Bush's tax refunds in the summer of 2004? Do you remember the Stimulus Bush passed in June 2008?

    December 26, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  21. al

    "If you like your insurance you can keep it"
    "If you like your doctor, you can keep them"

    December 26, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  22. Fair is Fair

    Pat Henry

    During the 3-1/2 years of World War 2 that started with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and ended with the Surrender of Germany and Japan in 1945, the U.S. produced 22 aircraft carriers, 8 battleships, 48 cruisers, 349 destroyers, 420 destroyer escorts, 203 submarines, 34 million tons of merchant ships, 100,000 fighter aircraft, 98,000 bombers, 24,000 transport aircraft, 58,000 training aircraft, 93,000 tanks, 257,000 artillery pieces, 105,000 mortars, 3,000,000 machine guns, and 2,500,000 military trucks.

    We put 16.1 million men in uniform in the various armed services, invaded Africa, invaded Sicily and Italy, won the battle for the Atlantic, planned and executed D-Day, marched across the Pacific and Europe, developed the atomic bomb and ultimately conquered Japan and Germany.

    It's worth noting, that during the almost exact amount of time, the Obama administration couldn't build a functioning web site!
    Oh SNAP... posts just don't get better than this!!!!

    December 26, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  23. Becky

    Obama could never succeed because he is fundamentally a socialist in a capitalist society, and the slow recovery and slow growth, and the disaster that is Obamacare, if proof of that. Americans don't mind helping out, but income redistribution is not something Americans will accept, which is what Obama has been trying to achieve since he took office. Many Americans work very hard every day, and many already live paycheck to paycheck, with no money put away to fall back on or retirement. How much more can Americans give so that the lazy can continue their leisure lives? Seriously? Unemployment today is at the same exact spot when Bush left office. Why has food stamps claims risen 110% under Obama? Why is Obama considering a weak president all over the world? In Dubai, where my friend lives, the news reports see him as a putz; in Spain and Hungary, they recognize his socialist policies (I have family in both Spain and Hungary). It's sad...very sad.

    December 26, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "I truly hope this is someone's idea of humor, and not a Right-wing belief statement!"

    Seriously. That was either epic stealth-parody snark or a seriously deranged Teatroll. What's amazing though is that the Teatrolls don't recognize what is really says about them that such confusion can even take place at all.

    December 26, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |

    GOP has edge in early midterm indicator...............

    Yeah,,,,edge of the CLIFF.

    December 26, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
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