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. Sniffit

    "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."

    Do you know how stupid that sounds in light of the fact that the lion's share of government assistance goes to red states...and by a hefty margin too? The fact that red states are the ones receiving more federal aid than the taxes they pay while blue states are the ones funding it by paying more taxes than they receive in aid? Seems all that "vote buying" isn't working quite the way you posit. Might be there are other motivations for it, no? Like perhaps actual altruism, etc.? Grow up. Your tinfoil hat conspiracies are not borne out by the facts on the ground.

    December 26, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  2. Clinton Alexander

    @Sheila said this >>> You are absolutely spot on !! They are going to get a shellacking unlike 2010 – far

    sheila ur right gop tea party is going to get a shellacking in 2014

    December 26, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  3. Scott

    There will be a shortfall in the coffers of insurance companies to pay for healthcare in January, but it is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States.

    Everybody who is OK with running up the deficit will vote for Democrats in 2014.

    December 26, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "Oh SNAP... posts just don't get better than this!!!!"

    Or more apples to oranges. Oh hey, look over's a Medicare Part D website rollout catastrophe....

    December 26, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  5. NameFrank Deery

    Republicans warned America early on about what a mess Obamacare would be-IS! We even weathered a shutdown to make a point, one fully in "bloom" now-as retail sales lag and Obama hires new spin doctors, like Podesta or exiles his Growing Democrat base to ambassadorial jobs, they have no experience at. Desparado time!

    Love it!

    December 26, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  6. Name Jeff

    Obama is toast...and I am thrilled.

    December 26, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  7. Dan

    You all realize that this "free stuff" you keep complaining about is vital to our society; and I will not even mention the humanitarian reasons for it, I'll just mention the economic side, since that is all you seem to care about. Once you remove all of our safety nets, many more people will be unable to afford goods and services, which will lead to cutbacks in the industries that are well staffed now; that will compound, as well. We need to keep money in as many people's hands as possible, especially if they will spend it. If you seriously believe that people are not working because they are lazy, you will probably believe most anything said by a screaming white guy; which is why we are here today.

    December 26, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  8. Joe

    "Barack Obama may be dragging down Democratic congressional candidates"

    DUH! ya think?

    December 26, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  9. Vence

    I don't like "If you want your insurance you can keep it", but I don't want to go back to "mission accomplished" .

    December 26, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  10. Jablabla

    Do not vote for anyone who supported the ACA disaster.

    December 26, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  11. chaing

    The GOP has the edge!!!!??Are you kidding me?! Get out of the 'belt way' and get a real look at this.

    December 26, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    "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!!!!
    "How'd They Do That?" They spent money to do it. None of it would get done with today. They'd defund it before they finished it.

    December 26, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  13. E O'Day


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

    But you forgot PERIOD! at the end of the sentence.

    Not only does Obama lie, but he lies with gusto over and over because – and this is the real reason – he thinks people are too stupid to notice.

    December 26, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  14. sammiclark

    Just curious how republicans can be rejoicing this article when cnn is a 'leftist' news organization. Shouldn't this be a lie too? Or do you only believe what you want to believe?

    December 26, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  15. Lolo

    Why does CNN like to tell lies? Between them and Fox news, I do not know which is worst. Now they know that the GOP/TP Trolls do not believe in polls. They are just putiing this out so that they can pump up their pea brains, just like they keep lying to them about Obamacare. These fools still think that they can repeal it and are spending every dime they have to try and do it. Just dumb and dumber. As far as 2014 is concerned the only way they are going to win is by taking away the voting rights of people and they are working hard on it. All they are going to get is, if they stop the voting rights of people they will not get to cast their votes either because the polling plces are going to be blocked and you know how they are so scared of minorities and people who do not look like them, because their peers like to keep them scared. LOL!!!!!!

    December 26, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  16. martialmedia

    Obama's chickens are coming home to roost!

    December 26, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  17. CPA in DC

    CNN hardest hit.....

    December 26, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  18. Lolo

    @E Oday is that all you have to complain about. You might as well bring up he is black, illegitimate as a president and all of the other Tea Troll nonsense every since a black man was elected president. You and your kind need to be true to yourselves and quit hiding behind the second amendment and what other crazy excuses you use for voicing your complaints about President Obama. I guess you were really okay with Bush lying about WMD's and sending innocent kids to die in vain.

    December 26, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  19. CunningStunts

    Ban religion. Re-distribute wealth so that everyone is "equal". Expand the government so that personal freedoms are limited. Ban guns. More power to an unfettered "President". Destroy the middle-class. This is the Soviet-isation of the United States. The only difference is that instead of control by Kremlin, there is control by Globalist Bankers and Mega-Corporations. Obama is their puppet, posing as a liberal. And the American people are being boiled to death like frogs.

    December 26, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  20. tom l

    "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.


    Gosh Rudy, I would say that based on your post that you should be a staunch republican. They created the ACA, they provided phones for the poor, they kept the govt records secret so that immigrants that have come to this country aren't harassed. These are all principles that you purport to stand by and back. So if these are all truly repub ideas then why aren't you a member of the heritage foundation and why aren't you a republican?

    December 26, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  21. BADGUY

    ANOTHER meaningless poll that has NOTHING to do with the reality of the outcome in 2014.The Republicans will ALWAYS "snatch Defeat from the Jaws of Victory".

    December 26, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "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"

    It's ok, Donna, I quite politely wrecked tom's "socialism" attack on me, so yeah, there's that.

    December 26, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  23. Mike

    Whoever supported the passing or implementation of Obamacare, R or D, should be booted out of office.

    We don't need a centralized government running our lives.

    December 26, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  24. BRoss

    CNN's Incomplete poll data show Dems at 50% two months ago & 44% now

    2nd Graders know 50-44=6, not 13

    December 26, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  25. Tony Torres

    We will see,as shown polls have a tendency to change. I would not put to much weight to this poll. If they continue their asinine way I can assure you they will not keep this small change in their favor. Unfortunately the GOP has a very stupid side to it and it has a big tendency to screw things up. So good luck on that!
    Oh! be sure to bank on Mr Obamas approval staying as it is, that is a story that has not been written yet and it will change. It has too,many things will become better as time goes bye. If it wasn't for the GOP obstructing any and all, for sure would be even better than we are now.
    So keep on wishing GOP, Yeah sure!

    December 26, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
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