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. clayusmcret

    America has finally seen what the left wants of America. The left wants only for America to die. Then, they can raise up their socialist utopia in its place.

    December 26, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  2. rs

    There are two or three critical points in the story-
    1. The GOP's popularity was at its nadir 2 months ago- when they made a big show of shutting down government, closing national parks and causing 2 million Americans to lose work and pay. If they are smart, they ought to have learned to NEVER do that again- yet, the same radicalized voices are once again calling for a shutdown over the debt ceiling limit- and from some Obamacare, thus taking the GOP down again.
    2. The large disparity of support for the GOP by women is mentioned (and minorities who aren't). The GOP may do well with whet men, but that is not always gong to be a winning strategy. This is especially so when spelled out: the GOP is against: equal pay for women, a rise in the minimum wage, ending the military rape problem, making it harder for women to vote, and on and on.
    3. The ACA is working- by lowest estimates, nearly 3 million people have successfully enrolled in health care insurance policies, and more will in the next quarter-the flap over the ACA will die down, more people will get the benefit of the insurance (and care), and the GOP will be left looking like they simply want to hurt the middle class and poor that much more.
    2014 will be important, no doubt, and keeping enthusiasm among their voters will be key for either party. The GOP's trajectory however is still downward. It cannot win long-term running against civil rights and voting rights for all; being only pro-rich, and pro-corporate; being racist and anti-minority.

    December 26, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  3. Hilarious!!!!

    Absolutely hilarious!!! I really enjoy reading the comments from those discrediting the results of the survey. Demodummies in denial.

    December 26, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  4. nononsense57

    But the Democratic lead evaporated

    Embrace the suck, Dems!

    December 26, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  5. DaveLCAC

    Guess this says a lot about the smarter of the two genders.

    December 26, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  6. Mack

    Wars and the wealthy are the only two things that I can think of that the Repubs care about. "I got mine, screw you."

    December 26, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  7. wm Scot

    After all these years under the republican thumb of recessions, power abuse , shutdowns, no jobs bill , no infrastructure bills and a do nothing house of representatives it amazes me who the American voters are. Or are these poll numbers just another way for the media to spin this GOP have an edge in the mid terms crap ? Who is really the electorate the public or the media ?

    December 26, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  8. Tampa Tim

    3 reasons the reps will lose: no health care plan, no jobs plan, no immigration plan. If the tide shifts to people wanting another unnecessary war, then the reps will win.

    December 26, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  9. Andrew

    Amen – TmX

    "We have to pass the law to see whats in the law".

    We've seen it and it feels like oppression.

    It stinks.

    December 26, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  10. rs

    I think it was really the Democrats who overplayed their hand during the government shut down debate refusing to delay something that wasn't ready for prime time and ended up being delayed and wavered as a hardship anyway. The fact that they knew Obamacare wasn't ready and yet fought for it anyway is disgraceful. They would have looked so much better if they would have compromised and reached across the isle.
    Perhaps. However after holding 40-some votes to repeal the ACA (at $1.5 million a pop), and having no healthcare plan of their own, it was quite clear the GOP had no interest in delaying the ACA- they wanted to kill it- because the Kochs told them to.
    The GOP promised a shutdown in 2012, they delivered (giddily as we saw in Mr. Cruz) in 2013- then voted to crash the economy.

    December 26, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  11. Gooojooo

    >> In church I heard a lady in the pew next to me saying a prayer. It was so sweet and sincere that I just had to share it with you:
    >> "Dear Lord, This has been a tough two or three years. You have taken my favorite actor Patrick Swayze. My favorite musician Michael Jackson. My favorite Blues Singer Amy Winehouse. My favorite actress Elizabeth Taylor. And now my favorite singer Whitney Houston.
    >> I just wanted you to know that my favorite politicians are Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid.
    >> Amen"

    December 26, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  12. rs

    Mike in Texas
    If you really want to see oppression first hand move to North Korea. Try to make negative comments about their leader and see how long you last. I think telling women what to do with their bodies and trying to force them to have invasive procedures is far more oppressive than requiring people to purchase health care. So if you think that is oppressive then I guess both Presidential Candidates in 2012 are oppressors. Romney just did it at a state level.
    You've nailed it. The GOP's brand of freedom excludes women, minorities, and the poor.

    December 26, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  13. larry 1356

    Yes, but did they poll dead people and illegal aliens?

    December 26, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  14. Will D

    I think by the elections with Obamacare up and running and millions of new insured folks happy with their insurance, we will see a wave election for Democrats....the lies, the distortion and the terrible job Republicans have done, doing nothing to help economy and in fact hurting's looking good for a Democratic sweep. Polls are fast changing and once the ACA does what it is supposed to, just like Medicare and SS when they rolled those out...we will see Democrats getting the credit and Republicans paying the price for deceit and dishonesty.

    December 26, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  15. tom l

    "For those who come on here and post that the President and Democrats have taken away your freedoms and are oppressing you, please state exactly what freedoms you have had taken away and how you are being oppressed. State what laws have been passed to deny your freedoms and have oppressed you. Back up your claims. You're being called out. It's like math. You have to show the work to get credit."


    So the ACA forced Americans to do something. They must now buy insurance. That is taking away your freedom and your choice – don't come back and give me why they did it, that's not what you asked. You asked for proof of our freedoms being taken away and the ACA is just that.

    The Dodd Frank Act (Financial Reform) made it way more difficult for a company to make a loan. They added in several rules and regulations that now take out the ability for a lender to think on their own. More liberties and freedom taken away. Again, I don't care why; you asked for where our freedoms have been taken away and I have given you 2 fine examples.

    So you asked and I delivered. Perhaps now you will understand why people say that their freedoms and liberties are being taken away. In both cases, the size of govt grew. The bigger the government, the smaller the individual. Period.

    December 26, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  16. rs

    America has finally seen what the left wants of America. The left wants only for America to die. Then, they can raise up their socialist utopia in its place.
    Funny, it was the GOP that held a failed coup d'etat and a vote to crash the economy two months ago, not the Democrats. Really- demonstrate ONE THING the GOP has done for America in the last 5 years.

    December 26, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  17. amazed2

    I fail to understand how any person who cares one bit about other people, the environment, fairness, decent wages, Christian commitment, or any real moral commitment, can vote republican. The Pope is a Marxist statement but the carrier of their banner? Are you kidding me? Corporations are people. the hate of Palin and Bachman, obstruction at all cost. People had better begin watching a little less Foxnews propaganda and spend a little more time utilizing their God given common sense. Merry Christmas.

    December 26, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  18. Crewmax42

    One could only hope and pray that the democrat electorate is coming to its senses, but, we'll see what happens when Reid and the other libercrats begin the buffet of promises and wedges. Personally, I have little faith in their common sense having seen no proof it exists.

    December 26, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  19. Bill Mitchell

    Assuming this, like all other CNN Polls, wildly undersamples Republicans at 24% of the electorate (don't they wish?), this is very bad news for Democrats indeed.

    A realistic sample would have Democrats down by 5 or more.

    December 26, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  20. Jhisc9999

    Let's see. When did this congress become so disfunctional? Oh yeah, when the Tea Party extremists entered it. And now the GOP have the edge in the next elections?? We are our worst enemy.

    December 26, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  21. Publius Novus

    the America people once again demonstrate why the great experiment in democracy is in danger. Everyone agrees that this is the worst Congress since at least 1948. So what do white men do? They favor Republicans, who are the very representatives and senators responsible for the poor performance of Congress. Of course, due to Republican extreme gerrymandering of districts, the generic vote means very little vis-a-vis the House. The Senate, though, is another story. White men will deliver the Senate into the hands of the Republicans, Then, when this poll is taken again in 2015, everyone will agree that the 114th Congress is the worst since . . . the 113th. We would be better served as a society if most white men stayed in their basements and watched NFL, "college" football, NHL, MBL, and NBA 24/7.

    December 26, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  22. rick7809

    There is a lot of Faux News propaganda in these comments. Why would folks turn to a party that has been nothing but the party of no for the last few years. People will not forget the $24 billion shutdown, for absolutely no reason, when the time comes. I predict things will change between now and Nov. 2014.

    December 26, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  23. ru serious

    Not to worry, the same dumb celebrity obsessed electorate will keep the Dems in power, just keep up promising something for nothing and they have nothing to worry about. The media cheerleading squad will make sure of it. Hard to believe but this is the same party of "ask not what your country can do for you..." turned into hands-out gimme something for nothing because I'm ENTITLED to it.

    December 26, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  24. Craig Livingstone

    Beware of the false promises of the GOP. Once in power, they have eagerly expanded State power for their cronies versus the Dems cronies. The feeding frenzy keeps expanding as the spending just shifts across the table. It's all about getting in power, staying in power and who can keep them in power.

    December 26, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  25. Bill Mitchell

    But don't forget, the Democrats have the same tabulation hack they used to give Obama the White House to win key races here. When you have access to the NSA, hacking the vote counting with a few lines of code is child's play.

    December 26, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
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