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Poll: Republicans Widen Lead in Generic Ballot

Poll: Republicans Widen Lead in Generic Ballot

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - December 26, 2013

A new poll shows Republicans have increased their edge in the race for control of Congress, overturning an eight-point lead Democrats held two months ago in a generic ballot.

A CNN/ORC International survey released Thursday finds the GOP leading Democrats by 49 percent to 44 percent among registered voters asked to pick between unnamed candidates from each party in their district.

The poll, which found Republicans with a two-point edge last month, marks a continued shift in the generic ballot following the flawed rollout of the Affordable Care Act sign-up website, and controversy surrounding insurance plans canceled to comply with the new law.

In October, Democrats led Republicans by 50 percent to 42 percent -- an advantage that followed the government shutdown and fight over the debt ceiling and reflected the Republicans’ damaged brand nationwide. In November, the GOP picked up some steam in the generic ballot, edging Democrats by 49 percent to 47 percent over a month into the implementation of the health care law.

The new poll also finds low enthusiasm among registered voters for the 2014 midterm elections: 30 percent say they are “extremely” or “very enthusiastic” about voting next year, and 43 percent say they are not enthusiastic. Four years ago, the same poll found 40 percent enthusiastic about voting and 25 percent not enthusiastic. Republicans have an advantage in this gap: 36 percent of GOPers say they are enthusiastic about voting, compared to 22 percent of Democrats.

President Obama’s approval rating has been dropping in national polls, and he could be a drag on fellow party members next year. The CNN poll found that 55 percent of voters say they are more likely to vote for a candidate who opposes the president, while 40 percent say they are likely to chose a candidate who supports him.

Republicans control the House by a 17-seat margin, and redistricting after the 2010 census strengthened many GOP districts. Democrats control the Senate with 55 seats (including two independents who caucus with Democrats). National surveys find Congress’ approval at all-time lows, and analysts have found the 113th Congress to be the least productive, so far, in history.

ORC International surveyed 1,035 adults from Dec. 16-19. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points. 

Caitlin Huey-Burns is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at chueyburns@realclearpolitics.com. Follow her on Twitter @CHueyBurnsRCP.

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