Republicans are now slightly favored in the 2014 battle for control of Congress as a new poll shows Democrats have lost their advantage.
The national CNN/ORC International survey also reveals that President Barack Obama may be doing more harm than good for Democratic congressional candidates. The bad news for Obama and Democrats is likely largely tied to the horrendous Obamacare rollout and cancelled insurance policies.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, center, discusses the unfinished work of Congress and the struggle for Republican and Democratic budget negotiators to reach a compromise, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, during news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. From left are, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Md., Van Hollen, and Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., the ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
CNN explains the results:
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 HealthCare.gov and controversy over the possibility of insurance policy cancelations due primarily to the new health law.
Republicans currently have a 17-seat advantage in the House while Democrats hold a thin 55-45 majority in the Senate.
The new poll also indicates that voter enthusiasm is very low. Only three in 10 registered voters say they are extremely or very enthusiastic about voting for Congress in 2014.