Just two months ago, it seemed that Democrats were poised to compete for control of the House of Representatives, but the plagued rollout of the federal Obamacare exchange website and insurance cancellations caused by the law have given Republicans a lift, according to the latest generic congressional ballot poll from CNN (emphasis added):
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 possiblity of insurance policy cancelations due primarily to the new health law.
It’s not just the generic congressional ballot where Democrats find themselves in trouble. The CNN poll also found a severe lack of enthusiasm from Democratic voters. What’s more, voters are more inclined to vote for a congressional candidate opposed to President Barack Obama (emphasis added):
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.
We’re obviously, too far away from the 2014 mid-term election to say that these numbers will hold. Democrats may not be hitting the “panic” button just yet, but their hands are hovering over it.
Many political commentators have wondered if it can get much worse for President Obama, who just experienced the most tumultuous year of his presidency. Most of the problems he experienced were his administration’s own doing — from the NSA spying controversy to the IRS scandal to the Obamacare meltdown.
The response to all of these controversies, scandals, and unpopular policies have been to double down on them rather than work with Congress to fix them. Americans just aren’t buying the rhetoric and flailing attempts at damage control.
Short of a miracle, Republicans will keep control of the House. They may even be able to add to their majority. The Senate is, by almost all account, up for grabs. Republicans need to win just six total seats to take the chamber.
Regardless of what his job approval ratings are come November 4, 2014, if Republicans win the Senate, President Obama will see any hopes of his second-term agenda washed down the drain. In other words, 2014 could be much, much worse for the White House.