To see how unusual it is for the GOP to lead in this metric, scroll through RCP’s compilation of generic-ballot polling for 2013. Before this month, only once all year had Republicans topped Democrats in a poll taken by someone other than Rasmussen. Even Rasmussen (which asks this question every week) has found the Dems ahead far more often than not. Suddenly, in the last three weeks, Quinnipiac shows the parties tied and both Fox News and now CNN show the GOP with a small lead. As does Rasmussen, of course.
I wonder why.
Democrats a month ago 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…
But the Democratic lead has disappeared. A new CNN/ORC poll indicates the GOP now holds a 49%-47% edge…
“It looks like the biggest shifts toward the Republicans came among white voters, higher-income Americans, and people who live in rural areas, while Democrats have gained strength in the past month among some of their natural constituencies, such as non-white voters and lower-income Americans,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
“If those patterns persist into 2014, it may indicate that Obamacare is popular among those who it was designed to help the most, but unpopular among the larger group of voters who are personally less concerned about health insurance and health care,” Holland said.
If you’re going to launch a new redistributionist program to benefit your core constituencies, you need to be careful to obscure where the money’s coming from. If it’s too clear who the “winners” and “losers” are, then you’ve got three big electoral problems potentially: (1) the losers might outnumber the winners; (2) even if the winners outnumber the losers, the losers will likely be more motivated to vote — an especially dangerous problem for O given that his main beneficiaries here, the poor, typically vote at a lower rate to begin with; and (3) if the losers are easily identified, the PR opportunities for opponents are limitless. As Matt Lewis said yesterday, one of the ironies of the ObamaCare rollout is that the sob stories are all on the side of the opposition right now. That’s a big part of why CNN’s numbers are what they are.
By the way, last month’s eight-point generic-ballot for the GOP was unusually steep, thanks of course to the shutdown. Typically they trail on the GB by three or four points but the backlash to the government being closed down pushed them lower. The real significance of today’s data is that the O-Care debacle has completely erased the advantage Democrats were hoping that the shutdown would give them. It’s come to this: