Poll: Republicans lead generic ballot, 49-47

November 26, 2013

A new poll shows Republicans have not only erased their post-shutdown problems, but they have actually taken a slight lead over Democrats heading into the 2014 election.

The CNN/Opinion Research poll shows that when people are given the choice between a generic Republican and a general Democrat for Congress, 49 percent choose the Republican and 47 percent choose the Democrat.

The difference is within the margin of error but still marks a striking turnaround from last month, post-shutdown, when Democrats led 50 percent to 42 percent.

The GOP's apparent lead is also notable because the generic ballot tends to skew a few points Democratic. So even if Republicans are simply even with Democrats, it suggests they have an edge -- at least for this moment -- heading into the 2014 election.

Of course, the generic ballot changes regularly and will do so plenty of times in the coming months. But the poll suggests Republicans' shutdown blues are largely over and they are on better footing heading into the 11 months before the 2014 election -- if for no other reason than Democrats have their own problems to deal with when it comes to the federal health-care law.

CNN isn't the first poll to show the GOP taking a generic ballot lead. A Fox News poll last week showed the GOP at 43 percent and Democrats at 40 percent. A Quinnipiac University poll, meanwhile, showed the two parties tied at 39 percent.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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Aaron Blake · November 26, 2013