Republicans now have a slight lead on a generic congressional ballot, meaning that Democrats have dropped 13 points in the last two months, according to a new poll.
The CNN/ORC poll released Thursday found that a Republican candidate leads a Democratic candidate on the generic ballot, 49 percent to 44 percent. The new findings from the mid-December poll are a switch from two months ago when Democrats had the advantage over Republicans on the generic ballot. Back then, the same polling outlet found Democrats leading Republicans on the generic ballot, 50 percent to 42 percent.
The shift from Democrats leading on the ballot to Republicans leading on the ballot follows two months in which national attention moved away from the government shutdown and to problems with the rollout of healthcare.gov.
Most of the shift from Democrats to Republicans on the generic ballot comes from movement among male registered voters, CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.
"Virtually all the movement toward the GOP has come among men, " Holland said. "Fifty-four percent of the female voters chose the Democratic candidate in October; 53 percent pick the Dem now. But among male voters, support for Democratic candidates has gone from 46 percent in October to just 35 percent now."
Holland added that the lead could easily switch back to Democrats in the generic poll.
"A year before the 2010 midterms, for example, the Democrats held a 6-point lead on the generic ballot but the GOP wound up regaining control of the House in that election cycle, thanks to an historic 63-seat pickup," Holland said.
The new CNN/ORC International poll was conducted from Dec. 16 to Dec. 19 among 1,035 adults nationwide over telephone. The poll had a error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.