A Democratic candidate would beat a Republican in a hypothetical congressional race held this month by 18 points, according to a CNN poll released Wednesday.

The majority of registered voters — 56 percent — surveyed from Dec. 14-17 said they would vote for a Democrat compared to the 38 percent who preferred a Republican.

The difference is the largest advantage either party has had a year out from a midterm election, according to CNN's two decades of polling on the issue.

Independents flocked to the left at a rate of 16 points higher than they ran to the right: 51 percent to 36 percent.

The Democratic Party is also more enthusiastic about voting in next year's midterms. Exactly 49 percent of liberal or liberal-leaning voters are excited, while just under one-third of conservatives are looking forward to casting their ballots.

The telephone poll was conducted by SSRS among 1,001 adults nationwide and had a 3.8 percentage point margin of error.