February 20th, 2009
03:47 PM ET
5 years ago

Poll finds partisan opinions on bipartisanship

A new poll shows Americans want Obama to work more with Republicans.
A new poll shows Americans want Obama to work more with Republicans.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A new national poll indicates that a majority of Americans want President Barack Obama to try to pass laws with bipartisan support rather than just with the backing of Democrats in Congress. But the CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey, released Friday, also suggests that Democrats aren't so enthusiastic about bipartisanship.

Fifty-five percent of respondents questioned in the poll would rather see the president try to pass laws with bipartisan compromise. But that number drops 15 points, to 40 percent, among Democrats in the survey. Fifty-eight percent of Democrats would rather see Obama try to pass laws without Republican support.

Full poll results [PDF]

Obama signed the stimulus package into law on Tuesday. The $787 billion bundle is designed to pump up the economy by increasing federal government spending, sending aid to states in fiscal trouble, and cutting taxes. The bill passed Congress less than four weeks after Obama took office. It passed the House of Representatives with no Republican support. In the Senate, three of the chamber's 41 Republicans backed the bill.

"Bipartisanship is always more popular with the party out of power than with the party that is in control," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Democrats have wide majorities in both houses of Congress, but they are just shy of a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. A filibuster is a move by the minority party in the Senate to basically bring action in the chamber to a halt. Sixty votes are needed to break a filibuster and the Democrats currently hold 58 seats in the Senate.

Fifty-eight percent of those polled said they have a favorable opinion of the Democratic Party, down 2 points from December. Thirty-nine percent indicate they have a positive opinion of the Republican Party, also down 2 points from December.

Has the Republican Party taken a hit because it opposed the stimulus plan?

"Nothing much has changed," said CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider. "The GOP is still behind the Democrats. They haven't paid a price for opposing the plan but haven't made any gains either."

The survey's release comes one month after Obama's inauguration as president. Two out of three people questioned in the poll approve of the way Obama is handling the job. And more than seven in 10 think that he is a strong leader who inspired confidence and is tough enough for the job.

"But the public appears more attracted to Obama's personal characteristics than his stand on the issues, and they don't think he can end partisan gridlock in Washington, one of the key messages of Obama's presidential campaign," Holland said.

Public opinion about the president, while still fairly high, has dropped a bit since December on some measures, including 6- to 7-point losses on inspiring confidence and the president's ability to bring change.

"One exception is the number who say Obama is a strong leader," adds Holland. "That's grown to 80 percent, a sign that his attempts to look presidential in the past few weeks have paid off."

The number who said they agree with Obama on important issues dropped a bit as well, and although that figure is still over 60 percent, it is one of the lowest scores he received.

"That's a signal that Obama's personal appeal, rather than his stands on the issues, are boosting his overall ratings," Holland said.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll was conducted Wednesday and Thursday, with 1,046 adults questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (191 Responses)
  1. Proud American

    It's a joke to think that republicans would be willing to work with Democrats. The only thing republicans think about is their own pockets and bashing democrats. I think it's safe to say they will always be a party of Morons.

    February 20, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  2. Will from NYC

    Obama will keep on trying and the GOP will keep on rejecting any bi-partisan overtures... in 2010 the GOP will be further decimated as the party that put ideology first and country last.

    February 20, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  3. shucks

    Why would we be fond of bipartisanship when all the other party does is bash, bash, bash. And three weeks into the administration. I don't want to be bipartisan with this group of morons.

    February 20, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  4. MDM-Real VA

    Please quantifiy.. the reason democrats might be saying go it without the Republicans . Maybe it is because the republicans are not bringing solutions to the table... They are brining confusion, no ideas, adn negative attitudes.

    The Republican party is just negative sound bites taken directly from all of the negative radio talk show hosts. It is funny how they all get the same conversations going on.

    America needs to be careful what they give ear to.... What you constantly listen to becomes apart of you.... thus negative breeds negative

    February 20, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  5. Raymond

    55% want bipartisan legislation?

    LOL

    67% of the public disapproved the Stimulus Bill but Obama, Pelosi, and Reid RAMMED it through – giving Congress less than 24 hrs to read it.

    Those 55% wanting bipartisan legislation best not hold their breath with THIS administration.

    Obama's approach to bipartisanship: My way or the highway.

    February 20, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  6. Chris

    One reason his "popularity" is shrinking is simple - Where are the jobs? The more jobs we have that are funded by our government, the more taxes everyone will end up paying until one day we don't have a paycheck. Then we'll all be part of the social system that many seem to want. Also, have you noticed the change in attitude about closing that certain base where we have supposedly been torturing innocent people? Now, I'm hearing it may not close nearly as soon as we were told AND those innocents? They're still captured, in the same prison, so are they still being treated the same? All the working class is seeing is money that's going to be funding "programs" for the poor.

    February 20, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  7. Dan in NY

    I have to disagree with my fellow Democrats here. Bipartisan concensus is always better. The fact is, we may have one the election, but 47% of the country voted for a Republican. The deserve representation, too. But the President should not be slowed down if the Republicans try to block his efforts without offering solutions and bipartisanship themselves!

    February 20, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  8. Gene

    When a political group like the RNC threatens their members with retribution for voting their opinion rather than the party's philosophy, there can be no bipartisanship.

    Did you see the DNC threatening the few democrats that voted against the stimulus? They voted their opinion and that was it. The RNC straight attacked the 3 republicans Senators who voted for the stimulus. The party is practically shunning them.

    How can there be bipartisanship when one group absolutely refuses to budge from its position?

    February 20, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  9. Franky

    By the way guys, just wanted to say good stuff on the article, very good stuff. Hopefully people get history lesson learned...

    But as for this poll, I don't care, and I told you Democrats don't give a...well, you know, LOL!! My boy is gonna do what he needs to do...

    February 20, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  10. Spencer/Bad Newz, VA

    Forget bipartisanship. We tried to reach a hand out to the GOP and they spit in our face. That's why I pray this bill succeeds so no of them can take credit for it. If the bill succeeds, that will let the American people know that we no longer need the Republican Party. They will be completely irrelevant.

    February 20, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  11. annie - Palin 2012

    The demmies want to rule rather than work for the people who hire them and pay their salaries. They are going to bleed every working man and woman who pay taxes until there is no blood left.

    February 20, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  12. Vince --- Northern California

    The problem with this is the Republicans are sore losers, and don't want to add any positive input - just tax cuts for the richest 1% of Americans, and everyone else can just wallow in the filth .... President Obama gave them plenty of opportunity to provide POSITIVE input to try and solve the problem THEY started, but as usual Boehner and McConnell don't want any part of it ........

    February 20, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  13. Typical White Person

    "That's a signal that Obama's personal appeal, rather than his stands on the issues, are boosting his overall ratings," Holland said.

    Well, duh!

    February 20, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  14. Greg Hodges

    If the idiots in the Republican Party want bipartasanship; then realize that means a hell of alot more than just trying to criticize or sabotage everything Pres. Obama is trying to accomplish. IF you have better ideas (and where the hell were they over the last 8 years) ; then stand up and state them. Otherwise sit down and shut up!

    February 20, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  15. Shevot

    Obama has only been in office for 30 days! Give the man a chance, after all we gave GWBush Jr. 8 YEARS! The problem is that people are expecting miracles. The man is not God, he has a hell of a mess to clean up and it will be a hard job. I have faith that he has the right temperament and judgment to do it. IMO he has reached out to the other side more than any other president that I have ever seen, but if its not reciprocated what can he do other than reach out?

    February 20, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  16. WI Cheesehead

    Let us be in “denial” that there was no recession in most of 2008 and things only got bad in the fall and that’s why GOP got booted in the elections
    Let us “delay” any form of action in hope that by 2010 things will be worse for all of us to give the GOP some needed boost in the midterm elections
    Let us “do nothing” for the sake of principle and let things work themselves out.

    February 20, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  17. Mike O'Brien

    Remember that phrase by Rodney King said in Los Angeles.., "Let's all try to get along". Mike In Montana

    February 20, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  18. Franky

    "One exception is the number who say Obama is a strong leader," adds Holland. "That's grown to 80 percent, a sign that his attempts to look presidential in the past few weeks have paid off."

    The number who said they agree with Obama on important issues dropped a bit as well, and although that figure is still over 60 percent, it is one of the lowest scores he received.

    "That's a signal that Obama's personal appeal, rather than his stands on the issues, are boosting his overall ratings," Holland said."

    (cough)...(cough)...if anybody made this prediction raise their hands?? Ummm, I believe that's me, LOL!!!

    February 20, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  19. RJ

    Of course Democrats aren't so enthusiastic about bipartisanship.
    It would mean someone else would have a voice.
    Last time I checked, this country was made up of Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Libertarians, Green Party... you name it.
    So why should ONE party control everything with NO input from the rest of us?

    Last time I checked, we were still a Democratic Republic. All voices are to be heard, not just those in the majority.

    February 20, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  20. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    It will probably take a GOP filibuster or two in the Senate until the [newly]-rich Obamacrats recognize that they can't ramrod their ambitious and aggressive pipedreams through Congress without real collaboration across the aisle. I'm ready for the spectacle.

    February 20, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  21. Diane

    How about the Republicans working with the President. They are not willing to give the man a chance. 6 of the last eight years they have been in control!! Look where that has got us!! There's an old saying "you have to spend money to make money" Give the stimulus bill a chance to work.

    February 20, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  22. Had It

    Who cares? Just ANOTHER CNN poll. Ho Hum

    February 20, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  23. Iguana Victim

    Obama makes baby Jesus cry, apparently. But these days, what doesn't?

    Jesus seems to be less and less concerned about that whole "thou shalt not kill" thing than he is about the current US economic struggle.

    Jesus also helped the Steelers win the Superbowl, helped Kanye win a Grammy, as well as helped advise GW Bush for the last eight years.

    Busy guy, huh? Good thing Jesus is an American, huh? And conservative, at that.

    Remember his words:

    "Screw the poor. They ain't gettin' any of my hard-earned money!"

    February 20, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  24. Joe

    I would love to see Obama collaborate and compromise with the Republicans.

    Too bad that the Republicans won't let him.

    February 20, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  25. Bill

    Gee.... Now people are starting to wake up to the fact that Obama is nothing more than a used car salesman that put one over on the people that fawned over him. He's useless in office. His own party members are there to pass whatever measure he can dream up, and still cannot get anything done.
    Thanks to the sheeple that voted this HACK into office, we're all going to suffer for the ills of the greedy CEOs and the lazy that lied on their home loan paperwork to get a house they couldn't afford in the first place that now I'm gonig to have to pay higher taxes to bail them out.
    Every last one one of you that voted for Obama can go to hell in the handbasket you've woven for yourselves.

    February 20, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
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