February 20th, 2009
03:47 PM ET
6 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. jb

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

    Well, how can there be bipartisanship when the Libs won't budge either? You are liberal so you assume that they are right. Bipartisanship goes both ways.

    February 20, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  2. Independent voter

    Who do they poll? Democrats only?

    Sorry, I don't think he looks presidential. He looks like a kid in a suit.

    February 20, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  3. Megan

    Pretty worthless poll. The Republicans compared themselves to terrorists by banding together to buck Obama's plan. How in the world does that help those of us out here in the real world struggling daily? I can't believe the GOP continues to swing blindly.

    February 20, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  4. cnnnewser

    By all means lets have bipartisanship....lets just leave the republicans out of it. They have no good ideas anyway.

    February 20, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  5. Mike

    Disappointing??? The guy is incompetent ! ! !

    February 20, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  6. the idiot

    Gene, again, another democrat obfuscating. Did the republicans take any positions away. Did not hear it if they did. Contrast this with the liberal treatment of Libermann and show the kind, loving, generous (with my money) socialists.

    February 20, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  7. karen-Phoenix

    The republican party needs a COMPLETE overhaul!!! OLD, STUFFY, Opionated and completely, COMPLETELY out of touch of the American working class!!!

    February 20, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  8. Lane

    Gene,
    Were you paying attention to the way this went down? Mr. O and his party refused to accept input from the Republicans. "We won" and we are going to have it our way is hardly an attitude that fosters cooperation – don't you think?

    February 20, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  9. Mark

    Republicans are voting no for no other reason than to strengthen their position should parts of the stimulus plan fail. Believe me, they will pick apart every step of the plan only pointing out where it is missing, and say nothing about where it is helping. If the Republicans had a better plan, why didn't THEY initiate the bill?

    February 20, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  10. precista46

    gene....the dems wouldn't DARE to not vote for the package ..it's their job to blindly follow what their leadership demands....and regarding you comment about "..how can there be bipartisanship...", after learning what was in the bill I am shocked that not a single democrat had the tiniest shred of decency to see this porkfest for what it will do to this country...ZERO...except make us all that much closer to Socialism...and if you doubt that possibility it just goes to show that democrats need not bother with anything but their own agenda...
    Just think for one minute that the "jobs" created would be for a project that might take a year or so to complete...then what???????

    February 20, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  11. Leo/Georgetown,TX/USA

    The republicans had 8 years to do something. Why do the republicans in congress even think or feel like they need to ,ake some input? Were they asleep for 8 years? The magic of the press. Start some rumor, gossip or just plain BS and a few people will jump on it and the press will make it seem like there are millions out there feeling the same way. AMAZING!!!

    February 20, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  12. 2010

    Where is the balanced "reporting" showing just the numbers of Republicans wanting bipartisanship, as CNN did for Dems? As much as I want the parties working together, the GOP has shown very LITTLE interests, even having their RNC Chairman saying bipartisanship is "overrated." With that stubborn & divisive attitude, is it any wonder less people favor them?

    At least President Obama & the Dems are trying to appeal to Republicans, which is more than I can say about the last eight years.

    February 20, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  13. rena

    cnn- Get a life; your polls tell lies. We all know that Mr. President has bent over backwards trying to work with these idiots. I say go on without these nutcases. All they care about is themselves and their stupid party. They need to stop crying like a baby and you CNN need to stop being a busy body/mess maker. This country is in trouble and all you are trying to do is keep your ratings up by putting out misleading information and lies. Will the real news reporters step up?

    The republican party is a disgrace and so is the democratic party. Neither of them are acting like leaders. I wish we can do away with this type of government and just have the people to vote on everything. I bet that will make a lot us think about our selfishness and self-centerness. Then you want have rich getting rich and poor getting poor.

    February 20, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    Obama: OK, here's the proposed bill.

    GOP: We want tax cuts.

    Obama: There are tax cuts in it.

    GOP: We want ONLY tax cuts.

    Obama: Well, I don't, but let's see what we can get rid of that you don't like. [several things get dropped]. There, how's that?

    GOP: That's not compromise...we wanted ONLY tax cuts.

    Obama: Yeah, and we want some spending along with those tax cuts. But hey, I understand where you're coming from, so we removed some of the stuff you don't like.

    GOP: You're being partisan.

    Does NOBODY see how borderline psychotic that is? THE GOP DOES NOT COMPROMISE...ERGO, WE WILL ALWAYS HAVE TO WATCH THE OBSTRUCTIONIST BALLET PLAY OUT WHENEVER A DEM IS POTUS. THIS IS WHY THE GOP WILL STAY MARGINALIZED.

    February 20, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  15. john

    Gene, you said it best! The RNC says that Obama isn't being bi-partisan, but he compromised so much of the stimulus bill to make it more appealing to the RNC. And those tax cuts won't do any good for the economy or the American people; they will only serve the fat corporate cats. I wish they would get it through their thick skulls that corporate tax cuts do not work! They'd only work if there was some sort of clause or guarantee that gave corporations a quota for job creation and investment back into our communities and nation.

    February 20, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  16. Bill

    Love the picture of the Bush Boot Lickers. Aren't they just positively dark hearted?

    February 20, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    POLLS SHMOLLS. Polls show Republicans are less popular than the idea of legalizing pot. At least that's an interesting one.

    February 20, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  18. Peter

    These critics have no solution of their own. Obama and friends have inherited a complex mess and a governmental disorganization that has failed to function for 8 years. He has been in office for 30 days. Could superman have it fixed with his comic book friends in that time? These naysayers are not true Americans patriots or honrable citizens. Shut up your negative energy or try to somehow support an effort for revival instead of critcizing from your hapless, failed ideology that has already demonstrated it does not work. Why is anyone listening or publicizing ideas coming from Republicans who only want him to fail?

    We need solutions not doomsayers.

    February 20, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  19. worriedmom

    You wonder why we have problems. All you idiots that always have something to say about Republicans. I am a Republican and I dont always agree with what they have to say but I am willing to hear the other side. I am just so sick and tired of everything that goes wrong is the Republican's fault. Now why dont you Lib and Democrats explain to me why it is ok for your Pres. Pelosi to spend our hard earned tax dollars on a trip to see the Pope. Talk about trying to deal with the common people, she has no clue but yet you guys will defend her and your "One" always. At least I can admit my President made mistakes!

    February 20, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  20. Peter

    These critics have no solution of their own. Obama and friends have inherited a complex mess and a governmental disorganization that has failed to function for 8 years. He has been in office for 30 days. Could superman have it fixed with his comic book friends in that time? These naysayers are not true Americans patriots or honrable citizens. Shut up your negative energy or try to somehow support an effort for revival instead of critcizing from your hapless, failed ideology that has already demonstrated it does not work. Why is anyone listening or publicizing ideas coming from Republicans who only want him to fail?

    We need solutions not doomsayers.

    February 20, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  21. Julie

    President Obama made a try at bipartisanship, as he should, but he shouldn't not do what he has to do just because the Republican members of the House and Senage oppose it. Many Republican governors and mayors support the plan and will be happy to try and put their cities and states on the road to recovery.

    I support both the Recovery Act and the Housing bill even though I will not see a direct benefit immediately as some people will. However, stabilizing the housing market helps me in the long run with my property value. Stabilizing the economy will help my retirement investments and creating jobs will help all of us, even if we are not the ones looking for work at this time. The more people out of work, the more of our tax money it takes to care for them, and care for them we must.

    I personally think that Barack Obama cares more about getting something done than he does about getting reelected and in my opinion, that is exactly the way it should be for all of our elected representatives in both parties. So do I care if something has bipartisan support? Not so much. I only care if it works.

    February 20, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  22. thanks, but no thanks

    l am voting for Arlen Specter. And, as independent l will work hard that my senator get re-elected. All you other Republicans shove it.....

    February 20, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  23. Peter

    These critics have no solution of their own. Obama and friends have inherited a complex mess and a governmental disorganization that has failed to function for 8 years. He has been in office for 30 days. Could superman have it fixed with his comic book friends in that time? These naysayers are not true Americans patriots or honrable citizens. Shut up your negative energy or try to somehow support an effort for revival instead of critcizing from your hapless, failed ideology that has already demonstrated it does not work. Why is anyone listening or publicizing ideas coming from Republicans who only want him to fail?

    We need solutions not doomsayers.

    February 20, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  24. bob parno

    Lets see now, today it would be exactly one month since the president took office. Since that time I have watched him roll up his sleeves to start to get the ball rolling, I have also watched in disbelief as the republicans sat at their table with both elbows on it with nothing but blank stares and hands on their ears and gossip in their mouths I think America deserves better than see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil from them. They are supposed to be the best and the brightest in the land. Or are they just laid back slackers collecting a check. What great and new Ideas do they bring to keep this land prosperous. Lest hear it.

    February 20, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  25. david

    What is a poll worth. Especially when the information your receive is just worthless.
    I would question the type of questions being asked. Try asking the question....... which is more of a priority to Americans fixing the economy or bipartisanship? There seems to be a movement by conservative leaning print and tv media along with conservative radio to try to define or redefine bipartisanship. No one expects all sides to agree, that never happens. However..... The President of the United States has listened to all side and opinions and like any good effective leader has made a decision. Time to move forward with supporting our President and fixing the economy.....not worry about hurt feelings or a party that got in this mess to begin with.

    February 20, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
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