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. 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 |
  2. 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 |
  3. 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 |
  4. 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 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  5. Justin

    CNN polls are hilarious. 1,047 people by telephone. Care to tell us how many were democrats, independant, and republican? It's very easy to just call people that will suit your own objective.

    There are polls out there done by impartial groups that show quite a different picture than any CNN poll. Also 1,047 people is quite a small sampling numbering.

    Gene, you need to remember that the DNC party pretended to budge from it's position to get those 3 republicans so they could then shove through a bill that 90% of them have not even read. There can't be bipartisan when Democrats don't want to hear a thing Republicans have to say.

    February 20, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  6. annie - Palin 2012

    Why did anyone think bo would do a good job – he's never worked a day in his life. Unless you count community organizer sitting around sipping a brew with the local chicago crook politicians and money launderers.

    February 20, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  7. Jeff

    Gene, you hit the nail right on the head!! The fact that there is no bipartisanship in Washington right now rests squarely on the shoulders of the repubs, and in particular their new "leader", mr. steele. John McCain said the other day that he is disappointed that the bill passed almost completely along party lines, and said that the American people want bipartisanship now... he added "not that we did anything differently". Hmmmm.... so it was ok for the repubs, but not for the dems. A word comes to mind... what is it... oh yeah, HYPOCRITE!!!!!!!!

    If the repubs truly want bipartisanship, it's about time they started walking the walk!

    February 20, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. Aaron

    I want the best legislation possible, regardless of party. Unfortunately. the Republicans have made it clear that their goal is not to serve the best interests of the nation, but to get back into power by causing Obama to fail.
    They tried to weaken the stimulus bill by inserting ineffective tax cuts, hoping Obama would cave in to their whining about bipartisanship.
    Fortunately, Obama is trying to save our economy rather than playing politics.
    The Republicans will only deserve a place at the table, when they start working for all of the people, and not just the top two percent.

    February 20, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  9. Jay T.

    Of course they do. They are in the minority. I didn't hear them screaming about bipartisanship five or six years ago. I can't wait for the Republicans to stop whining. They are merely a regional,and reactionary party now. They only have themselves to blame. Deal with it!

    February 20, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. T

    Just a smoke screen. The Rep., has no ideas and they dont want to be part of anything. THEY STAND ALONE....must be lonely down there

    February 20, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  11. Beejay

    I agree with the comments from Gene and Franky. To me, it would appear that no matter what President Obama does, it will not be good enough for the Republicans. It is so obvious that they want him to fail. Who are they to be giving advice after what they did to the country the last eight years? I cannot believe the comments from other people on some of the other topics either. It is so obvious that many of these people are so prejudiced. Nobody knows what will work in getting America back on its feet, but at least the President is trying new things. Why continue doing the same things that got the country into this mess in the first place? Even the financial experts throughout the country cannot agree on what will work. All we can hope for is that God will give the President the wisdom and guidance to help America. We all know that it will take a while..."Rome wasn't built in a day". How can people expect that things will go right in such a short period of time? Wake up people.....use some common sense. The hole was dug very deep. Don't you realize that if his plan works, it's to the benefit of America? Don't let stupidity and prejudice cloud your minds.

    February 20, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  12. In Houston, TX

    The stimulus bill suffered greatly at the expense of an attempt at bipartisan legislature. We took out things that were needed and put in things that we don't (tax cuts)
    After all was said and done we only go 3 republicans to vote for it.
    Now that this is over, *bleep* the Repuglicans and bipartisanship. We can do this without them and come 2010 election WE WILL be doing this without them. They are worried about the party when they should be worried about their constituents who are suffering. There base has been brainwashed into supporting policies that don't help them. But more and more, people are starting to realize that Repuglican ideaology is wrong and they will be voted out of office again in mass numbers

    February 20, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  13. Roland in St George, UT

    As an Independent (since 2000) (but former Republican) who never voted for Bush and who supported Obama I'm all in favor of bipartisanship. But the problem is that the Republicans now are not acting responsible at all and rather than work with the Democrats to get things done, the Republicans just seem to want to sit around on their thumbs and accuse the Democrats of Socialism. At least the Democrats are trying to do something. An imperfect plan today is better a perfect plan tomorrow. For God's sake, do something! We can always change the plan tomorrow if we need to. But the Republicans just don't seem to get it. However, the Democrats are at least trying to do SOMETHING!!

    February 20, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  14. Gerry in Va. for Obama.

    As long as the OLD WHITE BOYS GANG FROM TEXAS runs the republican party this kind of B.S. will go on. As long as the HAROLD SIMMONS (of swift boat money fame) of the world, can throw their money around and buy the way politicians think, the Democratic party and a Black president will have to put up with this kind of hatefulness..

    It wouldn't make any differance if PRESIDENT OBAMA had been able to fix like majic the economy from day one, because he is a Democrat and champion of the people, Harold Simmons and his ilk will continue to use every means at their disposal, including buying pole numbers to try and convince the public, foreign and domestic, that he is not doing his job and the public has no confidence in him...

    February 20, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  15. chris

    I think Obama is doing a good job. I don't see why the GOP is so upset. If were the other way around, and there was a Rep. President and Rep. Congress, they wouldn't be any where near as lenient as Obama. They had their chance and look at where it has gotten us. I say give Obama a chance.

    February 20, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  16. Deloris

    The Republican messed it up and don't want Obema to fix it. Rush has said it all "I hope he fails" I have a lot of faith in him and I just bet his policies will work

    February 20, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  17. Stephanie G

    We gave Bush four years to screw up, and then we reelcted him for another four to try and fix it, which turned into a total of eight years of screw ups. Let's try giving the man more than a month and a half, huh? He's got a LOT to turn around!

    February 20, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  18. Bleebo

    How is this "poll" stuff being sent to respond.? I am dubious about these polls, i don't know of one person that has responded to a poll that is put out, about the president ratings droppin, the RNC this, the RNC that, give me a break.

    LIAR LIAR LIAR, this too is another deterant to distract the issues at hand. POLL this PRESIDENT OBAMA is doing an EXCELLENT, SUPERB, MAGNIFICENT, OUTSTANDING JOB!!!!!! 10 of 10 agree. HOW ABOUT THAT!? That's my first "poll" to which i have participated.

    YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!! YES!!!

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

    But a Belligerent Boehner, a crafty and cunning Cantor, and a pugnacious Pence of Indiana are possibly hell-bent on thwarting any earnest effort by the Dem gang. Bipartisanship brouhaha breeds bellicosity in modern politics, as for as we have seen. Ego, a force to reckon with, is, perhaps, a persona non grata in these issues of amicable arguements. Dems aren't perfect either. They need to find a common ground of a lot less spending and govt. involvement, to the best of their ability. Nancy Pelosi needs a lot of coaxing and proding by other fiscally conservative Dems.

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

    What the heck does everyone want Obama to do? Wave his hands and make this Republican Wall Street mess go away? Ain't gonna happen...get real!! Wall Street is 99% Republican and Wall Street created this mess without the help of Barney Frank....contrary to what Rush (liar) Limbaugh may assert.

    February 20, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  21. Gene

    To "The Idiot"... if you haven't heard the threats to the 3 senators to have them run out of their jobs... then you're living in a cave.

    And only an idiot with no concept of what a socialist society truly is would call Obama and his administration socialist.

    You don't like socialism.. no problem.. next time you need the services of the fire department or the police... I hope they do nothing for you until you pay them a fee. Hope you don't want a military.. purely paid by our tax dollars. Oh wait.. kids going to public school.. not anymore.. you better be shelling out thousands of dollars per semester so your kids can get an education. Wait.. who needs roads.. go pay for your own roads to be paved. There's nothing wrong with "socialist" programs.. they are the balance that keeps capitalism in check and makes it work. But you'll never understand that because in the minds of idiots like you.. socialism means that we're going to turn in Russia.

    February 20, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  22. D Sylvester

    The GOP has no ideas. While everyone else in main street is suffering. get it together.

    February 20, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  23. ANon O'Muss

    The man has been president for a month! He inherited a bad economy, a nation under threat, wars, and a less than flattering foreign opinion of the United States based on the past 8 years. Perhaps being so quick to judge someone who's efforts will take much more than one month to come to fruitition is a mistake, eh?

    His stimulus helps lift up the econmony, save homes, create jobs, and bail out banks among myriad issues that most people don't read about in USA today. The critics accuse him of being partisan when all that means to him is that he's not adopting the same failed republican policies that got us here.... like tax cuts over spending for job creation.

    I say let the man be president and let all that hope and patriotism that we believed in during his acceptance speech, and his address come to fruition. I think that alot of these critics want to be able to say "I told you so" IF their assumptions end up being right, but they won't get the chance. They won't be able to say anything because their mouths will be full... they'll be eating their words.

    Everyone has an opinion... everyone thinks they know the answer. Obama is a smart man. His wife's a smart woman. The man put together an administration that probably keeps John McCain up nights just knowing in his heart that he never could have come close to doing better. Obama is surrounded by alot of smart people, and these people know what's at stake and they know the score.

    LET THEM DO THEIR JOB!!!!!!!!

    February 20, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  24. Sam

    ".....but he compromised so much of the stimulus bill to make it more appealing to the RNC"

    Indeed- he comprimised SO much that 3 Republicans voted for it.

    February 20, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  25. cedric

    Please give the President a chance he has not even been in office long at all.Ok the next person that think they can straighten this mess out step up PLEASE!!!!!

    February 20, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8