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. Vic

    Repubs make me want to puke!! All they ever say is tax cuts for the people who make alot of money and talk this phony balance the budget bullcrap. The last time a Repub president balance a budget was Nixon . Of course that was 35 yrs ago and the only prez since then to balance the budget was BILL CLINTON. That means 20 yrs of Repub prez's since Nixon have left huge deficits. So this talk of physical responsiblity is just a huge joke. Listen, I remember back in 1993 they were saying basically the same bullcrap about Clinton and everything turned out great!!

    February 20, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    @ the idiot

    The GOP can't take any positions away dipstick. They don't control the chairmanships etc. The Dems do.

    February 20, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  3. songbird-fl

    PEOPLE- 2010 DON'T FORGET THAT YEAR PLEASE LETS GET THESE NUTS OUT! THEY GOT TO MUCH HATE IN THEM IT'S NOT RIGHT. IT'S WRONG FOR AMERICA.

    February 20, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  4. arithmetic is liberal

    If God, Guns and Gays are all you care about, consider this:

    Don't like abortion? Don't have one.
    Don't like gay marriage? Don't marry one.
    'Fraid the guvmit's gonna take ma guns? Not only are you protected by the second amendment, but you are also protected by search and seizure.

    Problems solved.

    Now can you please develop areas of your brain besides the amigdala and THINK and READ and LISTEN for a change?

    February 20, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  5. payback

    If President Obama, could wave a magic wand, to fix the economic mess. That we are in. The republicans would take issue with the wand, he used. They would say why didn't you use a white one. Instead of a black one. Or a small one, instead of a big one. They, cannot be satisfied. Because they, have an issue with him being President.......................

    February 20, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. Emilio

    The Republicans in the US Legislature are part of the dark forces dogging us, regular sheeple, on all fronts. They are an organized gang of lying crooks whose ultimate aim is the delivery of this nation to some fascist group who'll run the world. Heard about the New World Order? GHWB happened to have mentioned that term shortly before he began the bombing of Iraq in 1991.

    February 20, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  7. arithmetic is liberal

    the answer is TAX CUTS!!!

    What's the questions again?

    February 20, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. krisdoyle

    President Obama is a good and patient man. It's a good thing I am not the president. I wouldn't include those repulsive-can losers led by the jealous triplets McCain and, the voices of No-reason, Hannity and Limbaugh. Republicans had there 8 years of doing nothing and now that someone is trying to get something moving toward recovery, the jacka$$'s won't even try to help our country. I hope when they finally reach hell, the devil will give them special attention. Sense they can't work with the president, perhaps they will burn better with the devil.

    February 20, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  9. lovable liberal

    What these polls never measure is what people think would be an appropriate price for bipartisanship. How much should Obama agree to bad Republican policy that harms the country in order to get a few of their votes? My opinion: as little as possible and probably nothing that John Boehner asks for.

    February 20, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  10. arithmetic is liberal

    Two weeks running, my challenge remains unanswered:

    Can ANY right-winger tell me what the dfinition of "Pork Spending" is?

    Or are they just syllables coming out of your mouth.

    February 20, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  11. Katy

    Doesn't anyone recognize that we are all in it together?.

    February 20, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  12. thanks, but no thanks

    worried mom! you admit that your president made mistakes, but your president never admitted it to it even as he left the office. What does that tell you about him? At least, our current president admitted that he screwed up not vetting properly some of his cabinet people. What would Jesus say??? An arrogant versus a humble person.... Let me know

    February 20, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  13. Chad, Wisco

    This is why we need more than two political parties in this country. And do start about the Greens or Libertarians, I mean parties that are able to have representatives that make a difference.

    February 20, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  14. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    He admitted he "screwed up" . He thought the presidency was easier than herding goats in Kenya. Just admit it that Democrats lost the day the stimulus bill passed congress the way it did. They signed the deed of cession. So live with it. Steele got all the amunition he needs. Am sure he is taking note of all the "innocent mistakes". Besides economic crisis is just part of the problem. We have to see how Obama is going to handle the world outside the US.

    February 20, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  15. Steph

    President Obama has done more in his first 30 days than Bush did in his first 100 days. Sadly, our new president has to move this quickly because the Republicans put us in a very tough spot! They should apologize for the mess and start to participate in fixing our economy, energy issues, education, the wars, etc...Now, that would be bipartisanship we can believe in!

    February 20, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  16. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    He admitted he "screwed up" . He thought the presidency was easier than herding goats in Kenya. Just admit it that Democrats lost the day the stimulus bill passed congress the way it did. They signed the deed of cession. So live with it. Steele got all the amunition he needs. Am sure he is taking note of all the "innocent mistakes". Besides economic crisis is just part of the problem. We have yet to see how Obama is going to handle the world outside the US.

    February 20, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  17. Meka

    PRESIDENT OBAMA, TRIED TO BRING THE REPUBLICAN'S ON-BOARD . . .

    BUT--REPUBLICAN'S DID JUST WHAT THEY ALWAYS DO!

    February 20, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  18. MN Voter

    I am all for bi-partisanship, but it takes a committment from BOTH sides or it is not going to work. President Obama is definitely making a bi-partisan effort (living up to his promise to reach across the aisle), however, it isn't going to go anywhere with the republicans dead set against fighting the Obama administration on everything no matter what. Oh well, it is obvious President Obama is trying and the republicans just look like sore losers who care more about the power of their party than what is good for the American people.

    February 20, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  19. Geronimos bones?

    Calling for our government to fail sounds treasonous to me .

    February 20, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  20. dennis

    You will never in anyones lifetime see the rep and dem get along. They were bread that way plus they don't give a flying you no what about us . They will do what they want to do they always have and they always will.

    February 20, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  21. Meka

    CONGRESS TERM LIMITS, IS STILL AN OPTION!

    February 20, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  22. person

    when is Boehner going to come up for re-election?? Cuz he's out, and so are all the other unpatriotic rethugs

    February 20, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  23. person

    annie-Palin 2012 , what an idiot! Get out of this country you are shameful to support nasty ethics violator and rabble-rousing supporter Palin.

    February 20, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  24. Unshrub

    How can Obama work with someone, when their only goal is to disagree. To disagree with Obama and 30 second sound bites is the only plan the republicans have.

    February 20, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  25. person

    Rethugs like to use lies to scare people into believeing their unscientific idiotic ideas like socialist and secret muslim. what a dumb bunch of monkeys. NYP should have said the monkey represented rethugs and they're losing battle in america. Hope they are out of government for good.

    February 20, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
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