December 23rd, 2009
09:08 PM ET
6 months ago

CNN Poll: More Americans think Democratic policies better than Republican

Washington (CNN) - Despite the bruising battle over their health care reform proposals, congressional Democrats have maintained an advantage over their Republican counterparts on one key measure, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday indicates that a bare majority of Americans, 51 percent, believe that the Democrats' policies are good for the country, with 46 percent saying that those policies would take the country in the wrong direction.

By contrast, 53 percent of people questioned in the poll say that the GOP's polices would move the nation in the wrong direction, with 42 percent saying Republican policies are good for the country.

"The numbers for both parties are virtually unchanged since late August, just before President Barack Obama's health care speech to Congress opened the latest round of debate on this divisive issue," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Democrats will be defending their large majorities in Congress next year, when all 435 seats in the House and more than a third of the seats in the Senate are up for grabs.

"This advantage on policy could be an important edge for the Democrats heading into the 2010 midterm elections," adds Holland. "But independents will be the key to the midterms, and the numbers among independents spell bad news for both parties among that important group."

In an August survey, independent voters' views of GOP policies were evenly divided. But a majority of independents now say Republicans would move the country in the wrong direction. Nonetheless, the number of independents who dislike Democratic policies, now at 57 percent, is higher than the 52 percent who hold a negative view of Republican policies.

The survey suggests that Sen. Joe Lieberman is taking a hit in popularity due to his opposition to a major element in his party's bill. The independent lawmaker from Connecticut, who caucuses with the Democrats to give the party a 60-vote filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, threatened to undermine the bill unless compromises were made. Lieberman opposed the creation of a government-run public insurance option, and the expansion of Medicare to individuals as young as 55. Both of those proposals were dropped from the bill this month, enraging many liberals.

According to the poll, Lieberman's favorable rating has dropped 9 points, from 40 percent to 31 percent, from early December. His unfavorable rating has risen 6 points, from 28 percent to 34 percent.

"Lieberman's biggest decline - a 14-point drop - came among independents," Holland says. "Only Republicans continue to like Lieberman."

The survey also indicates that just one in five Americans trust the federal government always or most of the time, down 4 points from a year ago.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted December 16-20, with 1,160 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Full results (pdf)

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: CNN poll • Extra
soundoff (297 Responses)
  1. francky4

    Wake up little men of the USA. How can't you see that there would not be any democratic party existing without the existence of the GOP and vice versa.
    In other words they are the SAME manipulative idiots that take the people for fools for decades.The election system of this country is a complete joke;
    You have no chance to be elected or even to be heard unless you are a stupid blue jack ass or a ridiculous red elephant.
    Mr peace sending more troops to go fighting should revolt you but it seems that maybe you are getting use to wars after all. Everyone knows that God bless America no matter what right...poor thing.

    December 24, 2009 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  2. Doug Smith

    A national poll about Lieberman. Are these people political niave?
    The only poll that counts is what do the people of his state think of Lieberman.

    December 24, 2009 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  3. MB Yunus

    What is the hurry in passing the health care bill before the self-imposed Democratic deadline of the Christmas Eve? The bill has certain positive things, but without some form of Public Option, the insurance companies will continue their reckless apathy towards patient care. They only care about their fat pocket books and their greed will go unpunished. This is not reform!

    RealChange 1

    December 24, 2009 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  4. Terry - Indiana

    I left the Republican Party because President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld felt it was better to wage war in Iraq than to attack the failing economy here at home. They knew in 2005 that Home Loan Failures were coming. I know for a fact that they knew, because we were telling them what was happening in California, Arizona, and Nevada. History is going to prove that they knew. As for the Healthcare Bill, all I have asked is that I be allowed to purchase my Blue Cross & Blue Shield Coverage at the same rate that the House and Senate pays. I am not looking for a free ride, I am looking for a fair and equitable system. Why have the Healthcare Insurance Companies spent close to $300 Million Dollars lobbying the Congress and Senate? The answer is very simple – Fight the Public Option at all cost. This is about greed, not fairness!

    December 24, 2009 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  5. adam

    by the way liberman is a nazi if it walks like a duck ... for all that never paid attention to history look it up what nazi stood for and you will find striking similarities with what liberman represents he is hard core nazi republican and it's time to get this sorry excuse for for human being out of politics

    December 24, 2009 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  6. Ismael Coffee

    Honestly, where would the Republican Party be without fear and greed?

    December 24, 2009 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  7. Nate the Proud Conservative

    Great Talking points Libs! It's hard to argue actual facts with people that can only repeat Bumper Stickers all Day long. "Party of No"...What a crock. You are right we are the Party of No......No Marxism.... No Socialism.....No Pseudo-Communism......and No Nanny State.
    Evaluate the Bills being proposed based on the facts rather than the "warm and fuzzy" feelings that you get from believing that Democrats want "Healthcare for All". This Bill will simply create the largest Big Gov't Monolithic Behemoth in History.
    Unlike you...I like to make decisions for myself instead of relying on some beurocrat in a suit.

    December 24, 2009 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  8. Andrew

    Can that traitor Lieberman just go away, with his pals bush, cheney, rumsfeld, and rove once and for all

    December 24, 2009 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  9. Jeremiah

    Yeah, we'll see how everyone feels in 8 years after the democrats dig us another hole with useless Obama at the helm. People are blind. You follow your party lines like fools. Look where that got people with Bush, it will get us the same place with your wonderous Obama and his worthless plans. Tell me, why are we still in Iraq? Why are we putting more troops in Afghanistan? Why is our national deficit just getting bigger and bigger? (thanks to Obama's plans). Blame it on Bush all you want, that guy was a fool too, but the fact is Obama is the one signing off on these plans, and in 8 years, you will all be complaining about the hole this guy has dug for us. Way to go people! Seems like political parties are more important then our country these days. Heaven forbid we actually have democrats who agree with repubs or repubs that agree with dems and try to work it out! The dems complained that the repubs didn't work with them, and what are they doing now?

    December 24, 2009 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  10. SS

    What is on the table for health care is an insult to the american people. I can not believe how health care can go from being bad to real bad.
    Public option was THE best and only way for health care to be representative, and this mandatory business is a joke. I thought the idea was to make health care more affordable so that more people would want to get it. Straight from the horse's mouth I do believe. Obama would be wise to scrap the entire thing and start over. Playing to the GOPs hand my friend. A lot of those places and faces in the crowd are getting the short end of the stick. No bueno!

    December 24, 2009 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  11. Jeremiah

    Oh and by the way, it's so "great" we now have government run healthcare. Look how well the government worked cash for clunkers. (many dealerships are still trying to get paid by the government). Then look at how well we run the financial district. Look how well we run national disaster responses, social security, and medicare. When will people realize that politicians are self serving individuals that are not all knowing? The fact is many of these people have NO experience with business, healthcare or investing money and the list goes on. They have experience in giving pretty speeches and running political races and twisting words. Smart to give them control over healthcare, makes total sense. Fools.

    December 24, 2009 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  12. J.Romeo

    Whats up with Dems saying that Bush got us into 2 wars. Does anyone not remember 911 and that we were attacked. Bush didnt get us into the war in Afghanistan, we were provoked and and actioned on a act of war on our soil! With the war in Iraq i can understand that bush "got us" into the war. Riddle me this, how much do we profit off of the oil Iraq produces? None the money is going back to Iraq and its people! Stop saying it was for oil. We were not getting much oil from Iraq before the war stared and we still dont get a large % from them! So why is it called a war for oil?????

    December 24, 2009 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  13. elms

    Bums! wanted handouts..just like democrats.....BUMS!

    December 24, 2009 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  14. Ej

    Clearly Americans are tired of being shoved off the "Party of NO" cliff. The last 8 years have proven that reality.

    December 24, 2009 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  15. Jefe

    Clearly there was no "neither" option. While I agree Democratic policies are better for the majority of Americans, I believe we would all be much better off with neither party. That's not to say Big Insurance lackeys like the so-called Independent LIEberman are any good either, just that they would be insignificant if we could ever get a pro-American party, with congressmen/women who represent The People.

    December 24, 2009 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  16. VM

    This is pathetic, the radicals as usual have no answers, solutions or even a clue as to what to do to get us out of the mess they created. And somehow find it convenient to blame Obama for it.

    Then they make the outlandish claim that these polls are somehow skewed and the next election will show the Radicals have enough support to get elected.

    FACT: Once the Dems get health care passed and everyone discovers that the Radicals claims were all unsubstantiated. The Dems popularity will rival that of the last election

    December 24, 2009 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  17. Thomas

    Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch doesn't agree with this poll . He is in such a state of denial , what a looser !

    December 24, 2009 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  18. Stanley

    What a crock! Who did you ask? The bottom line is that Obama's arrogrance is now becoming policy, and we are losing individual freedom each day that he sits in office. Freedom is not a Democratic ideal or a Republican ideal. It is an American ideal, and I do believe the country is finally waking up. Do a real poll and get back to us.

    December 24, 2009 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  19. Brad

    Wow... a CNN poll says Dems are better off than the GOP... the same survey on Fox said the opposite (with a much larger margin). Let's be done with these web polls hosted on websites that draw particular audiences. Try running the same poll on Townhall and check the results. Give me a break.

    December 24, 2009 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  20. Todd

    America i have been cut off by the Obama Administration to speak what i feel. You Tube has been shut down by the Obama Administration. America,FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS.

    December 24, 2009 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  21. oldtimer

    There are 57 million seniors on Medicare, and i can't believe that anyone of them favor taking 500 billion away from medicare. This will devistating to senior health care. The millions that are close to medicare, like myself, i would never vote for such a boondoggle if given the chance. But i guess the people always looking for a handout probably think this is great.

    December 24, 2009 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  22. pat

    Democrats try to change things for the better and change is something many people don't like. As with anything they are not going to get it right all the time, but something has to be done. We can't just sit around and wait for our situation to get better by itself. All Republicans do is tell everyone how this or that is bad or isn't going to work. They don't try to create positive change for this country. I see nothing good coming out of the Republican party. They are really just in it for themselves and not for America.

    December 24, 2009 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
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