December 23rd, 2009
09:08 PM ET
8 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. Tammy

    Considering the past 8-year rule, anything is an improvement.

    December 23, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  2. katiec

    Of course the American people support the Democrat policies.
    They represent middle class American, senior citizens, veterans,
    women, less fortunate and the disabled.
    The party of NOthing represents big business.

    December 23, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  3. bill

    I believe more educated Americans believe in democratic policies. The Sarah Palins of the world are poorly educated bible thumpers.

    December 23, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  4. Mar

    Of course it is.
    Republican policies = more money for rich

    December 23, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  5. VB Lincoln Park NJ

    Why am I not surprised?

    December 23, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  6. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but....

    It would be fairly easy to bring a little clarity to the healthcare issue:
    Take a poll of how many still favor a public option
    Have the CBO do a cost benefit analysis of a single payer system
    Take a poll of how many Americans favor term limits and kicking all lobbyists out of DC.

    Have a nice day!

    December 23, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  7. Bruce in VA

    Oh, yes. 51% (which just about equals the number of people that do not pay any federal income tax) think the Democrats policies are better. What are the chances? The nanny state lives on.

    December 23, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  8. MsDp

    That's because the Democrats care about human beings. On the other hand, the republicians care about corporations and wars. Even foreigners who are not born here and are visiting notice this fundamental difference.

    December 23, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  9. Ancient Texan

    This survey must have been taken inside the National offices of the Democrat Party. Every poll I've seen shows a much larger percentage saying that the country is on the wrong track. And guess what? The Democrats are in charge.

    December 23, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  10. hn

    As the republicans blame, if the preseident is the person repsonsible for the state of theunion, the past 8 years speaks very poorly of them. They inherited a surplus from a democratic president and messed up everything till this point. But the reason they are even alive is the American public is predominantly republican until they screwup. Then they elect a democrat and when things are back they go back to electing their republican.

    December 23, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  11. tate

    Wander why CNN polls are always the complete opposite of every other poll? Makes you wonder could this keaton guy get a job for the goverment he sounds dumb enough.

    December 23, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  12. Dennis, Millbrae, CA

    Not surprising since the only Republican policy I'm aware of is to say "no" to anything the Democrats propose.

    December 23, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  13. LBLFM

    Yes the Dem's policies are better than the elephant's. Anyone's would be. Most Republicans just criticize, denigrate, lie, offer negativism........nothing constructive.

    December 23, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  14. brite

    Liberman is a big slap in the face to the Independent voters and it shows, just look at those voting polls, they don't know where is the exit door.

    December 23, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  15. Dr. Norm

    What Republican policies? I didn't realize they had any, only that they opposed any change which benefits 95% of Americans.

    Maybe people are referring to the failed policies that got the U.S. in its current mess. Wake up America. This country has the most expensive – and the industrialized world's worst – healthcare system.

    December 23, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  16. sonny chapman

    The Party of No is not much in the eyes of most Americans still capable of rational thought.

    December 23, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  17. hereslauphinatcha

    Here's the thing...Democrats didn't waste time talking about taxing the American public because there were plans already in place after the new President took office. The Repubs, on the other hand, thought that their presidential/VP candidates were going to win, therefore not planning ahead for anything because they were going to continue the Bush policies.

    The Dems have the tools to implement their agenda...they just need to be a little more forthcoming, assertive.

    December 23, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  18. Republicans - Wrong about everything, Wrong for America (and GW Bush was the worst President ever)

    That's because Republican politicians only have 2 policies: get re-elected and make as much money for their rich donors as possible.

    December 23, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  19. GOP Orange Curtain, CA

    Yes until they something new to talk about it is the same old broken record with the Republicans. After all they presided over the greatest increase in spending ever along with the economic meltdown that almost destroyed the banking system.

    December 23, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  20. patNY

    In view of the fact Republicans, for the past year have had NO policies, except to say no to anything the dems proposed, the result is probably at least by default inasmuch as the Democrats were the only ones with any policies to begin with!

    December 23, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  21. I'm a Liberal-You got a problem with that?

    I suspected this all along. Unfortunately, the crazies (teabaggers, Bacmann, Palin, Joe Wilson, etc.) get all the press. Thoughtful, well meaning people don't make good news. Thankfully, they do vote.

    December 23, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  22. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    Unlike Rush I hope Obama fixes this mess im a republican but all I care about is results.

    December 23, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  23. Right Leaning Independent

    I will be voting straight Republican next season! I want pro business folks in Washington. Businesses create jobs and all the Dems seem to want to do is tax them to extinction and bad mouth them for trying to be profitable. Business men and women understand that you need a positive cash flow to stay in business whereas the Dems believe in spending money that they do not have and creating greater debt for our country!

    December 23, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  24. FLAGSHIP, NC

    Any person who thinks that the GOP's polices are best for the country is CRAZY!!!
    Look what they have done after 8 years in office.
    They have screwed the country over and over and over again.
    What is going on in the minds of the 46% is just unstable or overly stupid.
    Does a husband invite the guy who raped his wife over for seconds?
    Does a wife invite a child molester back to do her other children?
    What is wrong with you GOP supporters?

    December 23, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  25. Marc, Canada home of the best single payer healthcare money can buy

    When you consider that Democrats aim to serve all people and not just the wealthy, it's amazing that this poll isn't much higher in favor of the Democrats.

    December 23, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
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