December 23rd, 2009
09:08 PM ET
9 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. Hope to Change

    They know they'll lose their power after 2010 that's why they hurry up and vote this health care in to the law now.

    December 23, 2009 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  2. Rob Johnson

    The one mystery factor is turnout. What percent of the people who support the Democratic agenda will actually show up to vote in 2010? I know the conservatives are fighting mad, so you can expect a high percentage of them to turn out in the next election.

    According to this poll, which says there are 51% who support the Democrats and 42% who support the GOP, we come up with the following equation.

    If GOP turnout exceeds Democratic turnout by a factor of 51/42 or greater, about 1.214, then they can win, even if this poll is right.

    December 23, 2009 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  3. badcyclist

    One quick question for the conservatives here: where were you when Bush was running up massive deficits for eight years?

    At least these deficits have an economic purpose: governments need to spend money when times are tough, and the money spent on health care is going to help the helpless (plus, unfortunately, lining the pockets of insurance companies– and if THAT is your gripe, I'm with you).

    Bush's deficits was money dumped down the rabbit hole in Iraq, and the rest went to line the pockets of people like Cheney's pals at Haliburton.

    December 23, 2009 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  4. u2canfail

    Let's see, the Dem want health coverage for all, aforable, The Dem's brought us Medicare, health care for the elderly, Civil Rights. Those things for people.

    The GOP wants insurance companies, Huge spending Bush years, Reagonomics or trickle to the CEO monetary policy, Ms. Sarah the giant thinker, no immigration reform. Oh- and McCarthy and the John Birch Society. Those things for the exclusive few.

    What did the poll say?

    December 23, 2009 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  5. Lilarose in Bandon, OR

    46 percent say these policies will take the country in the "wrong direction."

    Hmmmm

    I thought that is the way we were headed eight years ago. I have seen alot of progress this past year.

    December 23, 2009 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  6. Hope to Change

    Yeah CNN that's because you only polls Democrats only. Polls Republicans and see if you get any % at all.

    December 23, 2009 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  7. Chris

    CNN to the rescue for their liberal democrats. CNN, you've got to be kidding me. Every poll except this one, has the dems taking a beating, and likely going to loose power in 2010.
    Obama is already worse than Jimmy Carter, and you ironically have a poll that shows the Dems policies better the Republicans?!?!
    Yea right!

    December 23, 2009 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Yet again CNN misleads people with the title. The title states Lieberman directly and suggests he is in trouble, but that is no where in the story.... Typical CNN sabotaging some one with their head line and the story does not apply

    December 23, 2009 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  9. worriedmom

    Oh please CNN, You Lie. The majority of the people do not like the policies of the Democrats or the Republicans. Are you hoping that you will become MSNBC, obama's favorite media spin.
    democrats are ruining this country. Aint it like a democrat to spend someone else's money but not their own!!

    December 23, 2009 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  10. Nutsy Pelosi

    From the poll :

    Interviews with 1,160 adult Americans, including an oversample
    of African-Americans, conducted by telephone by Opinion
    Research Corporation on December 16-20, 2009.

    Gee, why would you need to "OVERSAMPLE" African-Americans for a so-called unbiased poll? Maybe because they blindly vote Democratic 90% and support Obama 90% just like CNN?

    December 23, 2009 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  11. BillybobTIREDOFFstoopidrethuglicans!

    No kidding? Of course. The rethuglicans do everything they can to HURT people and the Democrats do everything they can to HELP people. It is really that simple.

    December 23, 2009 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  12. Ra

    It's called politics, dosn't matter which party, they live the good life, and us pee on's try to live on the scraps they throw us. Good Luck

    December 23, 2009 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  13. Dennis

    Poll results don't surprise me, given the fact that CNN is merely a mouthpiece for the Democratic party and most probably formatted the poll so that any response would give give the Dems a positive result. And don't tell me this doesn't happen. I know better.

    December 23, 2009 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  14. Bmac

    I am sick of people talking about the "evils" of national medicine. Listen, I am Canadian, conservative, and pro business. However, almost all of the horror stories you hear are blown up out of proportion. I have had 3 shoulder surgeries in 4 year (no charge) and a small 3-8 month wait for all of them ( MRI's included – no charge). My Uncle had open heart surgery one day after finding an issue. This is extreme stuff. Just knowing that ANYONE can go to a doctor and not expect a huge bill and everyone has the right to be treated by a physician without going broke is the right thing to do (and saves a tax payer to continue to pay taxes). Wake up and follow the money....who stands to lose/gain....whom is recieveing money from what special interest, etc. I am not american so am looking at this from an objective point of view.

    December 23, 2009 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  15. conner blevins

    If Fox ran the same poll, it would be in favor of Republicans. One must consider the source of the poll and the respondents.

    December 23, 2009 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  16. vrytix

    So The Republican Party is in bed with Big Pharma?

    Explain then why Obama agreed on a deal with Big Pharma that was so important to maintain that Senate Democrats rejected a bipartsan-sponsored amendment to permit reimporting prescription drugs

    Doing so would have made them cheaper for everyone, something other industrialized countries have done for quite a while..

    Oh, and guess who claimed as a Presidential candidate that he would see that the law was changed to permit reimporting prescription drugs?

    That's right. Barrack Obama. Google it. This is one of those inconvenient facts that Democrats or their supporters prefer to ignore.

    December 23, 2009 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  17. TDS

    It's time for Lieberman to retire. He is out of touch with the common man as he is closely working with the corporate lobbyists. People are beginning to see that he is in the senate for himself.

    December 23, 2009 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  18. Todd

    if i was a senator i would vote like my life depended on it! HAVE A NICE DAY!

    December 23, 2009 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  19. Tony In Largo

    When Bill Clinton went into office there was a 6 Trillion $ Deficit. When he left office, he left a 2Trillion $ Surplus.

    George Bush turned that into a 9 Trillion $ Deficit.!!!!!

    Obama will turn todays deficit into a surplus again.

    What we ought not repeat is to vote into office another Republican who will say "balance the budget" but will, given the chance, let his crony lobyists and big interests rob us all of the money put into IRAs, Pension Funds, and Bank Savings Accounts!!!!

    It's interesting that people who struggle from paycheck to paycheck still need to understand that this administration is working for them and it behooves them to support it.

    December 23, 2009 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  20. Joe

    10% unemployment, record defeceits, socialized health care, cap and trade, card check, stimulus spending, backroom dealing, Reid, Pelosi
    etc... sure, America likes the Dems better, right

    December 23, 2009 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  21. izzyholt

    Who took the poll and who did you call, all Democrats? Amen to Greg in MO.

    December 23, 2009 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  22. Bob

    This poll is flawed and should be taken with a pinch of salt. When there's an over-representation of blacks (who voted over 95% for Obama – an incredible stat in itself) then this stat is not surprising. I'm a moderate Democrat but I'm surprised that fellow Democrats aren't really looking at the costs of the health care bill. More taxes for EVERYONE is the only way – and it'll fall on the middle and lower class to pay for it.

    December 23, 2009 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  23. Michael from Ventura

    RepubliCANT policies clearly don't work- that's why we're in this mess today. And I might add, when the number one item on your agenda is to see that the President fails, it's time to look inward. Country First indeed!

    December 24, 2009 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  24. Leo in Ca

    I am a Dem but I have to admit that what this party is doing is eventually going to hurt us more than help us. As many have said on here already, who is going to pay for all these great ideas? We have to do something, but more spending now with the attitude we'll pay for it down the line is not the answer.

    December 24, 2009 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  25. Carrera911s

    LIEberman is a dog and a sell out!

    December 24, 2009 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12