December 23rd, 2009
09:08 PM ET
7 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. RealityKing

    Bernie Madoff style book keeping for healthcare while CNN and the rest of the progressive media sits on its thumbs. Middle America will not forget..

    December 23, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  2. Right Leaning Independent

    Dems have controlled congress for 3 years and bear responsibility for a lot of the problems of today especially not to mention the Clinton days and the CRA! While the Repubs may be the party of NO, the Dems are the party of YES which is sometimes worse than being the party of NO! The Dems are nothing but a bunch of big spending Liberals that have never had to balance a check book!

    December 23, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  3. Xavier

    Right Leaning Independent,
    Please, you are no independent, just a republican trying to pull the wool over peoples eyes. We had six years of republican rule, and what did it get us? The rich gor richer, and the poor and middle class got a swift kick in the rear. That's not rhetoric, its just facts.

    December 23, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. vwrtb

    Biggest myth.. Tax breaks to businesses create jobs... democrates haven't raised corporate taxes so where are the jobs idiots..m. Shut up dinosaur republicans..m. Your arguments are all used up..

    December 23, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  5. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but....

    I dunno, the republicans seem very competent to me. They were able to completely destroy the middle class in this country in only 30 years using trickle down economics and deregulation. That's quite an impressive accomplishment. Have a nice day!

    December 23, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  6. Harvey

    Libs are so attached to the "Republicans say NO" chant that they can't think for themselves. Libs must feel that saying YES to every bill and every expenditure that Congress dreams up is perfectly okay no matter the cost or the consequences. Stop & think: Is saying NO all the time worse than saying YES all the time?

    December 23, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  7. Right Leaning Independent

    Want a job – vote Repubican! Want a handout – vote Democrat! That is pretty much what it all boils down too...

    December 23, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  8. ted

    hooray for the democrats and our president Barack Obama. I for one am tired of the Grand Obstructionist Party, the Party of NO and the vile hatefilled rhetoric of steele, Palin, McCain, Dick Cheney, Liz Cheney, McConnell, Boner, Limbarf and all the rest of the rightwing neocon jerks.

    I am proud to be a democrat as we are the party that loves America and Americans and will bring it a healthcare plan that helps Americans.

    December 23, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  9. Bob

    Interesting poll. It is funny reading some comments here about he GOP not having any ideas. I wonder, is the issue that they have no ideas or like we are hearing, the Democrats locked the doors and are passing bills without any GOP input? I am inclined to believe the latter. So much for Obama uniting Washington and creating bi-partisanship.

    December 23, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  10. Dylan from MN

    Whenever Republicans thought they had a good idea, they thought it would best apply to everything all the time. Small government, strong military and fiscal discipline are only vague talking points that they don't seem to practice when they're in power anyway. Current problems cannot be solved with old ideas, quit resisting an ever changing world, practicing acceptance is a good start.

    December 23, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  11. Rickster

    "Republican candidates now have an eight-point lead over Democrats, their biggest lead of the year, in the latest edition of the Generic Congressional Ballot."

    December 23, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  12. Duck Fallas

    Neither party's politicians have the American peoples interest at heart- they are in it for their own personal advancement. ALL of them.

    December 23, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  13. mario ca.

    Finally the wake up call for the previous eight years is heard

    December 23, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  14. Al-NY,NY

    GOP.....what policies are those? Oh yeah, obstruct, offer nothing new, just critisize and regurgitate the same old drivel (tax cuts, deregulation,etc)

    December 23, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  15. jeff jackson, alabama

    I have as much faith in the legitimacy of
    a C.N.N. poll as I do the honesty of a
    politician. NUFF SAID !

    December 23, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  16. J. Rochester, NY

    What do you like better??

    Anything or NOTHING!

    I just hope that if the Democrats can get their collective heads together to finish Health Care, that EVERYONE remembers that the GOP did EVERYTHING to stop it.

    December 23, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  17. joe

    Spin all you want CNN with your "polls" (population probably made up of 65% Democrats, one of your usual tricks). the bottom line is in polls of polls people are against this health care "reform" bill by a wide margin and 2010 will be a huge shift to the Republicans. I know you'll do everything in your power as part of the propaganda branch of government.

    December 23, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  18. Robin

    Yes, people love Democratic policies where the government takes care of you and gives you handouts.

    Who wants to be a Republican? All they want to do is work and take care of themselves without the government telling them how.

    December 23, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  19. Tina

    After the 2008 election, i was hoping that Democrats will do things right, but for the last 1 year, they acted as distant and as corrupt politicians. Even worst divided this country even more. I never experienced this big dissention between conservatives and liberals - Obama promised "Change in Washington" - but it did change for the worst where policitians and Obama's administration constantly play the "bad guy, good guy", 'blame bush, hail obama", corruptions in health care negotiations - Where is ETHICAL AND HONESTY AND DIGNITITY in Democrats negiation with health care bill? Obama promised CSPAN negotiation on any important bill - but instead, he is coward to call out Pelosi and Reid to stop hiding in a closet as they write the bill in a cryptic way that no mere, simple Americans can understand. Reid and Pelosi and have to add Obama too - failed to fulfill their promise. Any man or woman WITHOUT regards of HIS/HER OWN WORDS - is not TRUSTWORTHY at all.

    December 23, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  20. The Irony of Religion

    The GOP has policies??????

    Where!?!?!?!

    December 23, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  21. Proud to be part of NO

    I love all the people who can't wait for their next hand out from the Nanny State President. Of course they like Democrats because all they do is promise everything to everyone and never deliver. So, with the straight party line vote on Health Care, who are you going to blame when a) your taxes go up, b) the HC you were promised is not there and c) our nations debt is twice the size. The party of NO has clean hands on this one.

    December 23, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  22. DianeR PCFL

    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.
    -------------------------------–
    How dare you insinuate that the only conservative are the ones who pay federal income taxes. Most of us hard-working middleclass Americans pay taxes at a much higher percentage of our incomes in taxes that the uber-rich and the conservidiots that snivel about a "nanny-state". Do yourself a favor, quit watching to Glenn Beck and regurgitating his assinine blathering . He's a demogogue as defined by H. L. Mencken: One who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to those he knows to be idiots.

    December 23, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  23. Cindy

    Of course people would like Democratic policies better than Repubilcan Policies. What have Republicans ever done for the common working man? I will answer that for you. N-O-T-H-I-N-G!!!
    Republicans don't do ANYTHING for the middle class or the average working stiff. The sooner people start understanding that, the better off this country will be. It's just so sad that so many working stiffs are fooled into believing that they benefit from any Repubilcan being in power. It's like beyond me why anyone that is working class, would think Republicans would do anything to beneifit them. They just simply don't.

    December 23, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  24. Cindy

    Oh, one more thing to add. If you are anti- intellectual, then you must be a REPUBLICAN.

    December 23, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  25. normajean

    I'm really puzzled about the attitudes of some of our society regarding President Obama. Here is a man that came into a governmental mess, poor health plans, unemployment running rampant,billions of dollars spent on a war we had no business being in, an opposing party with no intention from the start to help, in fact has fought in a major way to make progress close to impossible and all they can do it complain about what he hasn't accomplished. If per chance, the Repubs, do retake the leadership in the next election, (which, I don't expect to happen} you will get back the mess you left after the Bush administration. You have had years and years to put in a health care plan and did NOTHING. Now what?.

    December 23, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
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