December 23rd, 2009
09:08 PM ET
3 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. Mark in Utah

    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."

    And what do you call the second sentence of your first paragraph? I would call it vile and hate-filled considering you called people childish names......at least try to take a half step ABOVE the people you are ripping on. Goodness.

    December 23, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. normajean

    JOE.......Since when has CNN been part of the government?Get a life.

    December 23, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  3. Four and The Door

    Wait until Americans see the tax increases it will take to pay back this huge growth of the Federal Government by the Democrats. Wait until they understand how totally ineffective these bills and policies are for putting people back to work or fixing the economy. Wait until they see how awful and expensive health care becomes after the Democrat version of reform kicks in. Americans do not put up with these things that will affect them so directly. Wait, watch and understand what is being done to your way of life.

    December 23, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  4. katiec

    The fact that every republican in the House voted against Finance Reform, they tried to fillibuster against funding for our troops proves they have totally all integrity and honor.
    They are not representing the American people, putting personal gain, party first, big business and winning at any cost over the survival of us and our country.
    With their actions, they are well on their way to becoming our countries most dangerous domestic terrorists.

    December 23, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  5. phoenix86

    Dear Al in NY,

    Those Republican policies are those that grant the greatest possible freedoms AND resposibilities to individuals.

    I'm sorry that you reject both.

    December 23, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  6. lila

    The GOP today is no longer the party of Thomas Jefferson,the God father of conservatism

    Thomas Jefferson would support the public option for health care in the same manner he supported and wrote the bill for public education by placing a mandate on the masses to be educated. Jefferson also wanted to mandate higher education to those that could pass the entrance examinations and have State Universities provide it in the same manner as the first levels of public school. (Free), or rather, payed for by taxes. Now, sadly, the conservatives are against higher education because the more ignorant the masses are the easier they are to manipulate. (Which was Thomas Jefferson point and why he wanted as many people as possible educated to the highest level possible.) The GOP today would call him a liberal elitist today, no doubt.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

    Thomas Jefferson made the case that the masses needed to know how to read, write and do arithmetic for the sake of their liberty.
    Health care very much is directly related to Life, which is an unalienable Right in the supreme law of our land.

    December 23, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  7. Perusing-through

    NO SURPRISE :-)

    When Republican GOP policies are "NO" and "OBSTRUCTIONS", while keeping their elephant feet on the necks of middle-class Americans is considered a sport; than it is no surprise voters have sided with Democrats for solutions to the disaster Republicans created over the previous 8-years.

    December 23, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  8. Ray Fisher

    Parties make no difference since the lobby controls everything, farewell American voter we have been nullified!!!

    December 23, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  9. Sadie

    Obama can try all he wants to unite this country but as long as the Republicans continue to be the Party of NO and have the attitude that they want Obama to FAIL then the democrats need to push the GOP out of the loop and do what they have to do to pass their agendas and their BILLS........to hell with the Republicans.......when it comes to the next election we will all remember the roadblocks and lies these republicans have tried to push.......so long and good bye GOP

    December 23, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  10. Perusing-through

    LET THE RECORD SHOW. . . .

    . . . in November 2010 when American citizens go to the polls, that the Republican GOP did all it could with money and help from its “Lobbyist Puppet Masters” in the health insurance industry, to keep affordable health coverage out of the hands of middle-class Americans.

    December 23, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  11. James

    Both parties leave plenty to be desired and I often get outraged over the Dems' inability to get things done, but I've reached the conclusion that you have to be a halfwit to like and support the Republican Party. The country will not remain a great country if we don't change, this is clear, and the Republicans do everything they can to resist change. At least the Democrats are trying SOMETHING.

    Also, the leaders of the Republican party are disgustingly cynical. Their best tact for leading their sheep is to flat out lie. Not only does the truth mean nothing to them, but the truth is actually shunned by the Republicans. It gets in their way. Death panels. Obama isn't an American. The health care bill is doing away with Medicare. John Kerry didn't serve his country honorably in the Vietnam War. It goes on and on and on. If America collapses into 3rd World status, it will be because too many American listened to the Republican leaders. If there is anything anti-American going on in this country right now it is the GOP and I just hope enough Americans come to recognize this before it's too late.

    December 23, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  12. Anthony

    I know for a fact that everyone who signs into a contract, has the details of that said contract inorder before Signing it !!!!!!!

    How can the Dems think that they should pass a Health care package without knowing whats in it

    Oh don't worry will just fill in the blanks latter (You got to be kidding!!!)

    Don't let the unfinnished bill pass before it's written !!!!

    December 23, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  13. ggb

    This is one poll I'd believe. The 51% who favor the democrats are those who receive or believe they should the entitlements. They also are led to believe by the democratic party that they are entitled to what anyone else has. They want it all without working longer hours or getting an education or trade. Our government was not founded to provide for the people. You take the responsibility to provide for yourself. That is what has been lost in this country. The saddest part of all....those who support the big spending of this administration have no business ability to understamd the ramifications!

    December 23, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  14. Beyond Absurd

    The people of this country are not buying into the GOP's status quo fear and hate mongering and its morally corrupt, self-serving tactics . At least the Democrats are trying to do something and the GOP had better get on board or get out of the way. The 2010 elections could be the swan song of what was once a venerable and honorable party.

    December 23, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  15. lovable liberal

    If people were paying attention, the margin would be much greater. Republican politics is bad for America and for the vast majority of Americans.

    December 23, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  16. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    Exactly what is the difference? Both of the major parties have done nothing since the loss of freedom back in 1913, (thank-you Woodrow Wilson for the Federal Reserve Bank) but to expand the size of the federal government, thus continuing to increase the taxes we need to pay. The moneys Americans earn are not profits, but rather compensation for their labors and creativity.

    December 23, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  17. Okey Moronu

    What I will realy like to see is the criteria for the sample.
    I personnaly do not know anybody that has been polled for these surveys. How do I know they or any of them represent my views?

    December 23, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  18. russell

    Of course the republicans had ideas , and that idea was to totally go against any and all legislation that was put out , now some blame democrats for shutting out the republicans on this healthcare deal , but when everyone knows that republicans are gonna derail the process then the democrats did the right thing by shutting them out , why would you allow a group to participate in any debate if they made their intentions clear that they want trhis process and the president to fail . A lot of Americans have a lot of nerve to critizie the democrats when it is your party who's working against the best interest of the people ! ENOUGH SAID !

    December 23, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  19. Beverly in NC

    Of course Americans trust Democrats more than Republicans!

    Democrats are the Party of the People who have brought ALL the progressive programs that we depend on today while Republicans have always fought against them. Democrats brought us Social Security, Medicare, Voting Rights, Civil Rights, Equal pay for Women, the Minimum Wage, 40 hour work weeks, No child labor and on and on.

    Republicans have NO policies, NO solutions, and only want America to fail. All they care about is themselves and their other rich white buddies, the large corporations who abuse their workers, and the banking and insurance companies who have hurt and destroyed so many American lives. Republicans don't want ANY healthcare reform.

    For all you people who have been paying attention, Republicans WERE invited to participate in creating the healthcare bill but they refused. They didn't even show up for meetings they were invited to attend. Why? Because theur votes had already been bought by the insurance companies to the tune of millions of dollars per Republican.

    Americans should remember that the Democrats worked HARD all year to pass legislation to restore our country the Republicans destroyed. Despite all the Republicans lies, hate speech, fear-mongering, and nasty personal attacks – the Democrats KEPT WORKING and we now about to have healthcare for ALL than just for the rich.

    Republicans have done NOTHING this entire year but attack our President and our Government with treasonous and horribly racist and disrespectful tactics. They care NOTHING about the PEOPLE of our great country.

    Remember that when November comes around. Republicans will get nastier and tell more lies than ever this year to try to divert attention away from their do-nothing, call for failure for American tactics. Remember the Democrats who have stood strong for YOU and for never stopping to bring help to you!

    The more Democrats we get in November, the more laws that favor the People (not greedy corporations, banks, and insurance) will follow.

    Thank you President Obama and the Democrats for working to restore our country, making us safer through smart diplomacy, and moral, compassionate, and true values to bring back jobs, security, higher wages, new industries, a better and cleaner environment, and every bit of it has been for ALL Americans. Democrats believe in ALL of us – not just the rich, white, wealthy elitists.

    December 23, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  20. Thanks for the perspective

    Thanks for the long-term perspective cnn.

    Yes, the Dems bicker and are inefficient, but at the end of the day they represent the majority of the people, which does not want to go back o pre-2008. Maybe the GOPs can't see it because they live in an echo chamber that tells them only what they want to hear. They've spent the last year railing about Acorn and media bias instead of soul-searching about the undeniable fact that their party is shrinking. I don't think they're going to gain much in 2010.

    December 23, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  21. bobby

    Mr Obama came into office promising to get rid of lobbyists on the hill..what a laugh he has failed miserably on this promise if nothing it has got worse. It is totally obscene how money can buy or control regulations. All this money wasted on such power grabs against the American people. Can no one reform this system..MR OBAMA ARE YOU LISTENING!!!!!!!????????

    December 23, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  22. Greg in MO

    I, like most who attempt to better themselves, would take nothing at my own hands as opposed to anything provided by others. I believe you just summed up the difference between a conservative and a liberal.
    Liberals are willing to allow the government to take from one and give to those who stand at the officials feet with hands open hoping to grab whatever the official decides to give.
    Reaching for whatever Washington decides to toss down is not liberty. Learning to provide for yourself and working diligently to the point to where you can provide for others – that's freedom.
    Your silly beliefs that conservatives are uneducated and close-minded bible thumpers prove how blinded you are by the liberal movement and how your pathetic, malleable minds are easily manipulated into the Teddy Ruxpins of the liberal movement. That is not the freedom that the Founding Fathers intended.

    December 23, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  23. B

    What we have had in healthcare is unsustainable, so this new legislation is a step in the right direction! No thanks to the- do nothing -Republicans...

    December 23, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  24. Dean in Florida

    The average IQ of U.S. citizens is 98...of course most people side with Democratic policies.

    December 23, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  25. K

    I don't know if many people should be schocked by this revelation, most normal clear practical thinking people seem to be Democrat or Independent in nature......

    When you have a Political Party that supports "Big Business" and fights against "Regular People", well you get results from Polls like this....

    Also the Republican party is a party that embraces the concept of "white supremacy", this is one of the big reasons they're a dying breed.....

    If you also take into account, everything they do or say, is somehow connected to the next election cycle, not really for the people that vote them into office......

    December 23, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
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