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. right direction

    If those people think Republican take them to the right direction. Asked them for the last 8 years.

    December 23, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. diridi

    they are better if they pass the health care with public option....ok...

    December 23, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  3. Robin in Tampa, FL

    Of course people don't trust the Republicans on the issue of healthcare. They have a long history of trying to privatize Social Security, and Medicare. Do you think they want to improve anything with our current healthcare system? Heck no! Infact I'm surprised that they aren't cheering in the street about the personal mandate the government is about to impose on use to buy private insurance. This bill will be lining these guy's pockets.

    December 23, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  4. Donkey Party

    Republicans have policies?

    December 23, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  5. right direction

    If those people think Republican take them to the right direction. Asked themself for the last 8 years.

    December 23, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  6. Dave

    Even if democrats policies are good, democrats politics is very bad!

    December 23, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  7. vic nashville , Tn

    Is republicans have any policies ? No only police they have say NO

    When Obama become president every one know he will bring health care reform last presidential election both candidates talk about health care reform till today republicans they don’t have alternate plan

    If republicans think they can capitalize current situation sorry

    December 23, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  8. Carmelle

    We need Jobs, Financial reform, and Green Tech (jobs, research, and production)

    Do you think the repubs will give us ANY of that with Obama as president? They want him to fail remember?

    Please remember that the POTUS is not running in 2010, he's here until 2012 at least, so if you want to see a non-functional government on any thing but war, leave Obama for 2 yrs with a Congress with a republican majority.

    VOTE PROGRESSIVES!

    December 23, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  9. S M R

    Republican Policies stink unless you are Rich. The middle class takes a beating under Republican rule. Trickle-down economics HASN'T WORKED and WILL NEVER WORK. The rule of thumb for a Republican: Set policies in place to make the Rich, (RICHER) and hope to eliminate the middle class.

    December 23, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  10. Wanda

    Go ahead elect all those "repugs" in 2010 – if you can't see thru their phony "shlick" ways then shame on you - they are just unhappy because they are getting taxed on their tans!! It's those good looks that get all you people wanting to get those "repugs" back in office and those awesome tans they tout! I think it is hilarious that they have actually had to "work" this year - not sit on their duffs like the last 8 – talk about a "do-nothing" bunch of lazy so and so's.............

    December 23, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  11. Angela

    does the word DUH come to mind?

    December 23, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  12. John, Chicago

    The Republicans have a policy? Um I for one would love to hear it
    unless your talking about that old policy tax cuts for the rich and trickledown economics yeah that worked well.

    December 23, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  13. People's Voice

    I'll take the Dem program any day rather than the "Don't get sick, and if you do, die quickly" plan of the Repugs.

    December 23, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  14. Vets4Obama

    Whether you like it or not, GOP pundants who indicate it will be a blood bath in 2010, you are woefully naive in assuming such.

    If Healthcare Reform is passed, Iraq is winding down and Afghanistan is ramping up, and the economy is rebounding, then by ALL accounts, President Barrack Hussein Obama will have met his campaign promises, ALLLLLLL OFFFFF THEMMMMMM! Not to mention, in the process he pissed off both Liberals AND Conservatives.

    This is FARRR from being in the GOP advantage. GOP only has now, Democrats have time. My money is still on at MOST a minor scab rather then the ridiculous claims of a BLOODBATH, in 2010 for the democrats.

    PS: And Obama, mark my words, WILL be our president until 2016!

    December 23, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  15. Cindy

    The GOP are very disengenuous trying to pin favors and sweetheart deals in the Healthcare plan to the Dems only. They do the same thing, except their deals only benefit themselves and their rich croanies. They care nothing about the people who suffer without insurance. Their whole "killing grandma" scare tactics is fake empathy for common people.

    December 23, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  16. Moderate Democrat

    Bob December 23rd, 2009 12:40 pm ET

    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.
    -------------------------
    Do a google on "Republicans boycott". You will find out quite fast exactly how closed those doors have been. The republicans could have attended MANY of them, they simply refuse to ever work.

    December 23, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  17. Jay, Illinois

    I guess the 46% who think the Dems policies are wrong need to obtain more than an elementary school education.

    Where did 6 years of Republican control of all three branches get us?

    A country involved in 2 wars which has caused our national debt to skyrocket and not to mention the 4000+ soldiers who would still be alive today.

    A country that almost collapsed due to failed economic regulation.

    The world practically hating us. (Too bad most people don't get to hear the coverage of the US in other countries). An no it's not because they hate our liberty/freedom that they don't like us.

    Yeah let's try continuing that?

    These 46% don't know that only the rich Republicans would have been able to withstand the utter failure their policies would have led to.

    But I guess there are still a large number of stupid people around.

    December 23, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  18. EDR

    Dems=Libs=Corruption.

    Dems keep promising to help the poor, and the poor keep believing them. This, despite the fact that the most impoverished areas of the country are under dem control. Just look at the slums of Chicago and the democrat slumlords who've done nothing to clean them up. Broken promises, failed policies, and the hopeless, helpless followers who cannot see that their pied piper is leading them down the road to decay and despair.

    "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.”

    December 23, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  19. nomorepoliticsplease

    right leaning independent: yes, businesses create jobs, but how do those jobs do the American people any good, when the businesses, in the course of trying to be profitable, decide to save a dime by shipping the jobs overseas where the cheap labor is? And then, as if it were not bad enough that all of the jobs are gone, as consumers, we are forced to buy all of this CRAP that is manufactured overseas, because there is nothing left to purchase that was actually manufactured here!!!! we need to do something about providing an incentive for companies to bring the jobs BACK, or penalize them for using overseas labor.

    December 23, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  20. A. Smith, Oregon

    The past 8 years was absolutely horrific for America. The Republican party destroyed America at home and abroad. It will take many years of Democratic domination to rebuild America's economy, respect and prosperity to climb out of the abyss that Bush-Cheney sank America into.

    The recent ball busting obstructions by the Republican lawmakers over the Health Care bill and Cap and trade legislation prove to the world how deep in Big Pharma, Big Insurance Providers and Big Oil's pockets the Republican Party has crawled.

    America is tired of fighting Oil Wars overseas for the Republican lawmakers puppet masters, it is time to sever the ties of Big Oil's bondage with the American nation. Obama is beginning to rebuild America's ancient electrical grid that is a needed step to phase out Big Oil's toxic spewing vehicles and switch over to electric vehicles.

    December 23, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. moderate voter from FL

    I think what's upsetting to most conservatives is that your part has been found out. You guys are all about keeping the rich richer and the poor poorer...it's about the time the playing field was leveled!
    And the only great idea the GOP has offered is off-shore drilling but since the Poster Boy Bush has left office no one is singing that song anymore!

    December 23, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  22. mjm

    "They were able to completely destroy the middle class in this country in only 30 years using trickle down economics and deregulation."

    Randolph Carter.... you are going to love trickle down taxes.

    Let me know how that works for you....non-expert.

    December 23, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  23. Tim

    I have a question for Republicans. How come the economy always falls apart when they are in office? I have personally made more money when Democrats were in the white house.

    Remember those horrible Clinton years when we all moved up the financial ladder? Compare it to the downward Bush years (both Dad and and kid) when we all moved down the ladder.

    Republican business policies do not work. if they did, we'd all be in better shape. Republicans destroy the economy and Democrats repair it. Unfortunately repairs cost money. If the Republicans would stop destroying everything, we could all save money by not having to make so many repairs.

    December 23, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  24. Confused

    Joe, do you have any polls that show people don't want health reform?
    Because...polls consistently show that people DO.
    There is a reason there is a majority of Dems in office.
    There are more people who agree with them in the country.

    December 23, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  25. Bedtime 4 Bonzo..........

    It's really simple. If you tax and spend compared to tax cut and spend........the tax cut and spend creates a higher deficit for our Nation. And since Republicans are for the rich.....deficit reduction starts at the bottom. And since there are more people on the botttom than the top who can vote....the top will voted out......case closed.

    December 23, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
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