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
AWWW do I hear more Republican crying??
The only poll that will matter is the one next November ...
A landslide victory for Conservatives is coming.
If 53% of those polled say the sky is green, what color is the sky?
Republicans have policies? I thought they were just selfish nihilists.
People supporting republicans........HA! That's a laugh! People learned the mistake a long time ago what happens when you have a republican controlled house and senate. Don't remember , here's a refreshment, a republican house denied scientists research because of ethics, we should be ahead of the curve when it come to cancer and neuorlogical research. but the party of NO say we can't use stem cells or other research because it destroys life. We also had a republican president as well who believed that this war was the right thing. Yeah....sending young people to die for oil is the right thing, yeah thats right you republican christians, those soldiers died for nothing!. The party of NO also considers themsleves christians and believers of God. Denying stem cell research to help those sick with Parkinson's and MS, letting a woman carry a child she doesn't want because GOD says so, yeah that real Chrsitian!
Just remember people if you vote Republican in the next election, it will be Deja vu Bush all over again. At least the Democrats are trying to fix things!
Where did you do the poll? They White House, because last time I checked Obama's disapproval index as far as Rasmussen was concerned is at -21%, which doesn't seem like an endorsement of the democrat policies, of tax, spend, more taxs, more spending and don't forget total control of our lives and freedoms through drachonian regulations.
I can't believe 46% of the people you surveyed thoght the GOP would take us in the wrong direction. Seems a little high to me.Maybe it's just the folks who could afford to home when you called.
hmmm, interesting to note, all these people in favor of the DEMS, to they understand that the DEMs are in favor of running your entire life? the DEMS are in favor of government over everything, and this great new health care bill will most likely help bankrupt america. China has already said that they will not give any more money to america in loans. Hmmm, so these are the people voting for the DEMS are those seemingly in favor of the death of america. Way to go, man americans are so smart!!!!!
Thats because, all the Republicans are offering is more of the same. Its the "more of the same" thats the whole problem.
"I believe more educated Americans believe in democratic policies. The Sarah Palins of the world are poorly educated bible thumpers."
Only the ones who do not bother to balance their check books. What are we up to? 4-5 trillion in the first year? Don't worry libs, money grows on trees.
Bible thumpers, huh? What was the name of Obama's rev again? The one who said "GD America" in his services? Now THAT's religion!
The Democrats are trying to do something for the people. All the Republicans can do is say "nay" without coming up with suggestions. The public realizes this.
The only polls that matter will take place next November. I believe in polls but want to see the methodology. This poll oversampled African Americans, who greatly contribute to the low numbers, but there was no mention of how the results were weighted. We will see next November, unfortunately, my senators are not up for re-election.
So all the millions of dollars sent to TeaBagging, Palin, Rush, Beck's causes: all wasted? Evidently, as the poll numbers have not changed since August. Wonder how they'll spin this? Lieberman will not get re-elected, and the expected Republican sweep for next November looks iffy too. So sorry, Republicans. Why not spend your money (since you all have such deep pockets) working "for good." There's a novel idea.
Duh! Was there any doubt? Oh yea, those rethuglicans who think they know the future and cry about "Obama is not hearing our cries!" Talk about delusional.
GOP policies will keep this country in the past; we need to move forward, because if not, the world WILL surpass us. GOP places emphasis on the wrong issues for the wrong reasons. They tackle issues in order to divide America.
What policies, ideas or solutions do the republicans have? Oh yes – NOTHING.
43% of Americans think Republicans are good for something? No, that's scary.
The Republicans are going to have a rude awakening come 2010 and 2012 when the lose yet again.
We have had enough of the fear/hate/obstructionism they have done on every issue before them.
We may not like all the solutions the Democrats have proposed but they are trying to get us out of the messes that Bush and the Republicans got us into.
So people if you want solutions then vote either for a true Democrat or Independent in 2010 and 2012. Let the Republicans know no more fear/hate/obstructionism. Do for the people.
I believe in CNN legitimacy pool based on my experience with the 2008 election.
Sorry republicans if you don't like it but you should accept the truth. Please don t hate. It won't fix the problem!!
Republicans don't have any policies. They seem to believe their only purpose is to obstruct the progress of this country for their own personal benefit.
To the right leaning independent....Huh under last years of old King George da 2nd we shipped out more jobs due to his free trade agreements then any time in the history of this great nation.kinda kills that vote for a Repulican for jobs thing eh?
Wait till these majority of people have start paying for all these so called good ideas in taxes.
Harvey wrote: "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?"
Actually, too many Democrats sadly said "Yes" to a variety of Bush bills - war in Iraq, tax cuts, No Child Left Behind, etc. At least, Democrats tried to work with the Republican Administration. Republicans have made the decision to just be obstructionists because they believe that this will insure their return to power and the defeat of Obama in 2012. The Republicans could care less about working with the Democrats. If you look at Obama's attempts to not be partisan compared with Bush's, it's "nolo contendere" time.
Without a doubt, the majority of the American people support Democratic policies. But they are the silent ones, the minority are the ones that are more vocal. Not that anybody is listening but they are still the noisiest of the bunch.
of course the democrats have better policies than the republicans because the democrats are for the people they know the situation but the republicans there for big businesses and oil companies they don,t know the situation so there,s really no suprise in that oh and i think that 2010 might be a grusome year for the republicans instead of being a comeback now that we know whose policies are favored