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. Joshua College Station Texas

    A year has passed, political battles have been fought, but the reality remains the same: the core tenets of GOP policy are not in alignment with what the majority of Americans want and believe. Bush and Cheney may be gone, but the legacy of the conservative movement is still with us. They may have new flagbearers (Steele, Boehner, McConnell, etc.), and have had all kinds of internal struggles, but in the end their platform hasn't changed. As the values of Americans also haven't changed, the fate of the Republican party remains the same–they will continue to be unpopular, despite their efforts to tear down the Democrats.

    While Democrat politicians are just as bankrupt and corrupt as those of Republicans, at least their policies are more aligned with those of average Americans. And that is why they have the support of the people.

    Republicans talked of change, but in the end they could not. It has simply not been possible to be conservative and progressive at the same time. It should have been easily seen, as by definition such is oxymoronic.

    If Republicans are willing to REALLY change in order to be more popular, they might consider the following ideas:

    -Returning to their position of limited government by pushing for term limits for members of Congress
    -Re-embracing the concept of upholding the Constitution in governance and legislation by not tolerating pork in legislation and making it illegal
    -Re-embracing the concept of upholding the Constitution in governance and legislation by de-gerrymandering districts
    -Aligning their position of limited government with the contrary position of a bloated and overactive military; take a more 'conservative' stance that is based on building up the domestic security rather than actively seeking to suppress movements abroad (abandon the Bush doctrine, which violates the sovereignty of other nations)
    -Embrace the foreign policy of multilateralism (the 'Obama doctrine')
    -Embracing the environmental movement and pushing for sponsorship of the growth of the green industry under the doctrine of supporting business growth (steal it from Democrats, make it yours!)
    -Enforce immigration law

    If you do these things, you will win the support of the American people away from Democrats.

    December 23, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  2. Cal

    No matter what the party-let the legislative bodies develop the health plan. When it is all settled, IS THERE ANY POWER ON EARTH THAT CAN MAKE IT BE THE LAWMAKERS ONLY HEALTH PLAN?

    December 23, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  3. Keith in Austin

    Stop Blaming Bush! Liberals have controlled the Congress for over 3 years!

    Stop referring to the G0P as only for the rich!

    Stop calling Republicans the party of no but the party that believes in NO new taxes, NO to big government, NO to deficit spending and NO to Obozo's weakness, incompetence and love affair with Karl Marx's Socialism!!!!

    December 23, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  4. j

    Yes, I would agree that the Democrats do a better job of supporting the middle class and the economy tends to do better under a Democratic presidency (check the statistics). I overwhelmingly prefer the progressive viewpoint over the conservative.

    December 23, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  5. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but...

    "Just look at the slums of Chicago and the democrat slumlords who've done nothing to clean them up."

    Having had a large amount of experience with slumlords (including some in Chicago), I can assure you that they are almost all republicans. I have seen a couple of exceptions. But you wouldn't know that because you live in a nice comfy suburb and never have to rub shoulders with the "Oprah watching welfare queens" you are so fond of trotting out. Have a nice day!

    December 23, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  6. shmeckell

    I can’t understand how this is a fair pole. The republican ideas get tossed to the ground before they get to be debated, so how is it even possible for the majority of the people to know what those ideas are.

    With that being said, the republicans promised us a health bill a few weeks ago which I have not yet seen, so at the same time they bring much of the disapproval on themselves. I understand they had over 40 smaller bills thrown out by the democrats before they got debated this year, but that is beside the point. If you have the media’s attention and you promise a bill, all you had to do was write the bill and it would have made it into the media spot light. Even if it was a subpar bill at least some of your better ideas would have made the spotlight and the public would have had the opportunity to force some of those ideas on the opposition.

    December 23, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  7. jer

    lets wait until the 2010 elections and see if this poll is real or not.

    December 23, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  8. Dan, TX

    The republican party has been hijacked by truly bizarre people. When the republican party returns to its senses it will have more support.

    The republican party is the party of SPEND, SPEND, SPEND, CHARGE IT! Hey, better yet, we'll cut taxes more!!!!

    Democrats spend and tax to pay for it. The Dem policy is vastly superior to the republican for the future of the country.

    December 23, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  9. truth Sayer

    Polls....no one should believe them because the opposite is true in another poll or website. Decide for yourself.

    December 23, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  10. The Irony of Religion

    Hey Keith in Austin,

    So Republicans said "no" to deficit spending, big government, etc when they controlled Congress and the Presidency a few years back?

    Let me ask you did the Republicans do anything for this country besides obligating us to destroy/re-build Iraq with borrowed money from China?

    Oh yea, I forgot you and the rest of you clown Republicans just recently "woke up" from that 8 year nap you took, or were you just turning the other cheek and pretending it wasn't your party destroying America?

    December 23, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  11. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Republican policies consist of something like the following:

    Restrict abortion
    Cut Taxes no matter how much the government needs the money
    Reduce regulations regardless of why they are there
    Find ways to help businesses and hurt the consumer

    If there is something of substance, let me know!

    December 23, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  12. Ra

    We have lived the GOP life style and look where it got us, it's time for a change, and we are headed in the right direction.

    December 23, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  13. The Irony of Religion

    Anyone who thinks Republican policies take us in the right direction was either born on Jan 20th, 2009 or is a terrorist bent on taking us into another war, borrowing more money from China, and cutting taxes for health insurance companies and big corporations that ship jobs overseas.

    Yup, let's do THAT again!

    December 23, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  14. RichP the Pocono's

    Polling college students again are we, lets see what happens when they graduate.
    Meanwhile I see no changes in federal laws by either house to make the US competitive with other nations in an effort to keep and draw business here. So far 14 other countries have dropped corporate and other taxes from the 30% and higher brackets to 14%, Ireland being one and they dropped their normal unemployment quite a bit as a result as more and more companies move there.

    December 23, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  15. borisg

    FACT. 87% of the current federal deficit was committed by Republicans. Period. Paragraph. End. As Senator Franken so wisely pointed out, we are not entitled to our our personalized "made up" facts.

    December 23, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  16. The Irony of Religion

    So apparently to Republicans up until Jan 20th, 2009 we were headed in the right direction?

    Sure, if the directions lead you to hell.

    December 23, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  17. Vic of New York

    Election YEAR is COMING...

    Get Washington working for the People! Vote out the Repugnicans and get rid of Uncle Tom Democrats!!!

    Democrats.... Out most powerful weapon is our vote. USE IT!!!

    December 23, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  18. MT

    Any of you Liberals have 401k, 457 or investments in Big Business, Big Oil, Big Banks, Goldman Sachs, AIG, etc.. does your bank?

    So your earnings from COMPANIES RUN BY REPUBLICAN CEO's
    are good for your portfolio but not for your politics?

    Liberals never seem to want to put their money where their mouth is (but they get all warm a fuzzy supporting handouts with everyone else's money)

    If you think you don't have investments in any of the above, you should check on what your "growth or managed fund" invests in, check with your Big Bank because I know that they've invested your money in COMPANIES RUN BY REPUBLICAN CEO's

    All you Liberals should pull your investments in these evil companies and put it under your mattress (my mistake your futon).

    I'll keep my investments with organizations with a positive earnings statement and you can invest in the next big Liberal hand out.

    December 23, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  19. Right Leaning Independent

    To all those providing comebacks to my posts. Look, folks forced many businesses to go overseas by supporting Wal Mart and K Mart and other cheap import oriented retailers. Many of you are guilty of supporting those companies so do not act holier than thou! And stop the last 8 years argument. I am in a business that has seen many folks go overseas(furniture industry). We adapted and prospered as a supplier to domestic furniture manufacturers. Many companies we work with are moving back some of their Asian production. My business was very good for 7 or the 8 years Bush was in office! Year 8 slowed down due to the financial meltdown which I would argue was started by Clinton passing the CRA and the deregulation that took place under him! In 2003 Repubs met with Barney Frank, Maxine Waters and the Federal Regulator to discuss the problems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They were basically shut down by Barney Frank and chaos ensued. Do your homework before you come out here with your opinions!! The Dems have a heavy hand in the meltdown and you are too blind to admit it!!

    December 23, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  20. California

    i am sick and tired of the same platforms –dems vs repubs. Let's start collaborating on solutions; because in the meantime people are seriously struggling.

    December 23, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  21. ib

    This poll must have been taken amoung left wingnuts. I don't see one thing positive about the democrats right now and I usually vote a split ticket and I do vote every election unless I'm so sick I can't go.

    December 23, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  22. tarheel

    There are plenty of people who like the Democrats ideas of taxing the middle class and the rich and bleeding them dry and giving that money through Free insurance, food stamps, housing, spending money, etc... to those who either will not work or can't work or are just happy living off the Government. Heck, I guess that even a majority of people would like to have everything gave to them and have to work. If that's what you want then the Democratic party is the party for you, hands down. The Republicans message of people taking personal responsibility for their actions and their own welfare will never be popular with certain segments of society.

    December 23, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  23. Brad of IL.

    Can people who read these comments really believe that these poles are real. All I keep reading is a bunch of Democratic followers who want too pat there back sides for a job well done. I for one would have been more acceptable too a plan too get America back too work and creating jobs for people so they would be paying in Taxes. Alot of People are not upset about Health care reform , it is not the time for such a high cost adventure. Democrats think that people will vote for there Congressmen or women and the same for there Senators. I feel that when one party has all the control ( Repub's & Dem's ) we the people get screwed. I and my family will vote for a Republican in all areas of Government that we get too vote on so that all this waste will stop. People who work hard should not have too pay for the ones who don't. Which we already do anyway . ( WELFARE )

    December 23, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  24. mjm

    Jay, Illinois December 23rd, 2009 2:20 pm ET

    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?

    _________

    4% unemployment.....that's where we were. Where are we now? 10% and 4-5 trillion spent in the first year. Go libs go! Way to show up how it's done!

    December 23, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  25. MT

    "For society as a whole, nothing comes as a 'right' to which we are 'entitled'. Even bare subsistence has to be produced....

    The only way anyone can have a right to something that has to be produced is to force someone else to produce it...

    The more things are provided as rights, the less the recipients have to work and the more the providers have to carry the load."

    Thomas Sowell

    December 23, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
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