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. Ridgeway

    Bums. All looking for handouts. I'll tell you what. The 51% can have the gov't stuff IF I get to keep my money, including taxes, to take care of myself. Kool Aid drinkers.

    December 23, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  2. mikel

    The Leibman trully needs to retire. What a sad ending to a sort of ok history in politics.

    It must be tough to try and run the show when you should be on the sidelines watching it.

    December 23, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  3. Stupid is as stupid does

    Those whose argument is that Republicans and those who support them are stupid fail to demonstrate their own intelligence.

    December 23, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  4. Diane

    Most American people are smarter than the media and the RNC give them credit for.
    I just hope people remember this when it is time to vote. The Repubs have never been the friend of the middle class. I wish more Americans would wake up and figure that out.

    December 23, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  5. Mark

    I agree, it time for the Democrats to put America back on track.

    December 23, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  6. jim

    I'm so sick of both parties, special interest groups getting what they want. I know it will never happen but I wish they would limit the terms on senators, house of representatives to Two terms just like the president.

    December 23, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  7. Peter Vaguely

    The difference is that the Democrats are trying to govern, to lead, to change things while the Republicans play politics. The Republicans' only concern is the next election and trying to play one group off of another for personal gain. That is the Party of "NO" and, if you can't see that, I would suggest you are part of the problem.

    December 23, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  8. Gil Oberdas

    Americans are sick of the Party of "NO!" No, No no, no no! No compromise, no bi-partisanship! Just forever blocking progress!

    December 23, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  9. TIm Holcer

    Wake up America.....This is another financial tsunami....see Social Security and Medicare.....nationalizing healthcare is not the answer. Instead of addressing the entitlement programs already underway, adding a new one to the mix is irresponsible and continues tp put our country down the wrong path for future generations. I feel bad for my son that he has to inherit less opportunity than I was given. What a joke.

    Tim

    December 23, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  10. Mike in MN

    Obama and the Democrats are spending us to a point of no return. By next spring this poll will be reversed.

    December 23, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  11. D. Tree

    At least Democrats work hard to to come up with new solutions – The Republicans just keep spewing the same nonsensical ideology we just had for the last 8 years.

    As long as Republicans don't come up with anything new, Democrats will continue to beat them at the polls.

    December 23, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  12. bennie new york

    There's no doubt that Democrats have better policy ideas- too bad they never actually get anything done.

    December 23, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  13. Mark

    I hope the public continues to recognize WHO got us into this mess – a Repubican President, Republican Congress & a Republican Supreme Court... they've made a complete mess of this country and democracy. The Republicans serve corporate interests and the rich (the invisible aristocracy in America)... the corporations and the rich are trying to hold on to anything they can...power, influence, control... they don't trust the public and the policies from the past 8 years show this...

    December 23, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  14. JP

    This is the dumbest article I have ever read. Over 51% nationally cannot stand Obama and his stupid healthcare overhaul plan. That is by any poll taken. CNN is such an idiotic news source. I don't know where they get their numbers but they obviously skew the numbers to reflect their pinheaded libtard ideologies.

    December 23, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  15. floyd loftin

    well if they are jacksonion democrats,they ask andrew jackson if there was anything he should have done before he left office after eights has reply was i should have shot calhoun and hung clay.

    December 23, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  16. Disgusted Democrat

    Actually we think BOTH parties just STINK.

    We have witnessed first hand via public television the corruption that currently exist in Congress.

    Senators are selling out the American public and forcing them to be part of a health care plan the majority of Americans are against. While at the same time ensuring they and their own states are exempt.

    They know the Health Care plan isn't worth the paper it's written on so they are selling out their fellow Americans.

    SHAME ON THEM!!!

    December 23, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  17. Aspen Professor

    That 46% would appear to have been "snowed" by the fast talking, blantant lying, hypocritical, arrogant right-wing controlled Republicans.

    December 23, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  18. mark

    It must be real hard work to spend all of the people's money. Joke.

    December 23, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  19. Common Sense

    How is it that a CNN poll runs counter to every other poll taken in the country? The only poll that really amounts to anything will occur in November 2010 and 2012 and I tend to think that the Dems are going to get pitched out again. Talk all you want for now, but you will probably need a crying towel pretty soon if you are a Dem.

    December 23, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  20. Shelly

    Where were the 42% of the population during the 8 years of the Bush/Cheney reign of no accountability and no responsibility of America.
    Deficit Spending, wars, insidious deals( Halliburton and Blackwater), wiretapping of innocent citizens, torture, the wealthy became richer, the middle class became poorer, runaway bonuses and questionable business practices by corporations, disrespect of America by most of the world, diminished rights of women and minorities etc. Where were these 42% ..... under the rock obviously!

    December 23, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  21. Debbie

    Of course people are for the Dem policies. The GOP just yells, screams, rants, drama, drama, drama but no ideas. They offer zero to the people. Not everyone in America is a white, far right, from the South male.

    December 23, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  22. mark

    I hope this cnn "poll" makes you all feel better. YOU ARE ALL GOING TO WONDER WHAT HAPPENED VERY SOON!! Your libs are going down in '10

    December 23, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  23. Paul

    How can anyone believe an CNN poll, the second most bias main stream media outlet behind MSNBC. What a joke! Journalism is dead, why do you think they fired Lou Dodds.

    December 23, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  24. Brian

    I just do not get these people that thing the GOP has any direction. With sell-outs like Michael Steele and wing-nuts like Shara Palin who would want to be lead by them? They are the party of selfish "I got mine" politics.

    December 23, 2009 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  25. Gop

    And only a fool would believe a poll.

    and like CNN is not in bed with Obama and his party of spend, spend spend!

    December 23, 2009 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
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