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. Dave

    Currently the only people paying attention are the retired Fox-news-a-holics, and the left-wing progressives who hoped that Obama could change Washington. Everyone else is busy with their toys and Avatar.

    December 23, 2009 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  2. rfromohio

    We are independent voters in this house and I totally agree with that-
    the dems are at least trying to offer solutions and help to this country's people. Many are in desperate need after the last reckless 8 years.
    Thank you dems! This house will also remember who voted to offer solutions and who wanted to keep status quo for the rich.

    December 23, 2009 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  3. All of america

    The dumacrats days are numberd.They will be out of power after the elections next year.

    December 23, 2009 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  4. Paul

    The headlines states "poll spell trouble for Lieberman" but the question asked by CNN is – Policies of Republicans leaders in Congress will lead the country in which directions? Sen Lieberman is an independent.

    December 23, 2009 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  5. Scott

    Key word in the poll, CNN. Go to Rasmussen and get the real information.

    December 23, 2009 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  6. Sally

    The Republicans ran this country into the ditch. It is shocking that even 42% think they can do a better job than the Democrats. What does it take? Total breakdown?

    December 23, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  7. Slider

    Really? Which ones?

    Healthcare? Cap and Trade? Secret Ballot Initiative? Gitmo detainies on U.S. soil? The first Stimulus bill? The second Stimulus Bill? Continued funding for corrupt organizations like ACORN? The takeover of privately held companies, and the ability of the government to arbitrarily close a company down because it thinks it is operating poorly?

    The Dems aren't even making their loony, idiotic, fringe supporters happy like the unions, NOW, et. al.

    What planet are you blockheads from?

    I'll just have to put it down to a failure of the government run education you idiots received.

    December 23, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  8. TommyJ

    It is past the point of comical and simply..well childish in just how far CNN will go to prop up Obumbo and the Dems. Isn't there anyone at CNN with some sense of reality?

    The Socialists are tanking all arond the country and yet these morons at CNN and MSNBC still believe we are all idiots. My God, has it come to this?!?!

    Go ahead CNN, delete my comment, God knows you don't want anyone disagreeing with the pathetic morons that run this stink-fest. We (AOL) should have dumped your sorry asses back in 2000 when we had the chance...

    December 23, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  9. Insightful

    Who says that Republicans are for the rich?? The truth of the matter is that it's the Republican presidents who are so stupidthat they let the rich con them into making their decisions for them. Hey, war expends more American, et al., weapons . No president wants American war blood spilled, But American spent weapons must be bought and replaced. So the Republican presidents aren't calling the shots. Just ask Cheney. And who called the environmental polluters in to the Washington seats of power to write the regulations governing their own polluting quagmires. The big rich powerful private enterprise outsiders who were, again, telling our president how our nation was to govern in that arena. and on, and on, and on, ad infinitum. . .

    December 23, 2009 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  10. Ron

    A balanced and unbiased CNN poll. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??

    You're safe Joe.

    COme into the light and convert to conservatism, Tea Party or Republican. The Democratic party is dying of it's own accord

    December 23, 2009 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  11. Patriot

    After 8 years of failure with Bush and Cheney, I would hope that the country finally wakes up.

    December 23, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    That 46% is very representative of the most uneducated people in this country. It is amzaing to me that some high school dropout with $9 an hour earning power, can think that any republican would care about them. But republican politicians love the delberts. Why? Becasue they are easy to confuse and mislead. Threaten that they will lose their guns and beer, and that freedom is fleeting and they will jump on the band wagon no matter how stupid the reasoning. How else can one explain why anyone could still be supporting the party that got us into this horrific mess. Conveniently repugs are not talking about what got us here, instead condemning the efforts of dems working to extricate us from the manure of the last eight years. Wisen up Jethro, rational thought and sense can do more for you than you ever imagined.

    December 23, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  13. bob hicks

    get john Mccain out of office and the country would be 100 % better off

    December 23, 2009 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  14. Socrates

    It's interesting listening to the Republic senators screaming at how bad the proposed health-care bill is. Perhaps if they hadn't decided to oppose ANY attempt to resolve our health care crisis, they could have steered the bill in the right direction.

    December 23, 2009 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  15. Gonzo in Houston

    There have been so many polls with so many subtly- slanted questions by all sides that I don't believe any of them. The only polls that matter are the 2010 and 2012 elections, and that's when we'll really see how the people feel.

    December 23, 2009 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  16. rick Atlanta

    Friends don't let friends vote republican!

    December 23, 2009 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  17. BS

    The same people that voted for the current tyrants?

    December 23, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  18. Bob of Lompoc

    Well Duh! Republicans: Snatching defeat from the jaws of potential victory, time after time after time.

    December 23, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  19. WoW

    I for one definetely am against the Dem. health bill. How can anyone be for this? The Democrats clearly stated that if certain care options that you and your doctor decide are not on the "checklist" that was put together by politicians and lobbyists, then it will not be covered. Wake up people! How can anyone want this? Your quality of care and amount of coverage is going to go down. Taxes are going to go up.

    A "checklist" is going to be created by lobbyists and politicians that determine what kind of care you can receive. If you and your doctor decide on a specific treatment option that best suits you and it is not on this "checklist" then you will not be covered. This is disgusting. This should not be allowed. Democrats should be ashamed of themselves.

    DO NOT TREAT THE SYPTOMS, DISEASE, ETC. TREAT THE PATIENT.

    That unfortunately will not take place with their bill. God help us.

    December 23, 2009 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  20. Vietnam vet

    I just can not believe there are people out there who think the Republicans have a good plan. Other than "cut taxes" they have no plan. I only wish there was a public option in the health bill just passed. I now have Blue Cross/Blue Shield and every test that my doctor has ordered from an MRI for a neck injury to blood tests for 280 chlosterol the insurance has refused to pay claiming that it was not medically necessary. I just don't get it. People were worried about the Government coming between the patient and doctor, here, with insurance, they deny every test I have take. I have gone for one MRI and two blood tests in the last 24 months, and all have been denied. My premium for family is over $14,000 a year.

    December 23, 2009 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  21. erik

    OMG! I cannot beloeve that a CNN poll would say that dems have the right ideas. that is about as a poll being done by human events.com that says that 51% prefer repubs. Cnn slants so far to the left it is a joke that you still even consider yourself a news organization.

    December 23, 2009 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  22. valwayne

    Wow, what great news for the Democrats. They have nothing to worry about. They should just keep up the corrupt spending, the corrupt deals like the Louisina purchase and the Cornhusker kickback. And they are just itching to tax everyone until their eyes bleed so clearly they should move forward with with that. If this poll is right 2010 will be a great year for the Democrats! Good for them!

    December 23, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  23. Tim

    What was the poll question? I am dubious about the results of this poll. It is likely the question posed, which you have not posted, was deliberately slanted to effect the desired result. All the real polls show the nation is very disturbed by the democratic led administration, house and senate. Seems like CNN is willing to sully its reputation, or is it confirm?, with propaganda reporting.

    Tim

    December 23, 2009 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  24. Pop quiz.....

    Who in the White House represents the epitome of arrogance and narcissism?

    December 23, 2009 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  25. Meidy

    Probably no coincidence that 51% like democrat policies....and about the same percentage of the population don't pay any federal income taxes. It always sounds good when someone else pays the bill. Free Free Free! Give it to me all for free! What a joke.

    December 23, 2009 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
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