Washington (CNN) - Americans are divided on whether Democratic control of Congress is good for the country, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday also indicates that 7 in 10 Americans believe that the Democrats' loss of their 60 seat supermajority in the Senate is a positive move for the country.
Forty-five percent of people questioned in the poll said Democratic control of Congress is a good thing, with 48 percent disagreeing. The margin is within the survey's sampling error. But the results are a shift from last June, when 50 percent felt that Democratic control of both chambers of Congress was good and 41 percent felt it was bad for the country.
Democrats control the House 256 to 178, with one seat vacant. Last week's victory by Republican Scott Brown in a Massachusetts special Senate election to fill the final three years of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's term means that Brown will become the 41st Republican in the chamber, leaving Democrats with 59 senate seats. That's one short of the filibuster-proof supermajority they have held since last spring, when Republican Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania switched parties.
"The poll provides more evidence of the dwindling appeal of the Democratic party in the wake of last week's special election in Massachusetts," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Fewer Americans have a favorable view of the Democrats, and fewer support Democratic control on Capitol Hill."
Brown, a state Senator, became the first Massachusetts Republican to win a U.S. Senate election since 1972, but the survey indicates that most Americans don't see his victory as a huge blow for the Democratic party. Thirty-eight percent of those questioned said it's a major defeat, while 44 percent said it's a minor setback. Seventeen percent said it will no effect on the Democrats.
According to the poll, 46 percent of the public has a favorable opinion of the Democratic Party, with 44 percent viewing the Republican Party in a positive light. That's a change from October, when 53 percent had a favorable opinion of Democrats and 36 percent saw the GOP in a positive light.
While the survey's numbers are not great news for the Democrats, "the coming midterm campaign may not be smooth sailing for the Republicans either," Holland said. "Nearly half the public says they are angry at both parties; only one in ten are angry only at the Democrats."
All 435 seats in the House, as well as 18 Democratic-held and 18 Republican-held Senate seats, are up for grabs in November's midterm elections.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted January 22-24, following the January 19 special election in Massachusetts, with 1,009 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report