CNN Poll: Most say Democrats & Republicans should sit together
January 21st, 2011
12:00 PM ET
4 years ago

CNN Poll: Most say Democrats & Republicans should sit together

Washington (CNN) - More than seven in ten Americans think that Republican and Democratic members of Congress should sit next to each other when President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday indicates that 72 percent of the public says Democratic and Republican lawmakers should sit together next Tuesday when the president speaks in the House of Representatives chamber, with 22 percent preferring the traditional seating arrangement in which Republicans all sit on one side of the chamber and Democrats all sit on the other side of the aisle.

Full results (pdf)

"The bipartisan seating plan is popular with all demographic groups, although Democrats and Independents are much more likely to favor it than Republicans," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado released a letter last week proposing that members of both political parties sit next to each other instead of the normal seating. In the letter Udall said the "debate surrounding our politics has grown ever more corrosive," and suggested choreographed standing and clapping is unbecoming of Congress, especially given the recent shootings in Arizona. The idea was first announced in a letter to "restore civility" by Third Way, a think tank dedicated to moderate political ideas.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted Jan. 14-16, with 1,014 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

–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Check out CNN's new Polling Center, which provides the most comprehensive polling data covering national questions and the top 2010 election races of any news organization in the political landscape.


Filed under: Democrats • Polls • Republicans • State of the Union
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Liam

    Who cares. This is all just politial correctness gone awry to me. It reminds me when my wife tells one of my son's teacher every year that our child needs to sit next to the quietest girl in class. If these people are not grown up enough to handle themselves professionally it will only hurt their political future so move on.

    January 21, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  2. Grow up Congress....

    This immature display has been on my nerves for years... How seriously can we take Congress when they act so childish in settings such as this. They're all supposed to be representing "the people" yet they can't even sit together and act like they're working for the same "team" which is "the PEOPLE". Segregated congress = segregated people and liberal vs conservative and on and on..... If i'm Barack on Tuesday night i start off my address by giving an order to every member of congress to get the hell up and sit next to a member of the other party. They all say they're "tired of the status quo" so show it dangit...

    January 21, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  3. MarkR

    My questions are:
    – Why should such a display occur only during the State of the Union presentation?
    – Why don't we elect adults who could understand the value of being mixed in their seating without having to be told?

    The vast majority of the legistlators represent a party, not the people. Rebuild the political system by making the parties irrelevant, then we won't focus on childish behavior by our "leaders".

    January 21, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    If i'm Barack on Tuesday night i start off my address by giving an order to every member of congress to get the hell up and sit next to a member of the other party. They all say they're "tired of the status quo" so show it dangit...
    --------------------------------------------------
    HEAR! HEAR!!!

    January 21, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  5. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Republicans and Democrats need to recognize this ain't no super bowl game where teams are separated by bleachers, if that's what they want them Republicans should dress in "red skirts" and Democrats should dress in "blue skirts" and while they're at it how about shaking some pom poms.

    January 21, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  6. T'sah from Virginia

    And they should go out afterwards and have a few SHOTS together!!! Boehner should be down with that!!!

    You know what they say after you had a few – everybody starts to look good to you and you start telling the truth. A little TRUTH will never hurt anyone unless you lied in the first place. We should all just "get along."

    January 21, 2011 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  7. kayla

    from the cradle to the grave, why must we all behave like children?

    January 21, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  8. james Miller

    Why not !!! They all drink from the same lobbiests` $$$$ fountain.

    January 21, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  9. KatR

    All members of Congress should sit next to one of their political opponents during the President's speech to honor one member of Congress who is unable to attend.

    January 21, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  10. Huzzah

    This means nothing, Zero, Nada. I'd prefer they SHOW UP when a bill is on the floor for debate. Just silly seeing one speaker in the chamber whilst the rest are off raising campaign donations.

    January 21, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |