December 26th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
7 months ago

Poll: This is a 'do-nothing' Congress

Washington (CNN) – The worst Congress ever.

That's the verdict from two-thirds of Americans about the track record of the 113th Congress, according to a new national poll. And a CNN/ORC International poll released Thursday also indicates that nearly three-quarters of the public say that this has been a "do-nothing" Congress.

Two-thirds of those questioned said the current Congress is the worst in their lifetime, with 28% disagreeing.

"That sentiment exists among all demographic and political subgroups. Men, women, rich, poor, young, old - all think this year's Congress has been the worst they can remember," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "Older Americans - who have lived through more congresses - hold more negative views of the 113th Congress than younger Americans. Republicans, Democrats and independents also agree that this has been the worst session of Congress in their lifetimes."

According to the survey, 73% say that this Congress has so far done nothing to address the country's problems, with one in four disagreeing.

Even though it did pass a budget agreement, fewer than 60 bills have been signed into law during the first year of the two-year long 113th Congress, according to CNN analysis and by other news organizations as well. Assuming lawmakers don't pick up the pace next year, and that's a safe bet as 2014 is an election year, this will become the least productive Congress in at least the last four decades.

The poll also indicates there's little optimism for the future.

"Negative attitudes extend to both sides of the aisle: 52% believe that the policies of the Democratic leaders in Congress would move the country in the wrong direction; 54% say the same about the policies of congressional Republicans," Holland said.

And 54% say the same thing about President Barack Obama's policies

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International on December 16-19, with 1,035 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

–CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

soundoff (916 Responses)
  1. Ken

    They are worse than a do nothing. If they did nothing, at least they would not add to the damage. Everything they do hurts us that much more. I could do better myself blindfolded swinging at a pinata.

    December 26, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    rla

    Thanks H Reid and the democrats for setting that tone with the push through of Obama care with no regard for yhe opposite view,, Then Obama pontificates and we go backward
    ---------------------–
    How quickly the right wing forgets what their own side did a decade ago. Pushed through massive tax cuts, not once, but twice. In 2004, they pushed through the ADDI, American Dream Downpayment Initiative, which was probably the most likely cause of the home mortgage crisis. The ADDI encouraged lenders to re-write their mortgages using "simpler language" so that first time buyers would not need to go out and hire an attorney to check it over.

    December 26, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  3. jon wilson

    Possibly the worst "Stonewalling" congress in American history.

    December 26, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  4. Alex

    I completely agree that this congress has been absolutely terrible for a number of reasons. However there is a paragraph in this article that concerns me:

    Even though it did pass a budget agreement, fewer than 60 bills have been signed into law during the first year of the two-year long 113th Congress, according to CNN analysis and by other news organizations as well. Assuming lawmakers don't pick up the pace next year, and that's a safe bet as 2014 is an election year, this will become the least productive Congress in at least the last four decades.

    We should not solely consider the number of laws passed as production.

    December 26, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  5. BillK

    There are not enough expletives to express my disappointment in the entire Government process. Until the laws are changed regarding Lobbyist, and the number of years of service limited to 4 or 8 years max. then we will still have the same greedy clowns representing the people. The current process gives them a long time to make connections and be bought out by large corporations and the rich. It is clear to me that because Obama is black and the congress is mostly made up of prejudice white –boy bigots Hippocrates and Racist who don’t want Obama to succeed just because he is a black man. Sad but true, these guys will bring down the entire Government before allowing Mr Obama to succeed at anything. And oh, by the way I am a white man.

    December 26, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  6. Tallus

    It scares me that people still support the Tea Party when republicans are tearing themselves apart from withing specifically because of how extreme the Tea Party is.

    Wake up, people. This isn't about republicans or democrats. This is about ~12 fundamentalist Christian extremists who think the only way to save the country is to shut the government down. They did that, and then complained about it like it wasn't their fault. These old fossils need to go. Vote in people who know what century we live in.

    December 26, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  7. Name b

    It doesn't matter.
    Americans are too lazy to do anything to change the current state of affairs. Look at other countries. They protest, march in the streets, etc.

    We are complacent.

    December 26, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  8. Oscar

    Coal? Well bring it on. If no one else wants it I will be more than happy with coal.

    December 26, 2013 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  9. kennyg

    Among the worse adminisrations causes among the worse Congresses

    December 26, 2013 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  10. lnchudej

    This has been such a worthless, lazy, childish Congress that it make voting in the mid-term election SO simple. I'm voting against any sitting members regardless of their party affiliation. Sitting members have contributed to creating the do-nothing Congress so why give them another chance? I know the jerks will draw an ungodly retirement for having done nothing but that's what we deserve for electing the jerks in the first place. Mistakes cost money.

    December 26, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  11. srcactus

    More is not necessarily better. After 200 years, more legislation will probably take more freedoms away than will be allowed to endure.

    The effort to complete "Grand Bargains" Grand Deals" and "Grand Anything" else is a way to hide the real agenda of the authors and that is a disingenuous act to keep information from taxpayers.

    "Pink Slips" all around!

    December 26, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  12. Florida Man

    Its about time CNN discuss the "do nothing congress" particular speaking about republicans, instead of attacking president Obama all the time lately. President Obama should not give news stations any interviews until they learn to respect him and his agenda.

    December 26, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  13. Lori

    So frustrating that Congress did not finalize the government unemployment extension for 2014. As a 46 year old mother and woman who has worked since she was 14 and at a full time position for over 25 years (the company moved my position to Dallas, TX). I lost my job and am on unemployment and any government help for the first time in my life. My unemployment runs out in April, 2014. I put 10-20 resumes out every week, my resume is all over the place and currently do work part time. I want to work full time and need to work full time! Yes, there are some people who take UC for granted, I am not one of them. The thought that I could loose my UC in April is very scary, but I will do whatever I have to do to survive!

    December 26, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  14. ca54gjk

    ....and mostly Democrats"

    December 26, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  15. Quixote

    Lots of hung over right wing loonies ranting on here. Lots of vagaries about liberals hating America.......i will gladly take the label liberal any day. All of greatest leaders and the greatest Americans are and were liberal. All of the flat out worst were conservative. Conservatives cannot point to a single positive they have added to the lives of the people of our great country in more than a century....if ever.....from Jefferson and Adams, to Lincoln, to Wilson, to LaFollet, to TR and FDR , King, Kennedy, Johnson, Clinton, Obama.....none without flaw, but unquestionably any one of them controubted mor to the improvement of life in the United States than any conservative.
    harding, hoover, nixon, caughlin, blaine, coolidge, dewey, and more recently.....flat out loonies like paul,ryqn, bachmann, palin, mcconnel, bohner, limbaugh, hannity, koulter, trump, cain, goehmert, yoho, cruz.......talk about a group that HATES Americans. Actions speak louder than words, conservative brethren. It is not too late to cast the scales from your eyes and see....to walk in the light ......to walk WITH you nation and stop working to hurt your fellow citizens. Step one is to turn off the ridiculous nonsense they spew from talk radio and fox. There is a reason comedians have such an easy time mocking fox........comedy is often based on pointing out obvious ridiculousness and hypocrisy.

    December 26, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  16. sanstache78

    It's time we do away with congress for good. We, the American citizens can do their job. We live in an age of great communication. We can be informed. We should have the vote. No more filibusters. No more lobbyists. Big corporations can't bribe all of us! The government belongs to the people. The people don't belong to the government. We need to cut the head off the snake. Only we, as a collective whole, can fix this country.

    December 26, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  17. Jay Lowe

    I think we need a different set of metrics to evaluate Congress. People think Congress is only "successful" and "productive" when it creates new laws and spends more money. I think this is a really bad way to measure their effectiveness. This article laments that "... fewer than 60 bills have been signed into law during the first year" as if that's a bad thing. I don't think it's inherently good or bad, though I am really skeptical of the result of a "productive" Congress measured by this standard. "Do nothing" is not necessarily a bad thing. Some things are easy to measure. Did Congress pass an official budget (not a CR, "agreement" or other useless political deal)? Did Congress raise the debt ceiling, and if so, how many times? If the debt ceiling was raised, was it temporary or permanent? Other things are more difficult to measure and survey tools may be more effective to gauge the impact of Congress' decisions on key aspects of our lives. A survey of American experiences with health care, mortgages, student loans, immigration, etc might be helpful. Not a "how do you feel about", but rather "how were you personally affected". The bottom line is that any decision by government negatively impacts some people and positively impacts others. A good measure of effectiveness to me is not a count of bills passed, or dollars spent, rather the extent to which Congress has minimized it's negative impact on citizens' lives.

    December 26, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  18. sonnyspoon

    The GOP would rather see America destroyed just don't let Obama succeed at all cost we will have a woman President in 2016. Hey GOP bring back Mitt Romney to help us win the 2016 election by a landslide please.

    December 26, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  19. Joe

    99% say the lawmakers only care about getting paid.

    December 26, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  20. Robert T

    What does it take for them to get our message?

    December 26, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  21. carlin123

    Big government progressives will never get it. We don't want the Congress to generate a bunch of new bills, laws, programs, regulations. Our Grand children are already buried in debt. Our health care system, is being destroyed. Small business entrepreneurs are choking on petty regulations.Enough already!

    December 26, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  22. Dan

    A Do Nothing Congress. . . . because of a Do Nothing Preident who lacks LEADERSHIP Skills. . .

    December 26, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  23. CherryMama

    Farmers use a term called "culling the herd." When you have livestock that aren't worth keeping, you get rid of them and get better animals to improve your herd. I think we're overdue here.

    December 26, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  24. Mark

    Would you rather have a "do nothing" Congress – or a House and Senate that passed every conservative measure (if you are a liberal) or a one that passed every liberal measure (if you are a conservative). The only thing worse than a do-nothing Congress is when they do something.

    December 26, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  25. Jebb

    Despite the problems with a "do-nothing" congress they were elected by the American voters to represent their opinions ...what does that reflect about the general populace. The stock market is at the highest point in history, record corporate profits, multi-millionaires are being enriched at unprecedented levels. What should we say to this wars are still raging, criminal activity persists and our cities are impoverished that "do-nothing" tag starts with what the mirror is reflecting.

    December 26, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
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