December 26th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
4 years 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. Boring

    hummmmm "Do Nothing" makes a great headline for the drive-by media.... another meaningless pole, another useless story... CNN should provide a little more context.... like tell us how many Bills the House has passed and how many of those Bills the Senate has refused to even bring up..... "fewer 60 Bills" another useless number.. provide more specifics, just how may new "laws" and "regulations" were contained within the Bills they did pass....

    December 26, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  2. MJ

    We could only be so lucky if they do nothing. Instead, they intrude on our lives, make things illegal that ought not to be, interfere in market transactions, make us poorer, steal our wealth, and wreak havoc around the world with its military. Congress is turning us into an Empire, and it must be restrained.

    December 26, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  3. Jay

    What, and Obama doesn't deserve coal? Give me a break. I thought Obama was going to cool the oceans and end partisan gridlock in Washington. Hold the LEADER accountable. That is if we have one.

    December 26, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  4. Alan Smithee

    This is a misleading poll. If you ask any dem what's wrong with congress they will say the repubs. Ask any repub they will say they dems. Everyone is blaming the other guy and no one is happy. It's a result of extreme fracturing, not a consensus

    December 26, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  5. Jay

    That's like holding the mailroom guy accountable for bad quarterly numbers but excusing the CEO. SPIN SPIN SPIN CNN. SPIN.

    December 26, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  6. Knighthawk

    It is my opinion, this has been the worst Congress ever. They have done so little for the American people, and yet they cannot seem to accept any repsonsibility for their own inaction. They just want to lay blame on the other side. There is so much infighting these days it's sickening. We elect these people to represent us and to work for us. And yet they take multiple vacations, get paid huge sums of money, are able to expemt themselves from the very things being forced down our throats against our will and do nothing when they DO come to work. I think it's time for some serious cleaning. I have been keeping track of both the GOP and the Dems for the last couple of years and have been saving the voting records of both sides on all the issues. When the next election day comes, you can bet your bottom dollar I will be using these things to decide on who I will vote for. The lack of action, the lack of support of the American people, the lack of pretty much doing ANYTHING during the last term will result in me voting for someone else. As we approach the mid-terms, it's time to get serious about who we have representing us in Congress. It's time to fill it with those who will DO instead of do NOTHING.

    December 26, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  7. daniel

    Why is everyone upset with Congress. The Liberal Democrats control the Senate, and the worst one of all is president. What i'm saying is congress can do nothing. If they were to try to do anything then they would be voted down. Also Congress was the only branch trying to repeal Obamacare, something 2/3 of the people don't want. so congress is at fault how.....Nice try to try to place fault and demonize a group with little or no control CNN.

    December 26, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  8. blakenaustin

    Vote out the Democrats and RINOs. Elect a conservative majority in the House and Senate and you will see remarkable forward progress and a strengthening of our nation fiscally, morally, and globally. Although you can expect Obama to strongly oppose it and to wield the veto pen regularly in his relentless efforts to advance the far left's agenda and values and to undermine the good of the American people.

    December 26, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  9. JC

    Here's what's funny, if you polled 100 people, 80 of them would tell you that congress is another term for the House of Representatives. And the younger the person polled the closer it gets to 100%. Especially among extremists like progressives and tea baggers.

    December 26, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  10. Joan

    Perhaps with the measures that have been instituted, it is better that nothing is accomplished. There is pressure from interested parties to pass Amnesty. If you are opposed, you must email or call your representatives. Amnesty can change the fabric of our country with the influx of tens of millions of voters. That is what Amnesty is about. If you have concerns, voice them responsibly – but not from your couch.

    December 26, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  11. Boring

    So.... the people who think this is a "Do Nothing" congress... just what specific law do you want them to pass?

    December 26, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  12. david shoup

    Congress doesn't matter, we must keep the Lobbyists happy

    December 26, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  13. Realist

    The problem with voting them all out is: The replacements come from the same two failed parties......just more of the same. Bring on some alternate candidates you might have something but they have to be more centrist and no more of this MoveOn/Tea Party radical crap

    December 26, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  14. betterdays

    Just as some dislike the ACA because it "doesn't go far enough," there are some who think that a "do-nothing" Congress is not necessarily a bad thing, especially given the current circumstances in Washington. In the past 225 years, Congress has passed plenty of bills detrimental to the Union. It gives them an opportunity to try to "fix things" later, which often results in further unintended damage. That's how they roll.

    December 26, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  15. StormySyndrome

    The worst part of it all?? They know they're pathetic. Do they care?? Nope. They still manage to vote themselves a raise. It's almost time to clean house and I hope to see absolutely none of these people in office again. The American people then need to figure out exactly what it is they want. This country is divided which is causing our government to be the same way. These people represent the people and their wishes. are getting what you're asking doubt about it.

    December 26, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  16. wrm

    A "do nothing" congress is exactly what I want.

    December 26, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  17. Robin

    The population sample for this pole is too small. This doesn't give an accurate percentage based on just 1000+ polled individuals. I for one agree that this Congress has done nothing and they all need to be fired. The only thing they did was line their own pockets. Those who disagree with this are the ones who are benefiting from the Social System here. Sadly, this current political system has further divided our country and spurred so much hatred toward people who have differing opinions and views.

    December 26, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  18. DaveinIL

    "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.
    And 54% say the same thing about President Barack Obama's policies."
    My take away is that Obama's tactics of divide and marginalize have worked all too well.

    December 26, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  19. u laby

    Yes, and where's you're "Useless President" piece CNN?? Thanks for your blatant bias once agan CNN and happy new year.

    December 26, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  20. JRJ

    Long past time for a real change.

    December 26, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  21. TommyGun

    Better a "do nothing" congress than a "do wrong" congress. People still think Bill Clinton was a great president. His greatest gain was being deadlocked by a Republican congress while getting credit for the economic stimulus of Y2K expenditures. If the Government that changes the rules too fast or in too big steps will alway hinder the ability of the people to make a living. I am greatful for a "do nothing" congress. At least they aren't messing up in big steps that will take a generation to overcome.

    December 26, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  22. Joris Heise

    These folks who praise a do-nothing Congress need to consider on the one hand Somalia, where they seem to have the least government possible, and China where they seem to have the most. Extremists (who shaped this do-nothing congress) are the bane of our country, as exemplified in the ignorance of some of these comments. People–including the writers are not stupid, but the ignorance harms us. See the Founding Fathers who knew their classical Latin and the meaning of a Republic and read their French philosophes and understood John Locke–and avoided the extreme ideological positions with their displays of ignorance.

    December 26, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  23. li_bri

    Members in Congress will always be re- elected anyway. Why work?

    December 26, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  24. sonnyspoon

    Obama must fail at all cost screw the country , hey GOP bring back Mitt Romney for the next election Hillary Clinton 2016 by a landslide. By the way Obamacare will be successful the reason why you guys have nothing better to offer but the status Quo.

    December 26, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  25. kim

    RETHUGS "our ONLY goal is to make Obama a one term President" OK, so we wasted an entire term on that...."our only goal is to make his 2nd term miserable".......yea, government working for the people with a one line item agenda

    December 26, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
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