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. Jack

    Some on the right think that doing nothing is doing something. They think that stonewalling and not passing bills is work and "holding the line." How wrong. A government functions when it interacts with its people and does things, passes legislation to improve and enhance things. This congress was just so obsessed with "holding the line" that they were blinded to any compromise. Compromise is how the government functions - not doing nothing. And when you are a minority party you compromise a tad more that the majority party. That's how this government has worked for most of it's existence. Now it doesn't work and can't work because there are no Profiles in Courage. Most conservatives are afraid of losing to uber-conservatives in their home districts.

    December 26, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  2. DH

    Two words: Term limits.

    December 26, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  3. Ben

    Pathetic to see so many people not understand the truth or have any knowledge of our political circus. Blame it all on the Congress! Cant blame the Senate, cant blame Obama the king! Just congress, oh please wake up! Congress tries to pass something only to have our illegitimate president do a end around and turn around and say it is congress! The Senate constantly refuses to pass what the congress wants, but yet they blame congress! Sounds like every politician needs fired and real people in there. politician should not be a job description. 6 year term limits for all. That way no power hungry jackals can take over as is happening now!

    December 26, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  4. Mussel

    The Tea Party is behind the stalemate of all political agendas. It is either their way or no way. It is time for the republicans to break with the Tea Party and get back in business.

    December 26, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  5. Merp

    What does it matter how poor this Congress is, when the Executive branch is more than willing to usurp the Legislative authority whenever expedient, and no one cries foul?

    December 26, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  6. Mick

    Voting one way or another WON'T fix our problems – comon' now!

    December 26, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  7. Al

    Because the Senate is not willing to look at bills that have been submitted by the House of Representatives because they are on opposite sides of the isle, they illusion is that the entire Congress has done nothing. But the fact is shown on the Government website of the number of HR that have been submitted and the number that the leader of the Senate has allowed to be introduced to the Senate. So the real problem and do nothing group is the party that controls the Senate. The article should be more exact and not be so general in there statements, it shows they way of leaning and not their competent side of doing their jobs as reporters.

    December 26, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  8. Polar Bear

    Yeah, but they'll mostly all get re-elected because "my guy/gal's okay" and "your guy/gal isn't." The beat goes on.

    December 26, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  9. Glenn

    So Americans believe that electing the exact same balance of power will equal a different result? Americans are polling on par to elect a GOP house and a DEM senate. This will mean the do nothing congress will just get reelected. Wow – we are so stupid and deserve exactly what we get

    December 26, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  10. Roy

    Maybe we are better off with a do nothing congress since they won't be screwing more things up for the American people.

    December 26, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  11. ron

    Obammy has done nothing to create jobs.Nothing to improve home values.The price of gas has doubled under his watch. Obama Care is a hideous abortion. I predict he will leave at least one more turd at the feet of the American people before leaving.What that will be is any ones guess.

    December 26, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  12. kylefromohio


    In all releationship it take at least 2 to tangle or engage.

    December 26, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  13. Let's Be clear

    Can you imagine how much more President Obama could be accomplishing toward digging this country out of the hole GWB put us in if he had a Congress that could get past the color of his skin? Mind boggling.

    December 26, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  14. bigdoglv

    Please keep doing nothing. It's when you do something that things get all jacked up.

    December 26, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  15. pcappit

    This is a really idiotic poll. While I agree that overall our Congress is awful, it is not from a lack of bills being signed into legislation, it is from what is in the bills they actually passed. These kinds of polls only further the effort to dumb down our electorate, which unfortunately is already quite good at being largely uninformed and disinterested.

    What a worthless waste of time and effort these types of polls are. It would be interesting to see how many people could even name one of the sixty measures passed by the 113th Congress. Personally the less they do the better.

    December 26, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  16. skytag

    Given how incompetent they seem to be we might be better off with them doing nothing. I've called all three of my representatives. I was only able to talk to staffers and one policy staffer, but consistently my impression was that none of them have actually studied issues or have a clue about them. All I ever got was canned partisan sound bites.

    It was disturbing to me that I felt better informed on the issues about which I called than my representatives in Congress.

    December 26, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  17. Mike Wiggins

    Coal? Why waste a natural resource? How about we empty Santa's reindeer stalls into the respective Congressional limos instead?

    It STILL wouldn't make our Congresspeople move .... but it would make ME merrier!

    December 26, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  18. PI

    No, there needs to be a term limit on congress because these fulltime politicians are only concerned about re-election in order to again the great tax payer benefits and the gifts/freebies from deep pocket corporations and lobby groups. Term limits need to be enacted for all politicians even at state levels. Then maybe politicians can focus on major issues instead of their re-election concerns.

    December 26, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  19. JonhJohnBonBon

    The CNN Polls are always looked bad for republican because CNN working for Liberal and Congress is Republican. Take a look at Senators section. They are the worst in the history. Get it ?

    December 26, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  20. MoreGuns

    There is only one chore for the congress to perform; protect my 2nd amendment rights. Nothing else matters. I love guns so much, it worries other people, but, not me.

    December 26, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  21. Tom Jakovlic

    Well, the point of the 80+ Tea Party members who came to Washington in January 2011 was to do just that; stop Democrats and President Obama from passing any other monumental legislation, like ACA, or other billsthat would extend benefits or change the status quo of wealthy corporate and individual tax status and political power. When you've had your way on Capitol Hill and the public's ear and media eye since 1980, letting go or even sharing power in Congress is something powerful Republicans and their lobbyists on Capitol Hill will not give away without a fight! Obama's election in 2008 and host of Democratic House and Senate members who coattailed with him to office after the disasterous end of the Bush's second term had to be curtailed. The country had to be taken back from the reformers!

    The whole point of the Republicans since day one was to see President Obama's economic and social reform agenda fail,and as Mitch McConnel (Sen KY) put it "to make Presiden Barack Obama a one term president!" Having failed that, the Tea Party caucus has been pulling the Elephant around by the tail, and has had senate majority leader John Boehner and the other members of conservative house majority at beck and call. The result is one crisis budget crisis after another with no attempt to support this president's economic agenda. 113th Congress' whole point in coming to Congress was not to rebuild America's economic and international strength, but to oppose whatever the Democrats had planned with the hope the public would blame the opposing party and reinsert the Republicans in office. That has backfired miserably for Republicans, hence the low approval rating, and meanwhile most disturbing is that country and vast troves of long term unemployed go without a future, a job, or benefits to support them. The vast majority of Americans should wise up and put moderate Republicans and even more Democrats in the House who see compromise as a good thing, and get rid of the radical Tea Party Republicans in November 2014. Take your country back.

    December 26, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  22. carre1

    Where in the world did the pollsters find that 28%?

    December 26, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  23. Frank Franklin

    "Do nothing" congress? If only that were true. The more they do, the worse the country becomes.

    December 26, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |

    In my opiniom the american taxpayers (the ones who actually write a check to pay their fair share, and not those who think they do, and on the govt dole) should march on Washington take 30 lawmakers to the roof of our tax dollar office bldg and throw half the sob's off.Guarantee that the rest will have a different focus. Working for America.

    December 26, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  25. CherryMama

    On another note: you can't give them coal because 'its not energy efficient.'

    December 26, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
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