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. peterz

    In Bush's administration, I had had a thought that in the future the Republican party perhaps needing transformation So Tea party coming out was not a surprise. It looked like this time the GOP again had to clean up its transformation and should successfully build its first class of politicians which was not there anymore.

    December 26, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  2. NealR2000

    The "do nothing Congress" label is misleading to the public who mostly, don't fully understand what Congress do. The label has been forged into some kind of image, where we have been led to believe that Congress is being lazy. Congress isn't some kind of productive labor workhouse, where the faser you work, the better is is for us all. It's job is to change legistlation. The key word is change. The goal of the GOP controlled Congress is to prevent the enactment of any legistlation that shifts to the left. Any attempt by them to forge new right-leaning legistlation is not going to work as they know it will be kills by the Democrat controlled Senate and the President. Now these conditions are not new, and it typically falls upon the President to form deals where agreements can be reached. This President doesn't do deals as he is fixated upon his view of social justice. Bill Clinton he is not.

    December 26, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  3. rick

    This maybe a "Do nothing" congress, but the real problem is that they need to fix the bills that don't work, (or cost the tax payer more money). Instead of adding more bills or laws, they need to look at the problems that are keeping our economy from growing like it did in the 50's and 60's.

    December 26, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  4. TexDoc

    Blocking bad progress, is very different from doing nothing.

    December 26, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  5. Voter71

    Term Limits please.

    December 26, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  6. Elliot

    This is a very meaningless poll. Third thirds of Americans might not like Congress but the American people as a whole, do not elect congress. People only elect their local representatives and polls seem to indicate that the same congress people willl get reelected in 2014.

    December 26, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  7. Dead bear

    Most of these comments and the other poll released this morning are proof positive this country needs to look at the education system... Only in a country this retarded do we have people praising someone for not doing their job that our taxes pay them (quite well, I might add) to do.

    December 26, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  8. Old_Hippie

    Thanks JC, I was choking on the same thing. Congress is The House of Representatives and the Senate. So the Republican House and the Democratic Senate share the blame. I do blame the House more than the Senate for the gridlock though. They were fully aware than anything they sent to the Senate for approval that included a provision to defund the Affordable Care Act had zero chance of passing. If they had just sent clean bills, more would have gotten done.

    December 26, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  9. vdanker

    At least they made sure they still receive their exorbitant pay and benefits.

    December 26, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  10. Dave

    Republicans are done. The poll to watch is in 2014.

    Poor people
    Educated union workers
    Friends of Pope Francis

    We are all in solidarity next year. There will be less division in Congress once the American people have their say.

    December 26, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  11. Todd

    Yeah, yeah, just live your life because it is not going to change much either. Let the deadbeats and money corruption brew over!

    December 26, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  12. Goby Dillis

    They did a lot if you also count unintended consequences. It seems that they really are inept and out of touch with their constitutional duties. The structure, preconceptions, personal affiliations and gerrymandering to political donors has pretty much written their dialog. It comes as no surprise that confidence in them is on low side. They are all caught up in the idea of how the system works and are unwilling to step outside that line. I really hate to be the one to say it, but this country needs representatives that will push for correction of the system rather than just accepting their perks for compliance. Its obvious that its not about doing nothing and more about the pursuit of poor choices.

    December 26, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  13. woodlander2

    If you consider that half of congress is liberal democrats that are disliked by the conservative public and half are conservative republicans that are disliked by the liberal public and the few in the middle are irrelevant, how can congress's approval be any better.

    December 26, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  14. David


    December 26, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  15. PI

    Term limits, but I'm sure these full time politicians don't want to jeopardize their free travel, long vacations, nice retirement package, pay, and including perks from lobby groups or private individuals. This also includes those government officials at state levels who have been milking the system for years. Thanks to all taxpayers, politicians can continue to enjoy the gravy train. Many politicians receive government subsidies while slashing subsidies for the less fortunate.

    December 26, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  16. Kike

    - Congress isn't back from LazyVacation Country yet? Oh must b just my imagination? But again....stupid we voted ... Stupid we get...Still God bless the USA!!!

    December 26, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  17. skytag

    DaveinIL: "My take away is that Obama's tactics of divide and marginalize have worked all too well."

    This is right-wing projection and there was nothing in the statistics you quoted to support it. In my 58 years I've never seen a greater effort at fostering division than what I've seen from the right these past few years. Conservatives today are bombarded nonstop with divisive rhetoric disparaging the poor, liberals, people who have no income tax liability, blacks, Muslims, gays, atheists and pro-choicers, just off the top of my head.

    It wasn't Obama who said 47% of Americans don't want to take responsibility for their lives just because they have no income tax liability. It hasn't been Obama talking about the workers versus the takers, the productive class versus the moocher class, the parasites and so on, that's been commentators on Fox News.

    Comments flow like water from the right bashing liberals based on lies about what they believe and false stereotypes about them. They don't work, they're all on welfare, they hate freedom of speech and so on, they suffer from a mental disorder, they're all stupid, all lies to fuel hatred for them, and then the same people making those comments have the audacity to call Obama divisive. You have to be brainwashed to not see the hypocrisy in it.

    December 26, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  18. joe

    Matches the do nothing fool in the white house!!!! Oh he has done something--destroyed our country from with-in do satify his socialist goals.

    December 26, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  19. Papabear

    Do nothing Congress, Do nothing Voters. Voters will hold tight to those that have done nothing always blaming it on the other person. Just more political gridlock on the horizon. The only certain course is the continuing decline of our society!

    December 26, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  20. Firstname Lastname

    So fire them all. My left testicle could do a better job.

    December 26, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  21. Sherry

    I was a strong supporter of voting!! Not anymore, why vote at all when congress sits and fights. WE VOTE THEM IN, and they do want they want. They act 2nd and 3rd graders!!!

    December 26, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  22. Bill

    The do nothing congress managed to make the last 3 years the worst In my 60 years.

    December 26, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  23. Gunderson

    It is a "Do Nothing" Senate. Of course the Liberal's have been doing us "Favor's" the last 100 years. And we have the 17 Trillion Dollar Federal Debt to prove it. Please don't do me any more favor's. I can't afford 'em.

    December 26, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  24. Joel

    Dear Liberals, I don't think passing bills to increase spending is the answer to everything! There should be a law that the debt ceiling can not be raised again. This fake money you people pull out of the air needs to end!

    December 26, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  25. Jim McDonald

    The government on the whole seems to be functioning about the way the founders intended with the exception of its over reach in the matter of our civil liberties and privacy. Both liberals and conservatives think it does not do enough to enact policies they favor, but over time policy oscillates back and forth between center left and center right. Due to the separation of powers and its resulting checks and balances our government often looks as if it lurches forwards in time, and does not advance in a straightforward way. For instance the democrats pass a complicated health care act which is undermined at every turn by the republican opposition. It was hobbled even in its development by the need to satisfy so many different stakeholders, but while the system makes it difficult to go forward it also makes it difficult to repeal the act; so the affordable health care act is likely to find its footing and endure over time.

    December 26, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
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