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. Firstname Lastname

    A pink slip is all we need to give to every single bought corrupt member of the federal government.

    December 26, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  2. Adam

    I find it funny how many target our president the same way we did Clinton when he was doing good then got laid (not by his wife), Bush was bad and considered a figurine like the queen of England, now Obama is terrible and it's all his fault. Yet all of these presidents were put into office by our votes. Stop crying America and change something. If your not sure how to change things well so far our own government has shown us force is the best way to get things done your way, as sad as this is it's true. Maybe we can come together and find a way to inform everyone with an APP. Get the Nation involved like American Idol did with votes.

    December 26, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  3. Desperado462

    And these people will almost all be re-elected as many voters who are screaming about them now will blindly vote them back into office on name recognition

    December 26, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  4. Geauterre

    We have a Congress that bets nothing will be accomplished with the first black president in American history. They're right. What should have been accomplished was during the first two years of the first term. Period. Barack Obama should have gotten us out of Afghanistan overnight. He should have pulled our armed services off of foreign soil everywhere. He should have instituted universal health and dental – damning the torpedoes – and usher in 21st century medicine with stem cell therapies. He should have arrested and charged Bush, Cheney and their entire cabinet with treason. He should have arrested bankers, and nationalized hospitals, controlled Wall Street, and restructured the nation to benefit the people. Instead, what he did do was to prove that he was not the stuff of champions. Just like all the others before him. There's the pity of it. He had the opportunity of a lifetime . . . and just threw it away.

    December 26, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  5. dave

    Much thanks for this goes out to Harry dead-on-arrival Reid,for making sure so many House bills never had a chance of even being seen much less debated and voted on. Good job Harry boy.

    December 26, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  6. Unhappy

    They are not the "do-nothing" congress. They are the "do-nothing-for-anyone-but-themselves" congress. They do vote for exemptions from Obamacare for themselves and their staff, do vote to send money to other countries who would still hate us for free, do vote for pet projects, and do vote for raises for themselves. It is just the tax payers for whom they do nothing.

    December 26, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  7. Henry1

    Congress picks an easy job just by continue to kick the can down the road. Budget? We don't need one. National debt, what is that, does it relate to tea or something likes that?

    December 26, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  8. Swedge70

    My question is, what Congress does that 1/3 think was worse?

    December 26, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  9. mike

    The blame falls 100% on the teanut party. They have abused the filibuster more than any Congress in history...literally.

    December 26, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  10. Hillary

    "Two thirds of Americans" based upon a phone survey of 1k some people, most of whom on the phone will say anything or are Repubs. CNN the new Faux News.

    December 26, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  11. Extremestfred

    Judging a congress by how many bills have been passed is a false measure. A better metric would be how many bills had been sunsetted making government intrusion in our lives reduced.

    December 26, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  12. SteamingPileOfPolitician

    Send the voters a lump of coal too for keeping these fools in office.

    December 26, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  13. Alan

    Our current "do-nothing Congress," is caused by the fact that the main focus of our Republican controlled Congress is not to serve the voters, but to defeat everything Obama tries to do. They're not smart enough to realize that Obama can't run again in 2016. They are still trying to make him a "one-term president," as McConnell so bluntly stated back in 2009. That's why I plan to never vote for another Republican. I've seen what they are, and how they operate.

    December 26, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  14. skytag

    @NealR2000: "This President doesn't do deals as he is fixated upon his view of social justice."

    I don't buy this assessment. I think the president would deal if Republicans had been willing to work with him. Unfortunately they worked relentlessly to vilify him during the 2008 campaign. As a result any willingness to work with him was seen by their constituents as working with the devil. They'd cast him as hating America, white people, freedom, capitalism, to the point that working with him has simply not been an option for them politically. Any Republican who has been willing to work with him has been soundly condemned by the Tea Party and anyone else on the right.

    December 26, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  15. HenryMiller

    A "do-nothing" Congress is exactly what the country needs! Every time those meddling busybodies pass a law, it's a net loss for freedom, a loss that, in addition, wastes more trillions of bucks.

    "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."

    Congress is the problem! When those dolts get busy, we get saddled with Obamacare. Or they start another war somewhere. Or some Leftist nut wants to pass a Scary-Looking Gun Act or some Rightist nut wants to append the Christian bible to the Constitution. We don't need this.

    "Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself."

    "It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native criminal class except Congress."

    "This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as when the baby gets hold of a hammer."

    "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session."

    —Mark Twain

    December 26, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  16. Daryl

    201 Democrats..... Obama "reps", not American "reps"

    December 26, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  17. aj

    I wish they wouldn't do anything. Every time they pass something it's a disaster. More debt or more foreign aid. All they know how to do is spend more money and give themselves a superior retirement program and superior medical insurance then the rest of us get. Then we have to pay for ours and theirs too.

    December 26, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  18. randy greimer

    This is the worst president ever he should be impeached

    December 26, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  19. joe

    Its time to clean up DC once and for all. Lets get rid of them!!! Stay involved and vote them out!!!

    December 26, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  20. jaws3119

    Terrible congress, terrible president, get rid of all of them. Doing nothing would be better than the crap coming out of Washington. President is on holiday, tell him to take the next three years off. Enough is enough!!!!!

    December 26, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  21. IDoubthIt

    If they signed 400 bills into law, and they are all useless or harmful, would that be better?

    December 26, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  22. Paul Prejean

    Compared to the last Democratic congress who passed laws they didn't even read this isn't that bad.

    I'd rather a congress not pass laws that they fully understand as opposed to one who passes laws that it doesn't even read.

    December 26, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  23. Jon

    I agree Us working Americans need to march to Washington and demand change, in any job there would be severe consequences for the things they get away with. DO NOTHING CONGRESS seems just about right.

    December 26, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  24. Wade

    That is to be expected since Obama rejects everything they try to do and Obama is the worst President in American history. You need people that can work together . Obama does not play nice with others. He has an I AM GOD complex.

    December 26, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  25. skytag

    NealR2000: "Bill Clinton [Obama] is not."

    Comparisons with Clinton aren't really fair. Things were very different then, making it much easier for Clinton to work with Republicans. They economy was always better under Clinton. Granted, it was fueled by growing consumer debt and a stock bubble, but we were never in recession under Clinton and people are much more willing to compromise when there's enough to go around and everyone is feeling good about the economy. When economies are bad people are much more divided.

    Also, the Republican party has changed considerably. Even Newt Gingrich, the guy who worked with Clinton has criticized Republicans for having nothing positive to offer.

    "Gingrich blamed the problem on Republican culture that rewards obstruction and negativity instead of innovation and 'being positive.'" — CNN, August 14th, 2013

    December 26, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
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