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. BLE7481

    "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."

    For those who truly understand our Constitutional republic, that would be far more a compliment than a criticism. The entire federal government is designed, if not to do "nothing", to do very little – and to make the doing even of that very difficult. (All those pesky checks and balances – you know, the stuff three quarters of the American public slept through in their social studies / civics classes.)

    December 26, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  2. Chuck

    I think those poll numbers are low.

    December 26, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  3. Biff Smith

    The fact that we have a Democrat in the WH in his second term and a Democratic Senate, yet more people blame Republicans for the lack of action is telling. Republicans have become an anti-government party.

    December 26, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  4. MCFx

    Misleading Poll:

    1) CNN is trying to cover for Obama having the lowest Approval Rating in CNN's tracking. We have a "Do Nothing President" who doesn't know what's going on and doesn't have the experience to get the sides together to get anything done.

    2) Most Americans will give Congress as a whole a low mark rather then give their own state's Senators and Representatives much, much higher marks.

    3) Since when is a Congress graded on how many bills that are passed. Is that what we need in this country...more laws??? Wouldn't it have been great if the Democratic lead 2010 Congress that passed Obamacare was a "Do Nothing Congress". We'd be in really, really good shape right now...and Obama's approval rating would probably be through the roof just on his smile.

    4) CNN here is trying to turn Obama's failed presidency into a Truman presidency where he won reelection campaigning against Congress. The difference is that the Dems have been in charge of the Senate from 2006 to Today and in charge of the House from 2006-2012. Add to that the Presidency from 2008 to Today and you can see what happens when you put a bunch of "Do Nothing Liberals" in charge who would rather campaign than get something done (can someone say Immigration Reform?)

    December 26, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  5. Keith

    I have been voting 45 years, this is the worst congress of my lifetime

    December 26, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  6. Jay


    December 26, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  7. GT

    So who keeps electing these bozo's? Are we that stupid to believe their propaganda every time they come up for reelection?

    December 26, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  8. IDoubthIt

    What we need is 500 Obamacare type bills signed into law each year.

    December 26, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  9. lagarto

    A "do nothing" Congress is good, as we have way too many laws micro-managing our lives and out of control spending. The only thing better than a "do nothing Congress" would be a Congress that was repealing existing laws and reducing spending.

    December 26, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  10. sf

    we have republicans and the tea party to thank for this mess...anyone who thinks different is simply a fool. you voted for them...and NOW you want to complain? typical american bs

    December 26, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  11. Keith

    I have been voting 45 years, this is the worst Government has been in my life time

    December 26, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  12. VJ

    Filibusters = become standard, obstruction = standard, repeal Obama care = 50 times, Passing anti-abortion bills, passing mlb commemorative coin is important.. Job bills = bad for rich.. Moreover, they (reb) don't want to work with president no matter what... Cut, cut, scissors cut the spending... growing defense – top priority, giving big farmers subsidies top priority,giving subsidies to other corporations top priority, we don't care about jobs, poverty, raising minimum wage dangerous to the country, corporate ceo's pay has increased 271 % no problems, immigration – bad for the country and on... When we have this much happening in Washington, how can we expect growth in economy.. I think next time vote comes in it should be -ve for congress.
    We elect officials to resolve problem not to create problems = later holds true for current congress.

    December 26, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  13. gary

    Time for the Green Party!

    December 26, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  14. Lars

    For those who see Republicans as doing their jobs by disregarding, obstructing, or blocking the people's business have got it all twisted; which makes it readily apparent that conservatives are not inclined to compromise in anyway, shape, form, or fashion...and if shutting down the government hasn't been proof enough to convince those who are still in denial about the true priorities and intentions of the GOP, then one can easily say that our once great nation has truly lost its way.

    BTW, I can easily see the Democrats following the current obstructive GOP tactics should they once again end-up as the minority party in congress, and just like now, the peoples business will once again be left un-done.

    December 26, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  15. Voice of Reason in NYC

    I guess CNN couldn't sit idly by while Obama was garnering the worst poll #s of his Presidency so to bail him out they had to commission this poll about Congress, huh?

    December 26, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  16. JennyTX

    Why do conservatives think that reducing spending will magically solve all of our problems? How will "less government" solve our education, environmental, and infrastructure problems?

    December 26, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  17. Simpleman

    Everyone says that we have a do-nothing congress. Yet everyone will continue to vote the do-nothing congress back for another term. It's time we seriously think about term limits for all elected officials. We have it for the president why not congress.

    December 26, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  18. Walter

    Bwahahahahaha! Yeah. Lead with this CNN. Not the fact that the poll ALSO says that Republicans now hold a five-point lead in the generic ballot, a ten-point turnaround, I believe, in two months.

    And it's only gonna get worse for your party, CNN, when the proverbial chickens come home to roost.

    December 26, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  19. Banjofoot

    We will continue to have a do-nothing congress as long as we keep electing the "stars" of each party. This is America at its commercial shallowest. Style over substance. Everything is an "image". It's too easy these days to gain political office by wrapping yourself in a flag and drive mama to church on a tractor through small town America. That's the "image" of America but it's not the reality. The reality is the man on the corner with a cardboard sign looking for work or the mother who lives in a shelter getting her kids ready for school but has nothing to feed them. The reality is more people on unemployment and foodstamps because the jobs have been sent overseas and all that's left are low-wage part-time service industry jobs.
    The reality is corporate welfare leeches who hide their profits in offshore tax shelters and don't recirculate the money where it does the most good. America. Fascism is at our doorstep and congress is ringing the bell.

    December 26, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  20. t.f.

    Things might go better if we remembered there is supposed to be a separation of church and state. Too many in Congress get caught up in their own religious ideals that they can't function for ALL the people, not just THEIR people.

    December 26, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  21. Canineok

    A "do nothing" Congress ( that's the Seante and the House) is a blessingwhen you have an empty suit in the White house.

    December 26, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  22. Rudy NYC

    If you want to know what America would look like under a Republican president and a completely Republican controlled Congress, then just look around at the red states where Republican governors have a Republican controlled legislature. Almost all of them are complete disasters for the citizens of those states.

    Golden Boy Governers Walker and Christie both enjoy some of the lowest jobs growth and the highest unemployment in the entire nation. The states along the Gulf of Mexico rank at or near the bottom of metric of society that you can measure. They have the lowest average incomes, the highest death rates, the most pollution, the lowest high school graduation rates, etc. Do we want their sort of social engineering at the national level?

    December 26, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  23. Daggerstab

    Well, there is no fixing something that has been broken for so long. You just about have to start all over again. This government no longer has the "people's" interest at hear, and hasn't had it for a very long time. Laws, money and politicians go hand in hand, and the war between big business has left the little guys like you and me in oblivion. I have nothing against big business, but the lobbying and the corruption that moves behind the scene is the main reason for the evident collapse of the foundation that enabled it to surge to those proportions in the first place. In order to restore and preserve the magnificent, simple ideals that were created long ago, we must eliminate all lobbying and money from the political scene. We need not a government that caters to wealthy, but one that devises the proper principles for all of mankind.

    December 26, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  24. Voice of Reason in NYC

    I blamr Reid and Pelosi. they set this country on an impossibly bad course. Obama's just their stooge, just like GWB was industry's and theright wing of the GOP's stooge.

    December 26, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  25. SeattleExplorer

    Those polls do and mean nothing. Each individual congressperson will blame the low rating on the other congressperson and look at their own polls (which are always higher than the collective).

    December 26, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
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