December 26th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
10 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. James of New Rochelle

    term limits and age limit... Get out your only hurting the country

    December 26, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  2. gideon sanchez

    I would rather them do nothing rather than pass legislation like the Affordable Care Act. At least they did no harm. Many people forget that the country is roughly divided in half so that make compromise the only way to get things done and as long as the wingnuts on both sides have as many advocates as they do today, nothing will get done, which considering the alternatives, is not a bad thing.

    December 26, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  3. jamie

    The sad part is this empire is going downi in front of our eyes and due to our locked down political system there is not a single thing we can do about it.

    December 26, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  4. Independent

    Oh, but they were worthy enough to give themselves raises.

    December 26, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  5. paul321

    We got the congress we wanted as a voting public – we voted in a bunch of narrow minded extremists with a 'no-compromise bring down the existing government at all costs' agenda. Really! .... what did we expect? Unless we are prepared to vote for moderates- and have a realistic view of where moderate really lies – then this will continue.

    December 26, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  6. Randy

    Salaries of members of the United States Congress is $174,000 thanks for doing nothing

    December 26, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  7. Rafi

    It's time to work congress

    December 26, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  8. Gary

    We all know the rich politicians would never make law for term limits. We The People, For The People can. It’s simple; cast all your votes for the incumbent, regardless of their party. This goes for local, state and national elections. THERE IS NO OTHER WAY TO TURN OUR COUNTRY AROUND.

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

    This is a poll that CNN generates to offset the HORRIBLE poll numbers of their God leader Obama.. I also realize that Congress is made up of the SENATE as well as the House.. Obamacare is the story in 2014, not Congress. Obama and the people who supported his legislation will be the issue. Thank God that Obamacare finally proved that it was junk legislation and the Republicans can run far and fast from it when the Company requirements kick in late in 2014. Dems will have nowhere to hide and no posterboy Obama to help them raise election money.

    December 26, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  10. Ruthann Adamsky

    The budget for next year is estimated at around 3 trillion (!?!) dollars. Congress tells us we have to cut back on scientific research, food and medical care for the poor, education for all children and promised payments to military personnel. Without being too rude-what the *expletive deleted* are they spending the money on? Did they all just refurnish their offices with million-dollar credenzas?

    December 26, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  11. Dave Kaspersin

    CON Gress really accomplished a lot. They took good care of the UPPER 1% on the BACKS of the rest us.
    And fattened there on pockets!!!

    December 26, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  12. Larry L

    @randy greimer

    "This is the worst president ever he should be impeached"
    ---------
    Imagine a football team that had just completed a losing season. So the owners hired a new coach in hopes of turning things around. But half of the coaching staff wanted a different coach so they decided (on the very first day) to work towards a losing season rather than support the team. The upset coaches sat on the sidelines booing the home team and refusing to do their jobs. Still, the remaining coaches and the players pulled the team out of the slump and started winning games. The team didn't win the conference but had a much improved season. At the end of the year the fans had seen enough – and demanded the disloyal, rogue coaches be fired. Experts predict a championship season next year...

    December 26, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  13. Rick McDaniel

    The Congress is under the direct control of Obama...........he controls everything the Senate does...........and prevents the House from having ANY input at all.

    December 26, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  14. Sniffit

    "That sentiment exists among all demographic and political subgroups. Men, women, rich, poor, young, old "

    It's pretty simple: when your entire shtick revolves around the premise that gov't is broken and cannot do anything right and is not the way to solve problems, ever, then what do you do? That's right, you get into gov't and you make darn freekin sure it's broken. It's the breaking gov't to "prove" it's broken self-fulfilling prophecy. Then you run around saying "See? I told you so!!!" and hope that the ubiquitous distrust and dissatisfaction with gov't that you've deliberately manufactured becomes a source of fellow ideologues and supportive voters. To the GOP/Teatrolls, the above quote about just how pervasive the dissatisfaction truly is reads like this: "You're winning over minorities, youth and women by proving yourselves right, and thereby beating back demographic Armageddon." Their delusions are strong. Please proceed.

    December 26, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  15. Wynn Silence

    Dictators don't need a congress.They only need mindless news reporting and mindless readers.Huh CNN?

    December 26, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  16. Regina90210

    The problem is with the questions asked in the polls! Most polls are designed to support one political goal or another. Example from above: "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," Now try this question and you will see 80% agreement on "both sides' . Do you believe we should FIRE all politicians and start over? The poll questions skew the results FOR POLITICIANS who use them.

    December 26, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  17. President Obama (would likely say)

    It's all Congress's fault. I'm the best president this nation has ever seen.

    December 26, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  18. Mistro

    President Obama – empty suit

    December 26, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  19. Sniffit

    "Obama and the people who supported his legislation will be the issue."

    And by March, that won't be working out quite the way you'd hoped.

    December 26, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  20. sosdn

    I like this congress (which is composed of the democrat controlled senate and the repuplican controlled house of representatives) better than the 112th BECAUSE it can do nothing. As Frederick Douglass once said, "Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us." Who was Frederick Douglass? A famous African American who lived in America during the time of the civil war. 3 guesses what he was talking about.

    December 26, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  21. Regina90210

    Ask this poll question instead: Do you agree that she will fire ALL the politicians and start over? You will see an 80% support for all voters. WHY? Because polls are designed as part of a self-fulfilling prophecy for POLITICAL PARTIES who want CONTROL. The parties can always come up with a poll that supports their control freakery. I say flush them down the drain and start over. the FIRST test of EVERY politician should be a LIE DETECTOR TEST. We have been electing "the best liars" for too long.

    December 26, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  22. HWB

    There are no moderates in the democrat party. That will be their doom.

    December 26, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  23. Sniffit

    "At least they did no harm."

    Yeah, other than the objectively measurable damage...like the $24B yanked out of the economy by the gov't shutdown, the measurable economic slowdowns whenever the gov't shutdown and debt ceiling hostage games and brinksmanship start again, cutting food stamps which removes $1.73 from the economy for every $1.00 of food stamps cut, giving out hundreds of billions of subsidies to industries that don't need it, failing to enact any jobs-related legislation so that the economic recovery could be slowed and they could blame it on Obama, failure to enact any stimulus measures, failure to extend unemployment insurance which will also worsen the demand vacuum the GOP/Teatrolls have cultivated, etc. Yeah, no damage...doing nothing automatically means that there couldn't possible be any consequences because, well, you did nothing, right?

    December 26, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  24. gstlab3

    I think we could avoid the whole darn thing if we just created a system not unlike jury duty which is constitutional and a tried system that works and if you'd like the qualifications used during the Draft and or Selective Service could be used to screen out the people who should not or cannot lead us towards freedom and liberty.

    Everyone of age and health would be subjected to serving their fellow countrymen and women and thus have a direct stake in what happens in Washington D.C..,
    It would mean that finally for those of us who would lead us all big and small., strong and weak without the corrupting connection to political activists and big corporate money fueling our bogus political campaigns

    December 26, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  25. Cindy

    I blame the whole darn bunch of them. We have had "a do-nothing government" for many years when it comes to our own interior matters. The only difference is............ now it is getting noticed.....................

    December 26, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
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