December 26th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
4 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. Tampa Tim

    Bush's disapproval was at 77% for his worst. But his presidency reflected the second and third terms of Hoover, who gave us the first great republican depression.

    December 26, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  2. ThinkAgain

    The GOP has spent the last five years trying to break government so they can blame President Obama and the Democrats.

    If you're dumb enough to fall for this, I can't help you (and wonder how you manage to get dressed in the morning).

    If you can see through this scam by the repub/tea bags, then GET OUT AND VOTE in 2014 and send everyone with an (R) by their name packing.

    December 26, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  3. Goby Dillis

    Party lines, The crazy republicans and their misrepresentations of prosperity, The crazy democrats and their misrepresentation of progress. These groups are to one sided to comply with their constitutional oaths and are very poor representatives of the republic. Their core understanding of the society that their decisions impact or even the extent of those impacts are completely beyond their consideration. It seems what we really need is a modification of our electoral pools and the qualifications that make one eligible. Which representative is going to sponsor that bill would be a question if we didn't already know the answer was none. Social harmony comes from social equality and social justice. It seems to be that both sides are doing more damage than good when it comes to the core values of what is really best for the people. They are making a mess by claiming sides while really serving the top. That is why they are failing and this country is so short on stability. =(

    December 26, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  4. John C.

    More like a do-nothing presidency...

    December 26, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  5. Willy Nilly

    The same moneyed forces that worked against the people during the past at least 20 years are still at work trying to maximize their fortunes at the cost of the rest of us. The only way to fix this is to dump the current members... everyone that is up for election... and to keep turning them out until we get representatives who work for us. In order to do that effectively, eligible voters must vote! Pay attention to the candidates, insist on substantive answers to your questions. Don't let them off with vague promises that you know they can't fulfill. Find out who is donating money to them and then choose wisely. Go to the polls and vote for your own best interests.

    December 26, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  6. NYVeteran

    DO NOTHING would be an improvement. They hurt the poor, the homeless, the unemployed, and all of the meek who should inherit the earth. The GOP Grinches have caused real hurt based on fake fact, junk science and evangelical religious sociology. Their day will come as they sit in the front pew each self righteous Sunday and say Amen, then violate all ethics and morality on Monday through Saturday. Frauds and charlatans all. I am sure they spent Christmas asking, "are there no prisons? no workhouses?..."

    December 26, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  7. Kevin Green

    Thank god they did nothing, the only thing the government can do is get in the way of it's citizens. Best congress ever. If your waiting on the government to do something for you, you've all ready failed at life.

    December 26, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  8. Voice of Reason in NYC

    What should they DO? They're stuck working with the least competent President since Taft.

    December 26, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  9. Sniffit

    "The sad thing is that after years of Republican obstructionism, stonewalling and filibustering, the majority of Americans (sadly to say) still believe the Do-Nothing Congress is a 50-50 fault split."

    Yeah, but have you seen Obama's "tan"? Stick a white guy in place of Obama and have him do and say the same things Obama did all along and the entire GOP/Teatroll strategy of obstruction on EVERYTHING that they enacted from the moment he took office...it never would've been tolerated for this long and never would've resulted in polling numbers like this. NEVER.

    December 26, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  10. Phattee

    Let's face it, the American experiment has failed. Time to split into a conservative America- where income disparity is celebrated, Christianity is the official state religion, science is outlawed, and abortion and homosexuality are punishable by death- and a liberal America, where the taxes are sky-high, but people are at least able to enjoy a decent standard of living.

    December 26, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  11. no clue

    The real poll is the American public is just a bunch of tards and continue to vote in those same do nothings just to complain more about it.

    December 26, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  12. ora pike

    obama has done enough to make up for it--obamacare???? susan rice on CBS 60 minutaes stating that the deaths of our troops is "false controversy", LIES ON TOP OF LIES-just a few-YOU CAN KEEP YOUR INSURANCE, IT WAS THE VIDEO, NOBODY TOLD ME, WE DID NOT KNOW, IRAN IS GIVING UP THEIR ENRICHED URANIUM. Congress cannot make up for all this plus 27 more issures like fast and furioiius, IRS, etc.

    December 26, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  13. Kent

    It doesn't help when Rand Paul and Paul Ryan get all the attention. They are both lightweights.

    December 26, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  14. Roger Triton

    The Tea Party was a slick move, too bad they're not the austerity. Errr I meant majority.

    December 26, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  15. debc

    Get rid of McConnell and Boehner and the country would eliminate 99% of the problem we have. Running thord would be Paul Ryan. I am a middle of the road political follower but it appears now that Republicans are the crooks and culprits. Sadly, we will elect them aain and suffer through the same crap they have inflicted on us for decades. Get rid of all politicians. Every one!!The first that says no as Washington now does should be shot at high noon on the Washington Mall. Cooperate or get out!! Start with McConnell. Grabd Boehner next. Then Ryan. By that time, others would fall into line.

    December 26, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  16. Riada Kram

    Good. The less they do the more chance we have to retain the very last vestiges of liberty and freedom we currently enjoy.

    December 26, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  17. Kevin

    In my humble opinion the less laws the US congress passes the better. Do nothing is a good thing. We are an independent people and should be treated as such.

    December 26, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  18. Rod C. Venger

    Congress the worst? I don't know about that. In my lifetime, 50+ years, Congress has done too much, not too little. Constitutionally Congress is supposed to meet from "time to time" to take care of the nation's business. Instead it's become a regulatory agency that meets year round with short breaks here and there. California has the same model and look at it. It's a shambles. Texas' legislature meets once every two years and while you may not like Texas...without knowing why and without having ever lived there...it's economy and it's society is not crumbling.

    December 26, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  19. openyoureyes

    Do we really think that MORE laws and regulations from the government or congress is a good thing?? Really!? Government is there to GOVERN and politics have done nothing but to corrupt the entire system, putting special interests and individual greed ahead of the needs of the citizens of the US. Take the poitics OUT of governing, downsize all of governement and reign in entitlements and we may be able to get back on track. The answer is NOT congress doing more, they should be doing less!!!

    December 26, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  20. willy

    How many times has Harry Reid said he would not allow a vote, actually deny a vote and on top of that Obama promising to VETO a bill if for all purpose was not written by himself and for himself?

    December 26, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  21. Brad

    Unless I'm mistaken, EVERY congress is considered a "do-nothing" congress. Seems that their sole purpose is to nay-say and block anything a president wants to accomplish.

    December 26, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  22. Simple faith

    John Boehner, you still have a chance to redeem yourself. It is time for you to start bringing bills to vote. Do what is in your heart not what others tell you to do.

    December 26, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  23. IpseCogita

    Nothing is the best thing that any congress can do. They rarely make things better when they "address problems".

    December 26, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  24. Sheila

    I expect this year to be as stagnant as the last 4 or 5.....Once we get back control of congress, and a republican president, this country will at least start going in the right direction

    December 26, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  25. edmundburkeson

    Odd story to print when the approval rating of Congress has actually gone up in recent weeks! CNN does this when they are feeling threatened by the facts.

    December 26, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
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