December 26th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
9 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. ThinkAgain

    @mikes: ""Do nothing Congress." You say that as if it's a bad thing. When Congress does something, they tend to screw it up. Not every problem is something which the Government is responsible for addressing, in fact, most aren't."

    I'm guessing you would say that we are an "exceptional" nation. Since legislation is created by Congress, then they must have been doing something right all these years.

    The problem is the current GOP/tea bag majority in the House and the GOP obstructionists in the Senate.

    Get rid of those folks, and things will get much better for everyone.

    December 26, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  2. Mike C

    Is it not a do nothing congress. They raised taxes on everyone. They passed Obamacare in the process millions lost coverage and saw their premiums go up. They raises ethanol standards and in the process gasoline skyrocketed higher. The list of bad polices goes on an on.
    Sooo.. do you really want congress to do anything?

    December 26, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  3. Jablabla

    ACA has not been repealed yet. Ya, it has been a do nothing congress.

    December 26, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  4. lex

    Between now and the 2014 elections, incumbents in the House will do their usual: talk themselves up to their constituents and blame the other party. And guess what? Their constituents will buy that crap and vote for them again.

    Ah the joys of incumbency.

    December 26, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  5. janis

    The powers to be prefer it that way......the American public loves distraction...to its own detriment..

    December 26, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  6. Jablabla

    Interest rates are starting to rise. This is a direct result of reckless debt and spending.

    December 26, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  7. Jeff

    The purpose of today’s government is to create and identify 'chaos' to grow their own power and purpose. This does not mean they actually have a solution to said chaos, but only they claim to come to you add, via your taxes and given authority. With this said, our current government is 100% great at growing debt as it funds it 'claimed solutions for fixing our chaos'. If an actual problem from chaos exist or solution to said chaos problem is an unknown, but do you worry, a government funded project will be created to investigate the problem.

    December 26, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  8. JMO

    This only matters if people are ready to get rid of THEIR congressman.

    December 26, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  9. Charlie

    If someone was trying to burn down my house I would gladly become and obstructionist. When the Democrat party is trying to destroy the greatest country the world has ever seen, the GOP would be foolish to sit around and watch them do it. I'm all for a "Do Nothing Congress". They certainly Do more harm than good.

    December 26, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  10. Bill

    The Republicans refuse to give on any issue. The Democrats refuse to give unless the Republicans do as well. Nothing gets done in a hyper-partisan, two-party system like we have now unless both sides are willing to negotiate and find middle ground. Neither side will ever get exactly what they want, but they'll find a compromise which is acceptable to them as long as they negotiate. Right now, that's not happening. I realize both sides are to blame, but I think if the GOP marginalized the extremist minority (Tea Party) and ignored the pandering of outside political groups and special interests, it would be a start. I do believe Dems are willing to do the same (ignore political groups, special interests, etc.) to start progress on key issues, but won't as long as the GOP refuses to budge on anything.

    December 26, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  11. ztarbod

    The democrats' "blame republicans for everything bad we do" has been a very effective strategy.

    December 26, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  12. Larry B.

    I just hope the voters remember this when the next Congressional elections come and act accordingly.

    December 26, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  13. Hooper

    Do Nothing? That's being as diplomatic as you can without having your head explode from the lie you just told.

    December 26, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  14. marcindc

    This congress is the perfect representative for an under educated, self absorbed and entitled voter base who elected an failed incompetent community organizer twice. These representatives who were voted into office by the voters to pass bills to see what's in them, or to spend money they don't have, or to take money away from other citizens to give it to non-citizens, taking over one sixth of the US economy with a healthcare system based on talking points instead of a plan, payoffs, kick-backs, corruption, self-interests... they truly are not that different from the majority of the legal and non-legal voters who put them in office. Stupid is as stupid does, don't blame the representatives; blame the morons who continually vote to put these same people back in office. The American people have the exact congress they deserve and voted for.

    December 26, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  15. jim

    Every year they are the worst ever.

    December 26, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  16. John

    And of course they can't deal with minor issues like a farm bill, immigration, or global warming....why?................they are TOO BUSY!!!!!!

    December 26, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  17. Jack33

    Remember back when all those people said "lets have a mix of both Parties, because gridlock is good!"? – well, here's hoping they have since learned what a dumb idea THAT was.

    What else did you think would happen? – You cannot expect Parties with goals that are in total opposition to each other to agree on anything. As long as the nation is so split, Government will be, and nothing will get done. Personally, I'd prefer a better mix of Government composed of democrats, labor, green party members, social democrats over this mess any day of the week.

    December 26, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  18. Scott

    How many times has the House passed something, and REID won't let the Senate vote on it? Or Obama threaten to veto anything from the House? It all starts at the top. This all started when the Dems AND Repubs were working TOGETHER on healthcare, then Reid, Pelosi and Obama's bureaucrats went and wrote Obamacare behind closed doors with no input from anyone in Congress. You don't think that had anything to do with the animosity on the Hill?

    December 26, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  19. Thomas

    " Retail giant and other top corporations “reap worker political donations through charities , major companies, “forbidden to give money directly to political action committees, are taking advantage of controversial federal rules allowing them to ask employees to do it for them in exchange for matching charitable donations.”

    Ted Cruz / Sarah Palin 2016
    A strong deodorant , yet feminine !

    December 26, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  20. PJ

    The GOP has made the US system look foolish throughout the world.

    December 26, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  21. Frank

    Have to disagree, at least when it comes to the House of Representatives. They did much to stop the Obama agenda. I am thankful for that.

    December 26, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  22. Belch

    Since we get god awful laws like Obamacare when they do something..I'd much rather have a do nothing congress.

    December 26, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  23. Jakinak

    Doing nothing is perhaps preferable to further destruction

    December 26, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  24. manu

    Congress only job is to pay the bills set forth by law and represent the public. This congress shut the govt down and almost bankrupt the nation and secondly with district gerremandering they only support special interests and the wealthy.

    December 26, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  25. American Worker

    Thank you Congress for not passing more stupid legislation.
    But you really need to get busy with your primary role of congressional oversight.

    December 26, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
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