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. Erick Holmes

    You people need to quit being SO DAMN NEGATIVE about Obama. If you would get off your fat lazy ***, and look at his track record, you'd be amazed. And for those who voted for Tea Party backed Congressmen, this is what you get. I have no feelings for you. Conservatives only care about themselves, no one else. But, you people find it far easier to blame Obama for our troubles. Not me. I think Obama's done a descent job. And no one ever gets what they want out of a president.

    December 26, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Joe Cool We could only have wished Obama was a do-nothing presiident. If so, the country would be much better off.

    much better off with 2 wars and thousands dying every day, or much better off with the old broken greedy private healthcare industry deciding who dies and who lives and for how much, or much better off with unemployment in double digits while the jobs jobs jobs party keeps naming post offices at 1.5 million cost a day?

    December 26, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  3. Paul

    This isn't about Congress. Its about the far-left, Progressive Democratic Party. They're extremists.

    Harry Reid and the Senate is the problem.

    December 26, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  4. Dan

    Great now if they would start to repeal so laws,it would be even better

    December 26, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  5. Juan

    People still receive the pay checks. Congress is NOT BAD at all. We have a LAME DUCK president.

    December 26, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  6. jacksays

    the problem is, most Americans feel that THEIR representative is doing fine, it's all the rest that are bad. So they'll vote their guy back in... effectively returning the Do-Nothing Congress intact.

    December 26, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  7. Nodack

    Obviously the poll represents that Democrats and Republicans are divided down the middle blaming each other for everything that is wrong with America.

    I am an anti Republican based on the last decade. Bush mass murdering hundreds of thousands in a fabricated war he fabricated and then after we all found out it was lies Republicans reelected him knowing he intentionally killed hundreds of thousands made me a lifetime anti Republican. Him doubling the debt and destroying the economy didn't even figure into my decision, but the way Republicans declared war on Obama from day one has left me totally disgusted with Republicans. They have done nothing but attack Obama and our government the day he was elected. They have totally blown off doing anything that might help Americans while Obama sits in the WH. They thought it would make me want to vote for them, but it has had the opposite effect.

    December 26, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    and somehow the gop thinks that nobody notices that they are the party of "NO"

    December 26, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  9. W

    Republicans ran for Congress in 2010 saying, "Washington doesn't work".

    Then they took majority control of the House of Reps and proved it by creating total gridlock and shutting down the government.

    December 26, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  10. snafie

    The system works. We got exactly what we asked for.

    We, the people are the ones that are broken. Just read these comments if you don't believe me: Dems / Libs are Satan, Repubs / Tea Partiers are dangerous wingnuts, Obama is a Commie and not even an American, throw all the bums out and elect the Dopey Party, "They" have to get their acts together even though "I" don't have to even consider "your" view, yada, yada, yada, ... I'm SICK of it.

    Congress' job is to represent us – and they do. WE have become a nation that uses seemingly every issue as a litmus test of a person's personal ideology. Congress is mirroring that.

    Ask yourself: When was the last time you heard the phrase, "the loyal opposition"? There used to be one of those. The last time you "respectfully disagreed" with someone? Began a reply with, "I see your point, but ..."? We aren't allowed to even see the other guy's point without being dragged through the mud by our own side (regardless of side). It appears that seeing the other guy's point is sufficient grounds for immediate termination from either Fox News or MSNBC.

    Compromise, once the hallmark of every important initiative undertaken in both the public and private sectors, has become a sign of weakness, maybe even disloyalty. There is no willingness to consider a different point of view and perhaps be influenced by it. And that's ALL on US.

    You want to fix Congress? Start with yourself. Show a willingness to support a Congressman with whom you agree on "only" 75% of all issues. Stop using a single issue litmus test, and make that choice known.

    Change the face in the mirror and the reflection will change as well. (If you already do that you are not part of the problem – but judging from the majority of these posts that's damn few of us.)

    December 26, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  11. Evo

    The problem with Congress is that it's full of congressman!

    December 26, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  12. newscale62

    When voters understand that politicians are nothing more than a reflection their constituency, there may be a paradigm shift.

    December 26, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  13. Scott

    How long until the 47 million uninsured Americans get their insurance under Obamacare? Democrats promise that will be finished in a jiffy.

    December 26, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    There IS a solution to the problem. Take a real good look at who is currently representing us in Congress and DON'T elect them again. If they can't get along....VOTE THEM OUT!

    December 26, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  15. Jonesy

    Why is this even a headline?Tea party congressmen never meant for it to be anything other than a 'do nothing 'congress.What is shocking,to republicans ,is that democrats have giving up caring what the tea people think and have to nuke the knuckle heads into good sense..

    December 26, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  16. Anonymous


    This isn't about Congress. Its about the far-left, Progressive Democratic Party. They're extremists.

    Harry Reid and the Senate is the problem.

    you mean the party that has tried to fix private healthcare industry, turned the recession around, reined in future costs are the problem extremists?

    December 26, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  17. American

    This congress didn't come to power through a military coup but through votes of IRRESPONSIBLE VOTERS.. So we Americans are to blame for it as well. We "irresponsible voters" voted for a "do-nothing congress".... we get what we deserve...

    December 26, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  18. Veritas

    This has been an awful Republican Congress...and STILL the Republicans are ahead of the Dems 49-43 going into 2014. That must be sooooo embarrassing for the Democrats...even a do-nothing Congress is better then THEM!

    December 26, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  19. Jeb

    The total gridlock began the day that Republicans took majority control of the House of Reps.

    December 26, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  20. Jeb

    The good news is that the tea party is destroying the GOP from within.

    The bad news is they'll probably destroy the country first.

    December 26, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  21. Vence

    So, this is a B.S. Congress!

    December 26, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  22. Veritas

    Wow the folks who were elected on a promise to give us LESS government made good on their promise and gave us less government. And this is a problem because? Liberals aren't used to politicians who keep their promises, maybe?

    December 26, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  23. chaing

    I am an older American and can say from experience this Congress is the worst! Both sides of the isle. Government and the people have never been so far apart. It has morphed into us vs. Them, corporations vs. Us, greed vs. Integrety. We are in trouble, folks.

    December 26, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  24. roger

    I hate to tell you people that blame either the Democrats or Republicans but not BOTH that it is the fault of BOTH parties and the current administration. Nobody wants to compromise. It's either what the party wants or nothing. What about what we want. You saw what happened when a Republican and Democrat worked together on a budget and compromised and got the job done. There was wailing on both sides. Until people can work together this country is going nowhere. Wake up people before it"s to late.

    December 26, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  25. Cranstule

    Reid and Pelosi need to head to the old folks' home. They're both clearly senile. If it wasn't for the Republicans we'd be history as a country with those idiots making the laws. Obama's whole agenda is to take care of "his" people (the poor) on the backs of the middle- and upper-class. This country is history.

    December 26, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
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