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. C Cookson

    If 2/3 of Americans think this is worst Congress ever (I agree BTW), why is it that 2/3 of them will be re-elected at the end of thier term?
    American voters have gone insane, we keep electing the same, incompetent people, but expect different results. We're getting exactly what we deserve.

    December 26, 2013 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  2. AnnonUSA

    All elected by "do nothing" voters.
    If we want to change things we all must do our part to vote out ALL incumbents, and vote outside party lines.
    Time to break the "balance" and vote in more independents.

    December 26, 2013 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  3. Wilbie

    I grow tired of the "do nothing" Congress. Do nothing "Republican Congress" is more to the point. Republicans in Congress have blocked more bills than any other on record. Their agenda: to make sure government fails so that they can later boast to their constituency that "big" government fails and we need less of it. It like pouring sugar in your gas tank and then feigning surprise when it won't start. Great plan Republicans , keep up the good work. And yeah, and thanks for the government shutdown, it was your coup de grace.

    December 26, 2013 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  4. hannah

    VOTE THEM ALL OUT! Even after Sandy Hook and all the other tragedies, they have done absolutely NOTHING about gun control!

    December 26, 2013 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  5. Topher

    "This is a do nothing congress" forced to work with the worst president in American history.
    This will be a sad chapter in future history books.

    December 26, 2013 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  6. freshtread

    Congressional approval ratings rarely break 50% in the positive. Check out the historical gallup polls. Interestingly, people tend to like there representative, but disapprove of Congress as a whole. This is old news.

    December 26, 2013 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  7. Man in the middle

    Thank God it's a "do-nothing" Congress. It beats our "destroy-everything" President.

    December 26, 2013 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  8. Randy

    Salaries of members of the United States Congress is $174,000 per year. THANKS FOR DOING NOTHING !!

    December 26, 2013 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  9. Jerry Dryer

    You needed a poll for this? Why not spend time giving the news on how this is a do nothing congress. You spent little time on how the Senate changed the rules on filibusters and make it sound like the other side couldn't do it anymore. That is not true. They just have to be there in person to filibuster a Judge.

    December 26, 2013 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  10. Daryl Hensley

    If it was voted the "Most Do Nothing Congress" how can it also be voted "Worst In Our Lifetime?" Sounds like an oxymoron to me!

    December 26, 2013 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  11. Jason

    Only 2/3? Congress must be thrill

    December 26, 2013 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  12. CvilleJohn

    Well this is not exactly "breaking news" is it? But just watch, we will re elect 97% of these jokers because of gerry mandering. Or the mistaken belief that every one else' s rep is the problem, but mine is ok.

    How about this as a solution? An amendment that says all congressional districts within a state must be a) geographically contiguous, b) must all have the same area (within 5% or so), and c) must have the same population (within the same 5%). There's probably some flaw with that, but maybe something like that.

    Once these folks realize that they have to respond to the people and not their party, they maydo something.

    December 26, 2013 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  13. freshtread

    The historical gallup polls indicate that the American people rarely approve of Congressional performance at a rate above 50%. However, the same polls indicate that people generally like their own representative. Perhaps it is easier to criticize something that is not yours?

    December 26, 2013 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  14. Flabergaster

    High net worth individuals are concerned about the deficit and are being properly represented by Congress. Meanwhile the people want jobs, but Congress works against the economy at every turn.

    December 26, 2013 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  15. pk

    I would think that since next year is an election year, Congress could at least get off their butts and do SOMETHING. Would prefer to fire most of them and level the playing fields

    December 26, 2013 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  16. Sarahaikins/Dumfries,VA

    Its all because of ignorant rascist GOP/teaparty who have made up their minds to oppose Obama on everything,these GOP will never win any elections anytime soon.they are hurting the country & the world,its sad

    December 26, 2013 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  17. Larry

    We just have to vote smarter – get rid of the GOP – forever:)

    December 26, 2013 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  18. Richard Long

    But Obama,"The Great Uniter", was supposed "usher in an era of unprecedented cooperation"...

    December 26, 2013 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  19. GrainofSalt

    Our elected officials really need to start paying more attention to the people who put them into office. This constant "My way not your way" between the different political groups is really starting to hurt the country as a whole. As unfeasible as it sounds I wish we could just scrap the whole lot of them and get a new batch of younger congressmen and congresswomen to shake things up.

    December 26, 2013 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  20. Living_The_Dream

    Sounds like the "Do Nothing" Congress needs more incentive to "Do Something". Make their paychecks incentive-based / released based on milestone accomplishments. When they ran for office, they made promises to the American people in return for being elected / sworn into office. Before they are elected into office, they should produce a schedule to the American people and a plan of how they will implement their promises. With each accomplished milestone on the plan, they would receive a paycheck. If every Congress member had to abide to a similar system, they would either: a.) not run for office in the first place because they do not plan to fulfill their promises, b.) work hard as a team to meet the milestone so that they can receive a paycheck, or c.) not get paid at all because they did not keep their promises. Right now, there is no accountability or incentive to keep promises or work together as a team.

    December 26, 2013 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  21. Kevin

    Sometimes it's a blessing in disguise when the m0rons don't make any laws.

    December 26, 2013 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  22. dsorph

    Vote out the incumbents, then, like we did once before.

    December 26, 2013 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  23. Opinions?

    Congress is functioning as it was intended to. Key word: WAS. The slow and deliberate change that Congress provides once served our nation well. A slow pace meant that issues were thought out in full detail before a consensus was reached. But those were simpler times. Change in American society and values historically happened at a much slower pace than what we are now undergoing. Think about it. Rapidly increasing technology and a greater access to information has resulted in a more and more progressive society. Each generation of people is now distinct from the ones before it. This was not the case when Congress was founded. The change that we see in 10 years might have take 50 years, or even longer back then. The current rapid pace of change is not a bad thing, though. I think almost everyone would agree that we are better off now than we were then. (We are healthier, live longer, and are better educated.) Our Congressional woes stem from the fact that we are using a system that is out of date. We can no longer afford to debate an issue for 5, 10, or 15 years, because society could be completely different by then. The current system assumes that society will remain static for however long the issue is under debate, but this is obviously no longer the case. There is no quick fix for this problem, but it seems to me that we need to rethink the way Congressional decisions are made.

    December 26, 2013 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  24. Walter

    More law which just result in more taxes and more restrictions? I'm glad we got a "do nothing" Congress. Keep it up folks.

    December 26, 2013 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  25. yoshimoto

    two words – term limits – the pols are afraid to do anything to help the country because they are too worried about getting re-elected – this is not supposed to be a career – you help the country and you get out...

    December 26, 2013 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
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