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. Insane1

    You really don't need a poll to tell you this. Just ask anyone and the answer is the same, we are in trouble. But one thing that most people do not realize is the problem on the horizon and closing in on us fast. The problem of the US Dollar being taken out as the worlds reserve currency. It is in the making and we are in trouble. We need a congress that can stop the over spending and lower the debt or we will crash soon. Obama has mounted more debt than any other president in history. We better make a change or the change coming will make us fall into chaos. We don't need to point fingers and blame at anyone now, we need to as Americans make the choices and get things changed or our future is dark. Vote out everyone and start clean with the right choices (if there are any).

    December 26, 2013 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  2. PoliticiansREvil

    Congress is only half the equation. Leadership starts at the top, Clinton did well with a GOP controlled congress (like BOTH HOUSES) This guy can do nothing with an equally divided congress and all he seems to do well is word games, finger pointing and blaming his predecessor.

    December 26, 2013 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  3. Bill

    Let's face it, the only time Congress got off its collective butts was to STOP spending reductions from actually happening. They dismantled the sequester and called it a "bi-partisan budget deal". Gutless.

    December 26, 2013 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  4. forwhatsright

    It is just too bad that the representatives don't care that they are thought of so poorly. As long as the tiny sliver of the population that they represent supports them, they're just fine with that.

    December 26, 2013 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  5. PaulG

    Do nothing also means they are not passing poorly thought out and/or harmful laws...seems like the people crying about the "do nothing" part have an agenda (liberals to include MSM).

    December 26, 2013 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  6. Truth

    Idi0t Democrats will think this points to Republicans only. They will go down in 2014 continuing to think that as well as that ObamaCare was a success.

    December 26, 2013 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  7. apanda

    Good, every law is spending money and every law has dozens of add on's for pet projects which are really bribes for Congressional votes. Here's a good idea, instead of making new laws and programs how about they cancel 5 projects or programs in a yr. That would do more for the Country.

    December 26, 2013 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  8. ustateach09

    Too ba we can' cut their benefits! Man talk about a gravy train!! They need a reality check so they can actually relate to us – you know the ones who pay their salaries and perks!

    December 26, 2013 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  9. independant jim

    this congress has no agenda except to make the president look bad the senate republicans have filibustered more legislation than any other in history for one purpose to make Obama look bad the house has voted time after time to lower taxes on the rich , repeal Obama care and strip the power to regulate industry nothing to improve the lives ,education ,jobs or a living wage its the same old thing reject anything the administration puts forward and give more power to corporations the middle class is nothing for this congress to be concerned about

    December 26, 2013 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  10. 老屄壳子闭嘴

    the handpicks by wall street, have done all the right things for those who picked them

    December 26, 2013 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  11. Discussed American

    They should all resign or withhold their paychecks until they start showing some work for it.

    December 26, 2013 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  12. ED1

    You need to look at the do nothing Democrats they are not working for the majority just the people that don't pay taxes.

    BEFORE YOU SAY ANYTHING OVER 90% OF THE TAXES ARE PAID BY 2% OF THE TAX PAYERS.

    December 26, 2013 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  13. louenglish

    Big government progressives will never get it. We don't want the Congress to generate a bunch of new bills, laws, programs, regulations. Our Grand children are already buried in debt. Our health care system, although not perfect, is being destroyed. Small business entrepreneurs are being drowned in petty regulations.Enough already! Do less!

    December 26, 2013 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  14. America needs No Parties !

    "We the People" need to stop voting for Democrats or Republicans. Both are bought and paid for by the Special interests, Lobbyists, Global Corporations, PACs, Unions, and most of all Wall Street !
    In the fall of 2014 find a write in candidate. Maybe one of your neighbors? Elect Citizen representatives again as the Founding fathers had design the Government to work in the first place.
    No more career politicians. No more parties. No more ruling class. Just regular people. people who know what working is. People who do not want to make it a life time job. Those who wish to service and return to their homes.

    December 26, 2013 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  15. Bobby

    CNN showing it's progressive roots again...yawn

    December 26, 2013 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  16. johnc

    The "do nothing" Congress can't get coal for Christmas because "my way or the highway" President won't allow coal and the "politically correct" Senate won't acknowledge Christmas. Dang.

    December 26, 2013 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  17. styxhexenhammer666

    And this is surprising why?

    Neither the house nor senate knows what they're doing- which mimicks the same problem we see in the white house- pretty sad when the court system is actually the most effective branch of government.

    December 26, 2013 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  18. ben_marko

    Ok...the poll is new, but is the opinion?

    December 26, 2013 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  19. Dragonmoon

    It seems to me the article is a good argument for term limits ..... But then again everybody thinks that their Rep. is good and all the rest are bad ........go figure .......

    December 26, 2013 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  20. Dean

    I wish Obama had been a 'do-nothing' president.

    December 26, 2013 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  21. Organic1

    Nothing like stating the obvious.

    December 26, 2013 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  22. Craig in Pa.

    If the goal is for smaller government, I say start with the Congress...we don't need 537 (or thereabouts), congress persons @ $174,000/yr. I say cut it to 50, and each Congressperson stays in their state, meeting with their constituents most of the time , and then going to Washington once a year to get things done from what they learn in their home districts. Their pay should be more realistic, like maybe $50,000/yr., No lifetime benefits or pension, and no housing to pay for in DC, and their staff could also be cut drastically. It would work better than the mess we have now...They need a face slap of reality...it is long overdue.

    December 26, 2013 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  23. rnandan1

    I agree the worst ever ! No other congress can do more damage to the country purely based on ideological difference and a 'my way or the highway' attitude these GOONS in Congress have – holding us all in ransom. Should get rid of these pests and bring educated and common-sense based people to represent us

    December 26, 2013 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  24. The Elephant in the Room

    The whole 50% everybody'"s policies [Dems/Republicans /Obama] are wrong is not useful for progress. Those are people too wishy washy to call a spade a spade. The GOP lost a majoriry of votes for the Presidency, for the Senate and for the House. ONLY via GERRYMANDERED, overly oddly shaped districts could RED state govenors Nd legislatures ENGINEER a Republican majority in the HOR. The root cause of this "Do Nothing Congress" is that Gerry mandering BY REPUBLICANS. If Americans are feeds up with Congress then FIRE the Republicans instead of letting them CHEAT & GAME the system.
    Vote for a DEMOCRAT as your state representatives & Governor. Vote for a Democrat as YOUR CONGRESSMAN in 2014 & 2016. Vote for a Democrat for President in 2016. THEN if it doesn't IMPROVE, if we continue to have a Kdo nothing" Conress, HIRE ALL Republicans.. But the only way to make Congress behave & work together is to punish 1 party and its the GOP that DESERVES to be made an example of. John Boehner is not leadership material.

    December 26, 2013 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  25. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    How could anyone ever refer to this as a "Do-Nothing" Congress. After all, didn't the house pass close to 45 bills outlawing, banning, defunding or eliminating the ACA? Didn't the Senate have more Filibusters that the 112 combined Congress that preceded it? If that isn't "doing" something, I don't know what is. Granted, just about everything they did was negative and designed to not give President Obama any credit for accomplishing anything. but they still did something, even if that something was to obstruct everything that their own constituents wanted or needed, because President Obama also wanted it.
    The sad thing is this coming November, the very people who the Republican party has spent the past two years undermining (retirees, active military service members, veterans, military retirees, etc.) will probably turn out in support of the same people who have gone out of their way to deny them their benefits.

    December 26, 2013 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
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