December 26th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
12 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. ThomasE

    When will the sheeple realize that both parties are 2 sides of the same coin? That's why I never believed the hope and change soundbyte. There will never be any hope much less change until we stop voting for the lesser of two evils. Thank God I vote libertarian. Economic Conservative, Social Libertarian all the way.

    December 26, 2013 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  2. MightyMoo

    When you have a government that is bought and paid for by both sides you get nothing productive done. This has been a slowly growing problem over the years in America and only the recent Citizens United case has made it flower in to the Congress and President we see today. American's only have themselves to thank for this since their country is run by paid off politicians.

    December 26, 2013 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  3. Pete

    Well, what do you expect from a government that lacks credible leadership.

    December 26, 2013 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  4. sifto

    This post is a joke–Obama will not negotiate with any republican–how can you people blame it all on congress? all MSM brainwashing...

    December 26, 2013 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  5. Steve, New York City

    Yes – agreed. Hard to be happy with the congressional performance of either political party.
    Although the recent budget agreement, headed by Paul Ryan, finally brought a little relief, this congress has been horrible. Loud mouth do-nothings from both sides of the fence (Cruz, Pelosi, others) seem content to simply argue, while they quietly collect millions from their real bosses - the lobbyists.

    December 26, 2013 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  6. ghastly

    This congress has done plenty.......of harm.

    December 26, 2013 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  7. Rick

    Year after year we see the poll numbers drop for congress, and yet most of them get voted back into office. America we have the power to change this by voting all of them out of office. The DNC, and the RNC, keep them in power by using fear. They depend on groups that select a person to run against them, that will never gain much or put the two party system out of business.Both Democrats, and Republicans blame each other, they count on misdirection to stay in power. Each year some talking head makes the news on how to fix Washington, and the game goes on. How about this for and idea, Fire all of them, and forget the idea of terms limits, they will never vote for it. Here's the plan regardless of how you feel, and your party you support, vote someone else into office. If you must have a Democrat or Republican in your district, then vote the old one out. according to this story you can't do any worse with someone else. Show the parties who is in charge. Lets start a movement, Fire Congress all of them.

    December 26, 2013 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  8. FKC

    They've had this socialized health care bill sitting in a cabinet for a hundred years, just waiting to attach it to the right popular face and try to pass it by the American people. Obviously they're not going to do anything, they've been waiting a long time to get this passed into law. Oh and if you think the Republicans aren't in on it as well, you're smoking that loud!

    December 26, 2013 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  9. woodlander2

    I am not convinced doing nothing is bad, when I compare 2013 to 2010 where we got the ACA, Dodd Frank, almost got a carbon tax, tremendous bailouts with taxpayer money and over the top spending. I will take do nothing over do the wrong things all the time.

    December 26, 2013 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  10. Steve

    I could accept "do nothing" (perhaps this is less damaging to the country), if they weren't so damn corrupt!

    December 26, 2013 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  11. Josh

    This is what happens when a small number of right wing crazies determined to undermine our democracy hold us all hostage and stop the government from working and then claim that government does not work.

    December 26, 2013 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  12. Coffee Party

    I don't get people.

    They voted in the GOP to the house because they wanted divided government to stop so called "bad one sided" legislation.

    Then when the congress accomplishing exactly nothing, the people start complaining nothing got done.

    These two parties will never have "useful" bipartisanship as long as the corporate media continues to divide us into two separate football teams based on lame stereotypes.

    December 26, 2013 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  13. Karl

    that is because of the tea baggers

    December 26, 2013 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  14. DF

    We elected these officials, and with due respect to voters in each party, people didn't necessarily make bad choices. Given people's goals, probably most people made the *right* choice. So what happened?

    What happened, I believe, is that running the country has become so complicated, the decisions so many, that the US simply can't progress as quickly as it would like to. Nationalized health care, just as an example, took years to work out in theory, and now appears to be going through yet another extended period of adjustment. That single issue consumed many people's attention ... for YEARS. And there are a dozen others like it, or worse.

    You can choose high-speed transport, or international relations, or the economy, or schooling, etc. One of my pet horrors is species extinction. We're doing practically nothing about it, and in the meanwhile 72,000 species are leaving the planet forever, each year. At this rate, nothing will be left alive on Earth in 200 years.

    It's NOT that we have a do-nothing Congress so much as we're trying to do to much, and not prioritizing well.

    December 26, 2013 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  15. meltemi

    and what little they did do did a lot of damage.

    December 26, 2013 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  16. I OpT OUT

    I'd say the congress that passed the aca without reading it was the worst one

    December 26, 2013 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  17. t.f.

    Worst part, it seems as if Congress doesn't even care that they've done next to nothing. Fire 'em all.

    December 26, 2013 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  18. michael

    No, surprise here! Repuglican obstructionist anarchist with their tyrannical anti-government, anti-women, anti-minorities, anti-poor, anti-middleclass ideas have made themselves the boogeyman and invisible to most Americans! If, it ween't for the stimulus package passing, raising taxes on the rich (a little) and executive orders our economy would be in the ditch! Repuglicans with the help of the media just spin their way out of this label with, lying, misleading, inaccurate, incendiary, inflammatory, ridiculous, and outrageous comments with no merit! A typical smear against this President! Bigots and idiots in congress (especially the House)

    December 26, 2013 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  19. Jeff Cohee

    The 2014 mid-term elections can't get here soon enough!

    December 26, 2013 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  20. Nate

    I love the gridlock. Economy is improving, government can't screw it up.

    December 26, 2013 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  21. Average American

    If Obama a had not destroyed the coal industry, he would have had a dump truck of coal. Worse President since Jimmy Carter.

    December 26, 2013 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  22. Bob_Oso

    My wish is that this sentiment would carry over to the next elections. Vote the bums out! I will not vote for any incumbent in congress, regardless of their party affiliation. Sadly, most voters will not do so for the fear that the it will allow the "other" party a stronghold.

    December 26, 2013 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  23. Adam

    It's a shame as far as we've come as a nation that such a congress even exists. With that being recognized as a nation, why oh why, have we not changed our politic drastically? First I propose all politicians take a massive pay cut. a standard 25k to 30k salary should be in place, after all police much like the LAPD officer who off the clock mind you risked his life to save a man from a burning vehicle, isn't making nearly as much as the majority of our politicians. Second a term like 1 to 2 years possibly 4, should be mandatory and all politicians should be voted in. Third per state there should be at least 50 people per state appointing a voted in speaker by the state to represent the state views and budgets in congress/politics all. Fourth all people voted in to any branch of government county, state, or country should be voted in using phone app, internet, or poll. (American idol made it work). I have many more views that reflect what people need. We are no longer an era left behind, technology has brought us together and yet at the same time tore us apart. Many folks I talk to don't even want to hear about politics or news because of the negative stereo type associated with most topics presented, such as the congressman who stated that many of the people don't see what is happening in other areas of congress which is why we only have a negative view on congress. Is he saying the news is to blame? I say that we are overly worried about blaming someone instead of realizing there is a serious problem in our system and how to fix. STOP BEING GREEDY PLEASE!

    December 26, 2013 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  24. Fred Phred

    I'm not sure what we are paying them for? They have the best health coverage in the nation. A pension plan most us of would kill for.

    And the only thing they can agree upon is voting themselves raises each year. Must be a nice job if you can buy an election.

    I'd rather just send them all home and stop paying them at this point.

    December 26, 2013 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  25. Rob

    One could argue that less new bills is actually a good thing.

    December 26, 2013 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
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