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. p muench

    This is a blessing. Most of our problems come from congress doing something, so the less they do the better off we are.

    December 26, 2013 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  2. Dirge13

    And the President's approval ratings are the lowest since Nixon's. It's a bad job all around. Plenty of blame to spread. Time to hit the reset button.

    December 26, 2013 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  3. David M

    This is not a "do nothing" Congress. They have arugued like spoiled kids, they have put our economy at risk, they have worked to further their own personal goals such as re-election, they have made the US govt an embarassment for the American people, and they have managed to collect their paychecks and lucrative benefits. So, how can anyone say they have done nothing.

    A do nothing congress? Hardly. They have also managed to get the lowest approval rating ever. But that does not seem to phase them in the least.

    December 26, 2013 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  4. Mike

    Yet they (Congress) still works less then a half year calendar! I am sure they will vote themselves another raise for their fine work on a shutdown though!!

    December 26, 2013 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  5. colin in Florida

    Folks, the way to fix this is at the polls. I have vowed to not vote for any current member of congress for the next 6 years. If enough incumbents get voted out, we may see some change.

    If that does not work, then we, the citizens, must insist on realistic term limits.

    December 26, 2013 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  6. Kathy

    Congress has always been at odds with one another. The difference lies with a good leader.

    December 26, 2013 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  7. HeyHey

    Meh, I don't need a thousand new laws yearly.

    December 26, 2013 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  8. JLXvsElvis

    Let us not forget this when the political attack/election ads start next month. Dump: Rubio, Cruz, Paul, Boehner, any teabagger candidate. Dump all republicans and half democrats.

    December 26, 2013 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  9. hubert39

    Kind of funny. In the past Americans had said Congress has passed too many laws. We don't want the US government telling us how to run our lives. Now the American public said congress didn't pass enough laws.
    It's damn it you do and damn if you don't.

    December 26, 2013 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  10. ncgh

    Unfortunately, when Congress does do something, it's usually trampling our rights, or benefitting some special interest.

    Sadly a 'do nothing' Congress may well do the least damage.

    December 26, 2013 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  11. rexcraigo

    The less they do the better.

    Except of course getting the NSA out of our lives would be a good thing.

    December 26, 2013 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  12. Indyswimmer66

    "Useless" is a good term for Congress. None of them should have been paid for this past term!

    December 26, 2013 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  13. 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. We're doing little for the environment, 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 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  14. Bug

    Just like they promised

    December 26, 2013 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  15. Bobbo

    So, is CNN trying to push for a dismissal of congress and an extension of powers for Obama and perhaps the senate? I hate to give you "Breaking News" CNN, but your "GOD" Obama is equally useless. CNN also keeps pushing that only 60 bills have been passed in the first year of this congress.. so what? If the rest of the bills are useless garbage - which is 99% of what the so-called "Liberals" keep bringing to the table - the fewer bills passed the better!

    CNN, your trusted name in Fascist news!

    December 26, 2013 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  16. Kelly

    Better to be a 'do nothing' Congress than a 'do bad' president....... Nothing he has done has been smooth. What would you expect with Zero experience.....

    December 26, 2013 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  17. Boo

    And yet people will still vote for these parasites. VOTE ALL INCUMBENTS OUT!!! BOTH PARTIES!!!

    December 26, 2013 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  18. Namejohn

    The GOP will from next year,stay in opposition for long bcos they are evil.They are there block everything good about this country.They hate the growing minority and nasty comments about them.The immigration bill has stuck under their desk 7 months after passing the senate .They should note that every vote counts n we the growing minority are going to vote against them everytime unless they change their attitude towards us but for now they are doomed for real

    December 26, 2013 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  19. Michael

    How about we say we leave congress out of the title and just replace it with "U.S. Government"

    December 26, 2013 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  20. Steve Martin

    Hell giving them coal for Christmas is too generous! Maybe a barrel of monkey spunk would be more appropriate! And yes this is the real Steve Martin.

    December 26, 2013 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  21. Indyswimmer66

    The sad thing is... some of those dolts on the right side of the aisle are probably quite proud of this "record."

    December 26, 2013 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  22. poopseal

    Unconscionable people sent to office by fools who voted for them are exactly what the devil needs for Obama to have his evil way with the Americans. Obama is incapable of thinking outside the Marxist/progressive box and Congress enables him every step of the way by never raising an objection.

    December 26, 2013 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  23. 1Bigboy

    What the CNN/ORC poll proves is congress has accomplished the one thing they intended to accomplish, undermining the faith in our system of government. Rather than govern they instead purposely undermined the process and function of government to ultimately undermine the will of the people. Shame on them.

    December 26, 2013 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  24. Obammy's dream

    More of the BLAME on the Republicans,right?.
    .right?

    December 26, 2013 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  25. Shawn_A

    Oh, they did do something alright, the screwed veterans and military retirees. However, it will be the same garbage next election because no one will vote for anything else.

    December 26, 2013 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37