Do you know who controls Congress?
June 26th, 2014
05:06 PM ET
4 months ago

Do you know who controls Congress?

Washington (CNN) - Just 40% of Americans know which political party controls the Senate and the House of Representatives, according to a national poll.

A Pew Research Center survey released Thursday also indicates that about a third of the public can correctly name which party controls one of the two chambers of Congress, with 28% coming up completely empty.

The poll also suggests that the more partisan a person, the more knowledgeable they are about the current political landscape on Capitol Hill. The survey divided Americans into seven political groups, and the three most ideological and partisan groups scored higher on the question of control of Congress than the rest of the categories.

Sixty-nine percent of business conservatives, 60% of solid liberals, and 54% of steadfast conservatives were able to correctly answer that the Democrats control the Senate and the Republicans control the House.

The Pew Research Center poll was conducted January 23-March 16, with 10,013 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus two percentage points.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: Congress • Poll
soundoff (107 Responses)
  1. John McLain

    The Business Party controls Congress, aided and abetted by Republicans and Democrats.

    June 26, 2014 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  2. Changing dynamic

    I wonder how many realize the level of control is about to change in both branches of legislature.

    June 26, 2014 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  3. barb'sbarb

    The corporations, the lobbyists,

    Gov't of, by, for the oligarchs

    June 26, 2014 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  4. really

    yes congress currently enjoys a super low approval, but does it tell them anything? ... we'll see how they get it wrong.

    June 26, 2014 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  5. GongoG

    Officially, the Democrats control majority in the Senate and the Republicans control the house.
    In reality, the Republicans can monkeywrench anything that comes through the Senate and a pathologically vociferous minority controls the House.

    Behind the scenes, the REAL control is a moneyed elite working through K Street lobbying groups to pull the strings and get favors done for their clientele.

    We decry the small time bribery, cronyism, and nepotism that goes on in foreign countries when the hypocritical United States' system is exactly the same on a MUCH MUCH larger scale.

    June 26, 2014 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  6. The_Koch_Brothers

    Congress is controlled by those that pay for it. Let's start with the Kochs and go from there.

    June 26, 2014 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  7. BUD

    Congress is controlled by the military complex and their lobbyist.

    June 26, 2014 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  8. Bdon

    Clearly, no one controls Congress.

    June 26, 2014 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  9. Alex

    I thought it was lobbyists and their clients

    June 26, 2014 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  10. S. B. Stein

    If the question is "which party is in charge?" then it is an easy question. If it is who exerts the most influence, then there is some room for debate.

    June 26, 2014 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  11. scott

    Earlier today on CNN I saw at least ten people call it the Republican Congress.

    June 26, 2014 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  12. plain & simple

    When you wake up and realize that what goes on around you, in your schools, community, hospitals, local and state taxes, is within your power to effect. That's when you start to pay attention and begin to make a difference in the world. Until then you are putty in the hands of the man. Republicans vote every year to do away with public education. As our nation succumbs to this narrow elitist endeavor. People become less aware and more able to be manipulated and controlled by fear. Wake up!!!

    June 26, 2014 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  13. panz4ever

    "Do you know who controls Congress?"

    it is not republicans/democrats, it is not Conservatives or liberals. it is all special interest groups. Can you say the health nsurance industry, can you say the oil industry, can you say the auto industry. Hell that is just 3 of how many? Come on CNN you can do better than that ( or maybe not).

    June 26, 2014 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  14. Westfield

    The lobbyist control congress

    June 26, 2014 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  15. iceload

    Corporations control congress and frankly they prefer to keep the parties equal but thats about as much as they care. As long as they have a "team player" picked.

    June 26, 2014 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  16. Reggie from LA

    The Koch brothers, Fox News, ALEC, the NRA and Ronald Reagan posthumously (of course they like to forget how Reagan raised taxes so many times that they lost count, then whine about Obama). Let's see, Carl Rove, Grover Norquist (been kinda quiet), and Mitch McConnell...to name a few

    June 26, 2014 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  17. brant

    (OPEC) write's a check to congress.. you see kids we need an independent party to help run this country and take our gov't back.. here's the truth
    Accountant A = Democrats
    Accountant B = Republicans
    Accountant C = Independent

    The ideology is Accountant A checks B, checks C and what C checks A
    This my dear Fellow Americans is true (Checks) and balances... So until then there is not going to be a fair democracy...
    You think you vote for a president LOL... No there appointed by bloodlines just like King ans Queens were in the medieval times... WAKE UP YOU FOOLS ALSO I WOULD like TO GIVE A ROUND OF APPLAUSE TO THE ILLUMINATI...... HATS OFF TO THE ALL SEEING EYE (THE TRUTH HAS SET US FREE)

    June 26, 2014 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  18. DamnGoodReason

    Perhaps only stupid people participate in telephone polls. Most everyone else just hangs up.

    June 26, 2014 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  19. BostonFred

    The plutocrats who own everything and everyone.

    June 26, 2014 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  20. Aloisae

    "The Real Tom Paine

    That explains how FOX can whip up the mob so quickly, since so few of them bother to learn current events, much less history."

    If you look at the report, it is actually more of the liberal categories that didn't know which part controlled the House and Senate, not the conservatives. The group categorized as "Business Conservatives" were the most likely to know who is currently in power.

    Maybe you should have said "That explains how CNN (or substitute in any other liberal leaning news outlet) can whip up the mob so quickly, since so few of them bother to learn current events, much less history."

    June 26, 2014 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  21. Thomas

    Why Boehner Can’t Sue Obama .

    Because he would have to sue GW Bush first ?

    June 26, 2014 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  22. JML

    If I don't have politicians under my influence, I don't really care.

    June 26, 2014 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  23. smgordon

    everyone knows ( but afraid to admit) that Corporations are running this country. They buy influence and political clout through donations to Politicians

    not just democrats, not just republicans , it is ALL who is being bought.

    Ban all corporate donations , special interest donations, Lobbyist donations, and PAC donations. they corrupt the entire system.

    June 26, 2014 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  24. PhooBar2

    Who controls congress?
    Phizer, Chevron, Goldman-Sachs, BP, Comcast, Astra-Zenica, GM...
    The list is long and none of your names are on it.
    If you think that the Republicans or Democrats are controlling this country, I admire your delusional idealism.

    June 26, 2014 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  25. bobby frank

    That is just really unbelievable! If you don't know what is going on then you are going to get screwed in life and not in just politics. Wake up Zombies before it is too late. The world is being destroyed and you are the problem. These so called "leaders" want to eat your brains and feed you bull so you better get a grip and start educating yourself about what is going on.

    June 26, 2014 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
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