Poll: Only 3% of voters think Congress is very productive
August 4th, 2014
09:13 AM ET
1 month ago

Poll: Only 3% of voters think Congress is very productive

Washington (CNN) – Democrats are fond of labeling the 113th Congress "the least productive Congress in modern history."

And according to a new poll, a strong majority Americans agree with them.

Nearly three-fourths (74%) of registered voters said Congress has been "very unproductive" or "somewhat unproductive" this year, according to a poll released Sunday by NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist College.

Only 19% of registered voters said Congress has been "somewhat productive," while only 3% of registered voters said the senators and House members of Capitol Hill have been "productive."

Sunday's poll is just the latest data point that shows how unpopular Congress has become.

According to Gallup, only 15% of Americans approve of Congress, while just 7% say they have "a great deal" or quite a lot" of support for the legislative body.

Another Gallup poll from 2013 also found that Americans have more faith in the ethics of car salespeople, TV reporters and lawyers than members of Congress.

Democrats, who say House Republicans are the ones blocking legislation, have hammered Congress for its lack of productivity.

"This has become the least productive Congress in modern history, recent memory," President Barack Obama said in April repeating a charge that Democrats have made a number of times.

House Republicans, however, contend that it is the Democratic Senate that's keeping Congress from getting anything done.

Last year, House Speaker John Boehner was asked about becoming the least productive Congress in history. Responding to the criticism, Boehner said Congress "ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal."

The telephone poll conducted between July 28-31 of 634 registered voters has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.9%.


Filed under: Congress • Polls
soundoff (107 Responses)
  1. casual observation

    He said alot, did any of you rwnj hear it, of course not. SMH

    August 4, 2014 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  2. Gurgyl

    --I bet those three percent are farmers of with no education, mountain dwellers, canyon diggers, mine goers, fishing people with no electronic gadgets, whites with only narrow brains sometimes none at all, Texas state remote area guys with no internet, no telephones, no cable with typical third world status, I bet third world is getting better now, and with typical racially motivated in modern era. I pity you, USA. World is changing–you change.

    August 4, 2014 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  3. Dead Bear

    I'll bet the 3% who thinks this Congress is productive believes that obstructionism is good governance.

    August 4, 2014 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  4. MaryM

    Those 3% are not paying attention. Oh and BTW, the dog and pony show that the republican house presented to Americans regarding border security funds, which will do Nothing to help, will be remember and replayed for All Americans just in time for the 2014 elections.

    August 4, 2014 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  5. HenryMiller

    Considering that what Congress "produces" are endless new laws to saddle the country with, the last thing we need is a "productive" Congress. And since most of those new laws have the net effect of wasting vast amounts of money, screwing things up, and/or playing havoc with peoples' lives, we'd all be better off if the clowns just stayed home.

    August 4, 2014 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  6. Boomer in Mo

    Congress does not care about the American people, only impressing the money men so they can rake in as much as they can while in office, get their family members high-paying jobs and one for themselves later. Congress are is made up of hired hands for the wealthy and business, including foreign businesses. Get rid of all incumbents running in November and get more of them two years from now and finish off the last of them in the Senate two years from then.

    August 4, 2014 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  7. HenryMiller

    @Dead Bear: "I'll bet the 3% who thinks this Congress is productive believes that obstructionism is good governance."

    "I would remind you that obstructionism in the defense of liberty is no vice!"

    Anything that stops the insane Democrats is a good thing.

    August 4, 2014 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  8. Rick McDaniel

    That's because the media doesn't REPORT the TRUTH!

    The media supports the Marxist dictator........and conceals the fact that Obama is controlling the Senate, and with that control over the Senate, through Harry Reid, controls the Congress, to prevent passage of any bill that is not EXACTLY what Obama personally wants.

    CNN, like most of the media, has nothing but partisan, hard core Dems, as their reporters, so the truth is being totally ocvered by by these so called reporters, and the government has total control of the media.

    August 4, 2014 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  9. Marty

    Surprised it's that high

    August 4, 2014 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  10. guest

    the 3% comes from misinterpreted sarcasm:

    "Hi sir, do you think congress is productive, it is for our poll."

    "What? Are you serious? Oh ya buddy, they are super productive, in the way that a stagnant lake is a productive source of drinking water, get out of here."

    "Got it, very productive, 5, thanks for your time."

    August 4, 2014 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  11. excuse my rant

    error in the poll is +- 3.9% so the true percentage could be negative. :-)

    August 4, 2014 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  12. Fair is Fair

    So what's the metric they base this on? By how many bills are written? By how many are passed? By how many become law? There is no valid metric to gauge Congressional "productivity". And there's no valid metric to gauge Congressional "effectiveness" either, since that's always going to be looked at through partisan eyes.

    Stupid, stupid poll.

    August 4, 2014 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  13. pjoe

    Congress has been unproductive ... but that's ok by me. We have libraries full of laws. The tax code alone is estimated to be over 73,000 pages. Maybe we need a 50 or so Congressional sessions devoted to just reducing the number of laws in the vain hope of unshackling citizens from the endless reading of boring law books (or didn't you know that ignorance of the law "is no excuse" in our courts of law). Yeah I know ... sigh ... I know ... it will never happen. That's why I'm perfectly fine with unproductive Congressional sessions ... at least they don't add much to my reading list.

    August 4, 2014 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  14. Rudy NYC

    When is America going to realize that they are electing regressive people to Congress whose only purpose is to make government dysfunctional because they hate it? Some regressives simply want rid themselves of paying taxes, while others want to reshape government into a theocratic plutocracy. Others have even more extreme reasons. Whatever their reasons, they do not have helping their fellow Americans in mind. They are only helping themselves.

    August 4, 2014 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  15. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair

    So what's the metric they base this on? By how many bills are written? By how many are passed? By how many become law? There is no valid metric to gauge Congressional "productivity". And there's no valid metric to gauge Congressional "effectiveness" either, since that's always going to be looked at through partisan eyes.
    ------------------------------
    It's based upon how many government shutdowns, credit debacles, and other unprincipled standoffs that have occurred since the Tax Evading Americans invaded Congress.

    August 4, 2014 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  16. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Well when your only goal is to make the sitting POTUS a one term President and you fail, then you're right. I remember when I think it was Boehner admitted the GOP had no plan except to obstruct the POTUS. But 3% is still too high to me.

    August 4, 2014 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  17. Sniffit

    "3% Thinks Congress Is Very Productive"

    Did the survey ask what substance these people believe Congress is producing? I have a few I could list that won't make it past the moderators....and if that's what we're talking about then that 3% is 100% correct.

    August 4, 2014 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  18. Dean

    The House has passed 352 bills that are just sitting in the Senate with no action being taken. 'Do-nothing Congress', perhaps...'Do-nothing Senate', definately.

    August 4, 2014 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  19. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    There is one curious fact that the media has seemingly pushed aside. The day before this increased level of rocket attacks by Hamas began Netanyahu made a rather surprising statement. He admitted to something. What he said was not surprising, but the fact that he publicly admitted his feelings was shocking. I was shocked. "He said WHAT?"

    It has long been stated that Hamas' goal is the complete destruction of Israel. Netanyahu admitted that his goal was to wipe out and exterminate Hamas. It was something that we knew or may have suspected in the back of our minds. But, I never expected any Israeli official to openly admit it. Shortly thereafter is about when the increased rockets attacks started flying towards Israel out of Gaza.
    ----------
    So what? Hamas is a terrorist organization, labelled as such by our own State Department. You got a problem with the US goal of exterminating Al Queda?

    August 4, 2014 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  20. Randy, San Francisco

    The scary part of the story isn't the political dysfunction in Washington but the 3% who are uninformed and clueless.

    August 4, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  21. Human

    Unproductive?

    Americans elected Congress to stop Obama after Obamacare was rammed down our throats behind closed doors. I would say they have been pretty successful. We just need to wait another two years or so.

    August 4, 2014 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  22. Sniffit

    "The House has passed 352 bills that are just sitting in the Senate with no action being taken. 'Do-nothing Congress', perhaps...'Do-nothing Senate', definately."

    The House GOP/Teatrolls passing symbolic, non-starter political messaging legislation is not a good faith effort to get anything done, particularly when coupled with their refusal to conference anything when the Senate enacts its own legislation on the subject, as is supposed to happen to resolve the conflicts between the House and Senate bills and compromise on the legislation. They send everything to the Senate with a sticky on it that reads "our way or no way." That's not an effort to get things done...that's deliberate manufacture of legislative gridlock.

    August 4, 2014 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  23. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair

    So what's the metric they base this on? By how many bills are written? By how many are passed? By how many become law? There is no valid metric to gauge Congressional "productivity". And there's no valid metric to gauge Congressional "effectiveness" either, since that's always going to be looked at through partisan eyes.
    ----------
    It's based upon how many government shutdowns, credit debacles, and other unprincipled standoffs that have occurred since the Tax Evading Americans invaded Congress.
    ---------
    I must have missed that in the wording of th poll question. Partisan hack... smh

    August 4, 2014 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  24. Gunderson

    Humm,
    This Poll taken among the Nanny Staters who are scared their handouts are about to end. It is real smart to put someone else in charge of your life. Hey, you voted for it!

    August 4, 2014 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  25. Marcus (from...?)

    To the ones that are actually praising the obstructionism as 'necessary to stop Democrat agenda' or whatever...
    That's not how democracy works dudes and dudettes, the majority of the country wants somebody from the 'A' Party as the POTUS and his supporters as the majority in the Senate, but not in the House, the ones who are from the 'B' Party have all the right to be the opposition to that government. It's what is expected from them.
    To filibuster their own laws, to block hundreds of federal appointments, to pass laws that are so extremely partisan that have no chance to be signed by the POTUS, to conduct 1,2,3,4,5, 6 'investigations' over the same 'scandals' that are revealed to be fabrications by the chairman of the investigation board (or whatever is Issa's official job), to lie and smear about pretty much every single act of the president and ultimately SHUT DOWN the government (and be proud of it, in front of the cameras, until the public reaction makes them lie that they were always against it from the start...)...
    Is not be the opposition.

    August 4, 2014 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
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