Poll: Only 3% of voters think Congress is very productive
August 4th, 2014
09:13 AM ET
4 months 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. Anonymous

    @ Wake Up!
    I remember when I think it was Boehner admitted the GOP had no plan except to obstruct the POTUS
    -----------------------------------------------------
    It mgiht have been McConnell that said that.
    No matter,as they are interchangeable domestic terrorists as far as I'm concerned.
    I gota tell you the fact that folks think more of car salesmen than they do Congress critters denotes a new low.
    Hope you had a great weekend. Hello to my girl Lynda.
    Weaving and dodging the warden's "searchlight" here at work...
    See ya' when I can see ya' my sister.

    August 4, 2014 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  2. Norma Vessels

    I agree with you, Marcus (from ...?), the Republicans in the House, and the Senate, too, refuse to compromise in any way, because they don't want to help our President in any way. That's the total of it. Whatever President Obama wants or likes, they don't.

    August 4, 2014 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  3. Tone

    That 3% are the ones who didn't have schooling, and who ended up with an 8 grade education. Poor souls Gop suckers.

    August 4, 2014 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  4. CoolWater

    Is there such a thing as a productive Congress? Which one?

    August 4, 2014 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  5. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    And btw I agree with everything Marcus said!!

    August 4, 2014 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  6. Longtimer

    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.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++
    Be a good boy and take your meds. Denying reality does not make for a sound argument.

    August 4, 2014 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  7. OBAMA - THE OPEN BORDERS PRESIDENT

    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
    ++++++++++++
    Factually true and very seldom stated. The Senate refuses to even let amendments from the other party a majority of the time combined with an absent and divisive President. Democrats own two sides of the triangle now. We are in a sad state right now and will see if the November elections do anything to help. I read an interesting article that our country may eventually tear apart into two separate countries. May not be a bad thing if it can be done peacefully.

    August 4, 2014 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  8. Dee

    They can't be productive because they are too focused on blasting the President instead of trying to get something done. Every time you ask a question the answer is it's Obama's fault, we the voters are sick of them and then they take off for a vacation. The President has not had a vacation yet but as soon as he leaves they will be all over the air waves and he certainly needs one to get some rest and rejuvenate.

    These people are ridiculous the economy is growing and no one gives him credit the media is at fault too for not reporting the good things that are happening as well as the bad. The polls are not accurate no one asked me anything the polls fooled them before when the President won this last time.

    August 4, 2014 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  9. rs

    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.
    _____________________
    The metric for Congressional productivity has always been bills passed, and this Congress is at around 40% of those passed by the last Congress which was 50% of Truman's famous "do-nothing" Congress.
    But let's take another tack- how about issues? Let's list some GOP issues and match them to the number of bills passed:
    Immigration= 0
    Jobs= 0
    Economy= 0
    IRS/Tax reform= 0
    Gun Control= 0
    Minimum wage= 0
    Infrastructure= 0
    VA reform= 0

    We can go on. What about Presidential appointments?
    25% of our embassies have no ambassador- including Russia! Thank the GOP for their "secret holds" on appointments
    125- Judicial positions- unapproved by the Senate (ditto)
    2,500- Executive agency positions- including Treasury, IRS, BATF, FBI and more.

    The GOP is simply the machine breaker Fair, nothing more, nothing less. Their obstructionism, do-nothing-ism (especially for the American people) really calls their patriotism, and their motivations into question.

    August 4, 2014 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  10. rs

    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!
    ____________________________
    Fact: The so-called "Nanny States" could be defined as those taking the most assistance, wouldn't you say? If that's the case- you just called Republican-controlled states out for what they really are- the takers in our nation. If that is in fact where the polls were taken, the GOP is toast. Meanwhile- mull this- GOP approval nation-wide hovers at 20%.

    August 4, 2014 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  11. Rudy NYC

    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.
    -----------------------------–
    Guess what? Not passing laws has an even greater effect of wasting money, screwing things up, and wreaking havoc with people's lives. We *would* be a whole lot better off if the anarchistic regressives just simply stayed home.

    August 4, 2014 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  12. rs

    OBAMA – THE OPEN BORDERS PRESIDENT

    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
    ++++++++++++
    Factually true and very seldom stated. The Senate refuses to even let amendments from the other party a majority of the time combined with an absent and divisive President. Democrats own two sides of the triangle now. We are in a sad state right now and will see if the November elections do anything to help. I read an interesting article that our country may eventually tear apart into two separate countries. May not be a bad thing if it can be done peacefully.
    ____________________________
    I just love the way the Right threatens faux revolution, and violence because they cannot legitimately get their way. Cowards, hypocrites and liars they are.

    meanwhile- "bills passed" DOES NOT refer to garbage from the Hose or the Senate, it refers to bills that pass BOTH of the legislative bodies that head to the President's desk. You don't get to count Mr. Ryan's 20 page budget as "work".

    August 4, 2014 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  13. Rudy NYC

    OBAMA – THE OPEN BORDERS PRESIDENT

    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
    ++++++++++++
    Factually true and very seldom stated. The Senate refuses to even let amendments from the other party a majority of the time combined with an absent and divisive President. Democrats own two sides of the triangle now. We are in a sad state right now and will see if the November elections do anything to help. I read an interesting article that our country may eventually tear apart into two separate countries. May not be a bad thing if it can be done peacefully.
    =============================================================================
    Factually true, and way overblown and misstated. Democrats can filibuster bills, too, you know. Consider the content of those bills. About 20% of them were bills to repeal the Affordable Care Act. You also correctly point out that the majority of the time that Senate Democrats do not permit Republican amendments. I will also point out that the House Republicans exclude the Democrats 100% of the time. Republican amendments are always poison pills designed to delay or kill the bill.

    You stand there accusing Democrats of being divisive, while applauding some article promoting secession? Wow.

    August 4, 2014 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  14. rs

    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.
    __________________________
    You mean like not passing functional Budgets? Like not raising the debt limit when needed? Like shutting down the government (which alone cost tax payers $24 billion), or maybe you mean "symbolic votes" on the ACA – 56 to date at a cost of $1.5 million each?
    Congress has to function to deal with the issues of the day-jobs, economy, immigration, taxation and more. Thanks to Boehner and the TEA Party, and McConnell and his filibusters, nothing is getting done- and it is the GOP's fault. Why is the GOP fighting against a functioning federal government? Why have they positioned themselves as America's internal enemy?

    August 4, 2014 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  15. Marcus (from...?)

    About the 'magic' (sarcasm alert!) number of 352 bills passed from the House that are waiting to be voted in the Senate...

    How many are bills that the (D) in the Senate would only vote for if they were (R) in disguise or totally subservient to (R) wishes and demands (the (R) definition of bipartisanship?)?
    How many are bills that have 'counterparts' from the Senate?
    In this case, it's mandatory that both the House and the Senate sit together to try to 'amalgam' their bills into one... How many times did it happen and why it wasn't effective as it should be?

    August 4, 2014 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  16. jpmichigan

    What has happen to your government,t as we learn in school, how the system is supposed to work for all the people? The House debates a bill , passes it then sends it to the Senate to debate/make changes if needed, passes it, then either sends it back to the House to tweek or sends it to the President to sign or veto. Instead the House does its job, the Senate refuses to acknowledge the bill and the Presidents states he'll veto even before it passes the House. I see it as the President and Democrats stating give me exactly what I asked for without debate or forget the whole thing I'll just use Executive power of the pen and do as I want. The Senate went hope without doing anything, then want the American people to keep the Senate as is, please!!! We need a change in the Senate.

    August 4, 2014 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  17. Sniffing n Garggling Ozass in Tampa

    Yet another shining example of Obama "the Great Uniter" who was supposed to "bring about an unprecedented era of cooperation" has FAILED!!!

    A Real President would have been able to create an environment of compromise (i.e. Clinton, Reagan, etc.)
    Unfortunately we have a Community Organizer charlatan that has created a hopeless environment of divisiveness and blame.

    August 4, 2014 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  18. Boo

    Who are the 3%? That's what I want to know.

    August 4, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  19. Rudy NYC

    "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?"
    ==============================================
    Exterminating Hamas is Netanyahu's stated goal, not that of the United States. Neither has the U.S. ever came out and stated that they wished to "exterminate" anyone or anybody. You cannot exterminate ideas without causing genocide.

    August 4, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Marcus (from...?)

    About the 'magic' (sarcasm alert!) number of 352 bills passed from the House that are waiting to be voted in the Senate...

    How many are bills that the (D) in the Senate would only vote for if they were (R) in disguise or totally subservient to (R) wishes and demands (the (R) definition of bipartisanship?)?
    How many are bills that have 'counterparts' from the Senate?
    In this case, it's mandatory that both the House and the Senate sit together to try to 'amalgam' their bills into one... How many times did it happen and why it wasn't effective as it should be?
    -------------------------------------
    How many times have the Senate and House sat down for a budget conference since the arrival of the Tea Party? Never.

    In order to for the chambers to conduct a budget conference, or any sort of conference, they must first select representatives by way of a floor vote. Boehner has never brought up the issue for a vote in the House. Meanwhile, people like Sen. Cruz filibuster attempts to bring such a bill to the floor for a vote.

    August 4, 2014 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  21. Sniffit

    "Yet another shining example of Obama "the Great Uniter" who was supposed to "bring about an unprecedented era of cooperation" has FAILED!!!"

    Remarkable that you can manage to still type while in a coma.

    "A Real President would have been able to create an environment of compromise (i.e. Clinton, Reagan, etc.)"

    No POTUS could've created an environment of compromise with the GOP/Teatrolls this go-round. They made that abundantly clear from the get-go. The demagoguery and hissy fit tantrums started on November 4, 2008 and haven't stopped since. Everything from the birthers to the people who accuse him of being a secret Muslim. He even proposed a health care reform package that incorporated a mandate that the GOP itself proposed in response to Clinton's health care reform efforts and they ran around like little McCarthyists screaming about socialism, communism and Marxists hiding under everyone's beds. There is no way to find compromise with people who have sworn in absolutist terms...or even signed "contracts"...never to compromise with you or particular issues.

    August 4, 2014 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  22. smith

    When the extremes of both parties take over this is what you end up with. Both sides are guilty of not being willing to work together.

    August 4, 2014 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  23. casual observation

    Really, so now Obama is responsible for the racism in the gop, keep drinkin my man, your sounding just fine!!

    August 4, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  24. Lizzie

    Sniffit, we all know that ANYTHING that the republicans send to the senate is JUNK in your words, thus Harry Reid NEVER puts them up for discussion or a vote.

    August 4, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  25. Huh

    I've got a question.

    What is a productive Congress?

    It sounds like it might be a new oxymoron, like jumbo shrimp, hot ice, devout atheist, or crash landing.

    August 4, 2014 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
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