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

    "The same thing happens in the Senate so this is all a mute point. The only ones that ever seem to capitulate are Republicans. We all know the border deal from Democrats is a farce meant to delay any real reform and further escalate political divisions."
    -----------------------–
    Not true. You're being dismissive because you have no viable response to the facts, which are arguing against you. There have been a number of bipartisan bills come out of the Senate, which had no bipartisan counterpart in the House.

    Republicans simply want everything to break apart so they can blame Democrats. A bipartisan bill came out of the Senate last spring, the first one in years. What happened to it? Harry Reid brought a motion to the floor for a vote to select members to go to a budget conference with the House. McCain blew his stack when Cruz filibustered the motion.

    August 4, 2014 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  2. old age voter

    @ Sniffit

    When the Senate democrats and president Barack Obama don't get their partisan, no compromise, no conference legislation nothing get done! The Senate democrats and president Barack Obama WILL NOT negotiate; heard that from Obama before! It looks like the Senate democrats and president Barack Obama will be shutting down the government again.

    August 4, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  3. Above the fray

    Good thing we elected "The Great Uniter". LOL.

    August 4, 2014 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. smith

    @Rudy-The Dems aren`t willing to budge on pretty much anything just like the GOP. Your liberal bias just won`t let you grasp that concept.

    August 4, 2014 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "When the Senate democrats and president Barack Obama don't get their partisan, no compromise, no conference legislation nothing get done! The Senate democrats and president Barack Obama WILL NOT negotiate; heard that from Obama before! It looks like the Senate democrats and president Barack Obama will be shutting down the government again."

    Yeah, not negotiate on things that aren't and have never been negotiable, like raising the debt ceiling or funding the government without having to pay off the opposing party by giving them the equivalent of agenda doggy treats in order to get them to do their job and avoid horrible consequences of them failing to raise the debt ceiling on time or shutting down the government. Other than those situations, you can't name a single time the Dems and Obama have said they would not negotiate. And no, the ACA was thoroughly negotiated, tons of amendments were proposed by GOPers/Teatrolls and they were intimately involved in the entire process. Just because they are a minority and most of the hundreds of the amendments they proposed did not pass doesn't mean nobody would negotiate. Many many GOP amendments actually made it into the final legislation, such as Grassley's poison pill amendment to take away health care subsidies from Congressional staff.

    August 4, 2014 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  6. jinx9to88

    I would like to know the morons were the 3% thats said they are very productive!! What a bunch of clowns! If I was as "productive" as Congress I would be fired!!

    August 4, 2014 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "Good thing we elected "The Great Uniter". LOL."

    Yawn. And if people had called him something else, the GOP/Teatrolls would have just put THAT at the top of their list of things to disprove by acting like children in the midst of a tantrum. "Uniter? Yeah, we'll show him...."

    August 4, 2014 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  8. SJAJR

    Tired of our government not working? Look in the mirror. Read these comments and see why nothing gets done in the country. Blame them blame that. Surf the net, find a blog that aligns with your point of view and you can find all kinds conspiracy theories and straw men to support your need for that kind of drama.

    August 4, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  9. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP THE NATIONAL JOKE PARTY , WE WONT PASS ANYTHING AND STILLGET PAID

    YEA, but the GOP party of STUPID THINKS we are going to RELECT these GOP MORONS, NO WAY!!! GOP , pack your bags!!!!!!

    August 4, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  10. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP THE NATIONAL JOKE PARTY , WE WONT PASS ANYTHING AND STILLGET PAID

    Well, the 3% should be DEPORTED right away for polluting the gene pool and being to ignorant to be USA voters.

    August 4, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    smith

    @Rudy-The Dems aren`t willing to budge on pretty much anything just like the GOP. Your liberal bias just won`t let you grasp that concept.
    ------------------------
    Liberal bias? There goes your alternate reality syndrome flaring up again.

    Who said this? "I got 98% of what I wanted." Boehner. For years, those on the far left have criticized Pres. Obama for giving in to Republicans too much. BTW, the president has a right to declare his signature legislation as non-negotiable when the only motion on the table is to repeal it.

    August 4, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "@Sniffit, yup, it's been all the Rep/teatrolls (using your vernacular) who have been uncooperative. The awesome display if bipartisanship put on by Pelosi, Reid, and Obama during the ACA fiasco was a shining example of bipartisanship. ...stick to DIvision 3 lacrosse."

    Yawn. More lies and ad hominem. The ACA process included consideration of and votes on hundreds of GOP amendments and adoption of many of them:

    A bill related to the ACA approved by Sen. Christopher Dodd’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee included 161 amendments authored by Republicans. Only 49 Republican amendments were rejected out of 210 considered. Yet the bill got zero Republican votes when it passed out of the committee.

    The ACA includes personal responsibility incentives: Allows health insurance premium to vary based on participation in proven employer wellness programs – Republican amendment.

    The ACA advances medical liability reform through grants to States: Provides grants to States to jump-start and evaluate promising medical liability reform ideas to put patient safety first, prevent medical errors, and reduce liability premiums – Republican Amendment.

    Extends dependent coverage to age 26: Gives young adults new options – Republican Amendment.

    Allows automatic enrollment by employers in health insurance: Allows employee to opt-out – Republican Amendment.

    Mechanisms to improve quality – Republican Amendments (H.R. 4529, S. 1099, H.R. 3400, S. 1783)

    Community Mental Health Centers. The President’s Proposal ensures that individuals have access to comprehensive mental health services in the community setting, but strengthens standards for facilities that seek reimbursement as community mental health centers by ensuring these facilities are providing appropriate care and not taking advantage of Medicare patients or the taxpayers. – Involved republican Amendments.

    The world is supposed to work the way you want it to and by gosh, you're going to throw a tantrum until it all the inconvenient facts just go away, eh?

    August 4, 2014 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  13. Thomas

    They are paid to be unproductive , they should be working for General Motors .

    Why change a good thing that benefits the chosen few ?

    August 4, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  14. 2L

    You don't need a poll to figure that out – this is historically the most unproductive Congress – ever. It's official. They passed about 150-170 bills. The previous record was about 900 bills.

    August 4, 2014 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  15. rs

    At the end of the day, the real measure of "Republican negotiation" is this:
    The GOP screamed about the ACA and demanded that the President suspend specific sections they didn't like. Obama complied. Now they are suing him for doing precisely what they wanted. Cooperation and negotiation with the GOP? Not in the real world.

    August 4, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  16. gg

    The Republicans in Congress have created a complete breakdown of our democratic process. How anyone could even consider voting for a Republican for anything is one of the great mysteries of the universe

    August 4, 2014 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    "This is a part of the war on whites that’s being launched by the Democratic Party" -Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), today.... (yes, of course it was a RWNJ from Alabammy)....saying what the rest of them are thinking privately but denying publicly.

    Inconvenient Fact: It IS about race for you people and the election of a black man as POTUS kicked your white fright race resentments into high gear because it brought it home for you that the inevitable and unavoidable consequence of the browning of Amurika due to natural demographic shifts that you are powerless to stop (and oh so frustrated over that powerlessness) is that white privilege and institutionalized stranglehold on the lion's share of power and opportunity in this country is coming to an end...and you face the grave and terrifying prospect of actually having to compete on an equal footing with entire groups of people who you've spent the past 60+ years insulting, alienating and trying to hold down as much as possible.

    Of course, this FACT is a major inconvenience for everyone, not just you. We'd much rather your 6 years of temper tantrums and obstruction and politically motivated goose-stepping marches off the right side of the political spectrum didn't exist and weren't being fueled by your existential angst resulting from demographic shifts you desperately wish weren't happening. But alas, your tantrum and its underpinnings are all too real.

    August 4, 2014 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  18. voted worst president ever

    What do ebola and obama have in common?...............THERE BOTH AFRICAN DISEASES........ .....DEPORT THE AFRICAN DISEASE...... HALFRICAN HUSSEIN OVOMIT

    August 4, 2014 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  19. Ali

    Israel Prime Minister tells the United States to "never second guess him again.. wow true statement from the second most powerful nation after Palestine. U.S. Lost respect and influence because they can't tell Israel what to do. How do you expect to tell your foes what to do? Blame the Republicans for treating as the 51 state, because the Pro-Israel lobbies have money. Poor America. Here comes the well deserved World leaders China and Russia, to place Hamas and Israel on check. I can't wait!!!! Four more years!

    August 4, 2014 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  20. Tommy G

    Why isn't the Democrat controlled Senate in session and voting on the bill that the House passed to deal with the invasion of our country on our southern border? What are the Democrats afraid of? Something passing?

    August 4, 2014 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    "What do ebola and obama have in common?...............THERE BOTH AFRICAN DISEASES........ .....DEPORT THE AFRICAN DISEASE...... HALFRICAN HUSSEIN OVOMIT"

    Thanks for proving my point.

    August 4, 2014 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Tommy G

    Why isn't the Democrat controlled Senate in session and voting on the bill that the House passed to deal with the invasion of our country on our southern border? What are the Democrats afraid of? Something passing?
    -------------------–
    It's simple. The Republican controlled House couldn't get its' own act together and pass something before the Senate broke for recess. But, that's not what's really happening, though.

    If the Senate were in an actual official recess, then the president could make recess appointments. There are still one or more Republicans hanging around the building making sure that that technical definition of a recess isn't met. It's why the SCOTUS overturned some previous recess appointments. They ruled that the Senate was still in session.

    August 4, 2014 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  23. roy

    Republicans are not smart.

    August 4, 2014 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  24. madmink

    I am sure the Indians fell the same when the sick white boy showed up!!!!

    August 4, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  25. Robert

    So what are voters going to about it? We keep voting in the same people. Let's send a message and vote them all out and see what another group can do. Enough with the extremes from both parties and vote for people who can work with others. But if you do not do anything about don't cry about it. Vote for moderates in both parties.

    August 4, 2014 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
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