April 20th, 2009
11:50 AM ET
12 years ago

Honeymoon over for congressional Democrats?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/20/art.getty.capitol.cherry.jpg caption="Congress comes back after a two week recess, a national poll indicates that the honeymoon may be over for congressional Democrats."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - As Congress comes back after a two week recess, a national poll indicates that the honeymoon may be over for congressional Democrats, although they maintain a decided advantage over the GOP.

Forty-nine percent of people questioned this month in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national survey say that the country is better off with the Democrats controlling Congress. That's down seven points from January, but it's 15 points higher than the 34 percent who say the nation would be better with the Republicans running Capitol Hill.

Democrats won back control of both houses of Congress in the 2006 elections, and increased their majorities in last November's elections.

"Most of the Democrats' loss of support has come among younger Americans," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "In January, two-thirds of those under the age of 35 said Democratic control of Congress was good for the country. Now that figure is down to 48 percent."

The poll also indicates that 62 percent of those questioned think President Barack Obama's doing enough to cooperate with Republicans. That's down eight points from February, but it's 25 points higher than the 37 percent who feel the Republicans in Congress are doing enough to reach out to the Democrats and the President.

"Traditionally, the public likes to see bipartisan cooperation in Washington," says Holland. "So the perception that the GOP isn't reaching across the aisle may be holding the party back in its efforts to capitalize on discontent with the Democratic track record so far."

Congress reconvenes this week after a two-week Easter recess. Both houses will be in session for five weeks until they break for Memorial Day.

On their agenda: final passage of the budget, which could happen as early as the end of next week. Both houses passed separate versions of the budget bill before breaking for recess.

Congress will also start the long and difficult process of health care reform, with the hopes of finishing before the August recess. The equally hard battle over energy reform is also expected to get underway.

Lawmakers need to pass a $84 billion supplemental request by the Obama administration to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A housing bill that would allow judges to re-write mortgage payments for Americans facing foreclosure has passed in the House, but could face a fierce fight in the Senate.

Also on the agenda: The House make take up banking regulations, and the Senate must deal with confirmation hearings for Obama administration secretaries and undersecretaries.

The new poll indicates that most Americans don't think lawmakers are doing a good job. Sixty-three percent disapprove of how Congress is handling its job, with 35 percent saying they approve of what lawmakers are doing. That mark is still six points higher than in February, when only 29 percent approved of how Congress was handling its job.

"The increase in overall views of Congress is due mostly to Democrats," Holland notes. "Democrats nationwide have seen Congress pass a Democratic president's initiatives for the first time since the 1990s and they are responding accordingly. Nonetheless, most Americans still don't have a very positive view of Congress."

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted April 3-5, with 1,023 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Filed under: Congress • Poll
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. Chipster

    The American people will never be satisfied with anyone and never take responsibility for their own part in the troubles we face today. For 8 years, they allowed fear to control them. They were manipulated pretty easily into accepting constitutional violations of our rights and outrageous "borrow and spend" policies that have bankrupted us. Now, if someone can't correct 8 years of mismanagement in less than 3 months, they lose patience? Fear is obviously a far more effective tool than rational and sane policies. How sad is that?

    If the "people" want to know who to blame, they should look in the mirror.

    April 20, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  2. Gorbashov - Long Beach, Ca.

    The overwhelming majority of under 35 will be backing the Democrats come 2010..........there is no other credible alternative.

    April 20, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  3. I used to like CNN but not anymore!

    What honeymoon? Congressional Democrats have pretty much had their backs to the wall since 2006! Now they have even more control of Congress and are even less effective! Don't get me wrong, I'm no fan of the Republican party by any means that's a fact. But, I refuse to deny the obvious!

    Yours Truly
    A thinking American.

    April 20, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  4. worriedmom

    Just shows people are getting fed up with both Republicans and Democrats. Strange that this happen after the Tea Party that everyone likes to bash. I think it did more than people want to give credit for!

    April 20, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  5. Ruth

    I am sick of both parties. These guys do not want work together to get things done. Democratic Party is going far to the left. Then there are unchanging republicans.

    April 20, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  6. anita

    the majority of the voting public is stupid

    April 20, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  7. skyhawkdriver

    Bi-partisanship is a dream that will never happen..I don't know who ever thought up this notion..other than massachusetts or conneticutt, where would you ever find someone to vote for barney frank or chrid dodd??the party is over..too bad it never got started

    April 20, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  8. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Madame Speaker and Mr. Majority Leader, remind me what exactly has Congress done since its "mandate" of November 2006, other than roll over to fund surges in both Iraq and Afghanistan?

    April 20, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  9. midwest jeff

    Oh, how nice. Our children are growing up and getting a mind of their own. No wonder the dimocrats favorable rating is in decline.

    April 20, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  10. Mississippi Mike

    Congress is corrupt and the people know it. I saw a survey where people thought that picking people at random out of the phone book would produce a congress as good as the one we already have. Can't say I disagree.

    April 20, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  11. Vijay

    use less statistics...who are these people who are always ready for CNN polls....it is too subjective and useless .... STOPS these useless things and report real news...

    April 20, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. Billy J in Texas

    Pelosi and Reid are the Dems biggest problem. When will the congress get a chance to replace them? Soon I hope. We need smarter, stronger, and more charismatic leaders who will rule from the center. Not lame-brains and wet rags that pander to the far left.

    (it is still better government than what we had, but it needs alot of work)

    April 20, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  13. Bob in Pa

    What Honeymoon?
    This is the I'm pregnant and too fat to fit in a bikini congress, so no honeymoon ! It was a Democrat Congress before the election that garnered a 13% approval rating. Who in their right mind even thinks that they deserved a honeymoon ?

    (No offense is meant to pregnant women or people in this situation. I believe it was for that very same reason I am still waiting for mine.)

    April 20, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
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