February 10th, 2010
11:10 AM ET
13 years ago

Poll: GOP closes gap on issues

Washington (CNN) - Republicans have gained ground on the Democrats when it comes to which party is more trusted to deal with the country's major issues, according to a new national poll.

An ABC News/Washington Post survey also suggests there is an anti-incumbent mood among the public and indicates that the GOP has pulled even with the Democrats in this year's battle for Congress.

Forty-three percent of people questioned say they trust the Democrats to do a better job in coping with the main problems facing the nation, with 37 percent feeling the Republicans are more trustworthy. The 6-point advantage for the Democrats is down from a 16-point advantage last November and a 26-point margin a year ago.

According to the poll, 47 percent trust President Barack Obama to do a better job handling the economy, with 42 percent putting more trust in congressional Republicans. The 5-point advantage for the president is down from 15 points last November and 35 points a year ago.

The survey indicates that 46 percent trust Obama more on health care, with 41 percent saying they place more trust with the Republicans. The 5-point advantage for the president is down from 13 points last November and 28 points last June.

According to the poll, Obama has a 2-point trust advantage, within the survey's sampling error, over Congressional Republicans when it comes dealing with the federal budget deficit, down from 14-point margin last September and a 26-point advantage last June. The survey indicates that the president has a 5-point margin over the GOP on trust in dealing with the threat of terrorism, down from 10 points last September and down 21 points from June.

Half of all people questioned in the survey have a favorable opinion of the Democratic Party, down 3 points from last June, with 46 percent holding an unfavorable view, up 6 points. Forty-four percent give the GOP a thumbs up, with 52 percent holding an unfavorable view. The Republican Party's favorable rating is up 8 points from June and the unfavorable rating is down 4 points.

But in the battle for the House of Representatives this November, the poll indicates Americans are split, with 46 percent saying they will vote for the Democratic candidate in their district and an equal amount saying they'd cast a ballot for the Republican candidate. Last October the Democrats had a 12 point advantage in this so-called generic ballot question, which asked respondents if they would vote for a Democrat or Republican in their congressional district, without naming any specific candidates.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released last month indicated that 48 percent of registered voters said they would vote for the Republican candidate for Congress, with 45 percent saying they'd back the Democrat. The 3-point edge for the GOP was within the poll's sampling error - but it's a switch from November, when the Democrats held a 50 to 44-percent advantage.

Fifty-six percent of people questioned in the ABC News/Washington Post survey say they are inclined to look around for someone else rather than vote to re-elect their representative, with 36 percent saying they're inclined to vote to re-elect their representative.

Fifty-eight percent of people questioned in the poll say that congressional Republicans aren't doing enough to seek compromise with President Barack Obama on important issues, with 44 percent feeling that Obama is doing too little to forge compromise with the GOP.

The survey indicates that 56 percent of independent voters say congressional Republicans aren't doing enough to try and work with the president and Democrats in Congress. Half of independents see the president as too unwilling to compromise and 28 percent feel both parties are not doing enough when it comes to bipartisanship.

According to the poll, 63 percent of Americans think federal lawmakers should keep trying to pass a comprehensive health care reform plan, including 88 percent of Democrats questioned, 56 percent of independents and 42 percent of Republicans. Fifty-five percent of Republicans feel Congress should give up on health care reform.

But the poll indicates that Americans are split on the current health care bills backed by Obama and and Congressional Democrats, with 46 percent supporting them and 49 percent opposing the House and Senate legislation.

The ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted Thursday through Monday, with 1,004 adults questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

- Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: GOP • Poll • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (170 Responses)
  1. Erik S.

    WB in Az

    Weird, it's kinda like a few years ago when the republicans were in power isn't it?

    February 10, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  2. yuyu

    JP: You are the real example of how republicans think. I really feel sorry for you. This is the type of Americans we don't want, and the type people avoid.

    February 10, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  3. Bob Boggs

    A large number of comments on this topic include references to how stupid people are in this country, presumably for the shifting support from Dems to Reps. It is very common to see the term stupid and redneck.

    This is a demonstration of the typical superiority complex that many hard core Dems exhibit towards the other party. What's ironic about this is that the Dems portray themselves as the party of openness and acceptance of others. Some of the most predjudice actions I've seen come from Dems and their attitudes against rural people who have differing values.

    This fact is an important part of the weakness of the Dem party.

    February 10, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  4. a health economist

    Looks like my first comment was not posted so I'll try this again only being a little more bland.

    As a health economist I don't trust the Republicans one bit with doing what is right in health care.

    February 10, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  5. Doug

    The President needs to places a share of the burden of solving the nation's problems squarely on the shoulders of the congressional Republica'ns. He should start with healthcare by publicaly stating that the Congressional Republicans are now expected to put forth their plan, and one which will contain expednidures, make healthcare more affordable, and extend coverage to those curently without healthcare as stated goals. Then, let the American people be the judge. The path forward will become obvious....follow the people's will, and if the Republicans are serious(and likewise, the Democrats), we will have a sloution that is a refection of what our citizens's really want. Until he does that, the two parties are going to play a game of "holding the ball,"the consequence of which will be nothing of consequence will be accomplished in the forseeable future.

    February 10, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  6. Sam

    @Mike in MN:

    Please, PLEASE show us any reliable source other than Fox News or the National Review that has a poll showing Republicans are favored over Democrats on every major issue. I refuse to believe the majority of the country is that stupid, but I do believe that you're not telling the truth.

    February 10, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  7. BB

    I don't believe it.
    There is absolutely no way we could possibly live amonst that many
    un – informed fools!!!
    They must be polling more R's than D's, or maybe just "the real Americans".....the same fools that stand with the Republican Party...the same party that is against funding Education, the same Party that needs it's followers and supporters to remain un-informed and un-educated...because that way they are able to have those same People that are on Medicare carry signs that say "Keep the Govts. hands off of my Medicare".....see what I mean? fools!!! Medicare is a Government funded Healthcare system!!!!! We actually live amongst these people.
    Not to worry....the majority of the people that have not been polled do not support Republicans.

    February 10, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  8. Franky, Land of Lincoln

    You people are a bunch of morons bringing up back Bush and his policies. I have to say, why do you have to rationalize? Or suppress? Why? Whats' wrong with you? Are you that stupid?

    If you want a handout, then look no further, look for someone who will try to help you, not someone who's gonna raise taxes on you and before you know it, you're gonna be screaming bloody mary.


    Dude, STFU!!!

    February 10, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  9. Enough

    Who in their right mind thinks Obama can handle this economy? This weak and naive leader has Zero business experience and has no clue how to turn this around, instead he has prolonged a recession that should have been into recovery by now. Next time vote with your brains, if Hillary were president this country would be in a lot better shape and we would most certainly have a reasonable health care bill, not the crap the FAR left were trying to shove down our throats.

    February 10, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  10. Cee

    I get really annoyed at the voters who will defend this president to the end... you deserve him most of all.

    This is not a Rep/Dem issue to many of us... it is a Leadership issue, a truth issue, and a recognition of "We The People" and what it is we want for ourselves, and what we do not want..i.e. big govt and excessive spending.

    This president has failed on so many levels.. and yet the blame goes to anyone but him... I am tired of his whining and complaining.. he started this partisan ball rolling, and now he is getting some of his own treatment... He did not want to deal with elected representatives because of their political affiliation, i.e. Republicans, so now We The People are deciding we do not want to deal with him!

    Independent thinkers... not political puppets....

    We the people....

    February 10, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  11. jazz

    Just give Obama a chance...one year is not enough to judge him on. No matter what people say, if you look at his record (check out factcheck.org for a list of his promises and where he stands; compare to Bush Jr) he is doing really well. A lot of people don't want to see him do well, which only hurts everyone.

    February 10, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  12. WAW

    Today's Republicans make you wish Nixon was still around. With him you knew which was the "bad apple", maybe he really did spoil the entire barrel. Watergate is looking like peanuts compared to the present situation. Saxby Chambliss is the Senior Senator from Georgia, my state, and he couldn't wipe the dust from Richard Russell's, Herman Talmadge's or Sam Nunn's golf cleats (Saxby thinks he's some more golfer). Saxby represents the Southern Company, Aflec, GA Natural Gas, and rednecks. Coca Cola and the City of Atlanta laughs at him. For him to vote NO on everything actually accommodates his intelligence.

    February 10, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  13. SLM

    Obama thinks businesses need loans and a tax credit to hire more people. What an out of touch and inexperienced man he is. What we need is more business and with our workmans comp rate going up 50% and our unemployment insurance rate more than doubling, don't really think we will consider hiring anyone, anytime soon, even when business picks up. Keep your little tax credit and your loan (unless ofcourse we don't have to pay it back)

    February 10, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  14. aranhas

    Polls mean very little. As a former statistician for a major California city, I am familiar and uncomfortable with the manner in which statistics have been manipulated to meet political goals. Poll results wander all over the place depending on how the questions are formulated and asked. People tend to say what they think the poll takers approve of or what they consider to be socially acceptable regardless of their real feelings. How many people hate minorities but will not admit it to a stranger calling at 7:00 in the evening. There are psychological reasons why people say one thing and believe another. Polls are a refuge for the politically incompetent.

    February 10, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  15. Sam

    ...and please don't try to tell intelligent people that the Rasmussen poll is unbiased. They lean to the right, according to Talking Points Memo. Their founder was also a paid consultant for George W. Bush..'Nuff said.

    February 10, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  16. emmett brown

    CNN, ABCNEWS, CNBC, FOX, all are here to keep us busy fighting among ourselves about Rep & Dem when they all are robbing us blind... Wake up.....

    February 10, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  17. jack

    After what Bush and the Republicans have done to the country...people are just idiots to side with them again.

    Imagine where'd we be if they had the power.

    February 10, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  18. stevefromatlanta

    I agree with the comments about our ignorant electorate. The vast majority do not even understand the difference between Republicans ans Democrats. I t is purely economic. The Dems belive that the government should solve the nations problems while the Reps believe that the economy will be righted by free enterprise and American ingenuity. Big Government vs. Small governement, that is the bottom line. The government seldom has the skills or the capability to solve problems of any significance because they do not pay well enough to attract the best and brightest. Ronald Reagan pulled us out of a Democratic mess like this by getting the government out of the way and letting free enterprise solve the problems. His efforts led to the Clinton do-nothing gravy train of the 90's. The Reps just didnt let him screw things upThe democrats pander to their ignorant constituents through fear mongering and empty promises. The democrats will lose when/if the people wise up and vote for smaller govenrment.

    February 10, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  19. Len (Colorado)


    You are so right. We are a very unintelligent country. Example: A recent poll indicated the majority of Americans want terriorists to be tried in a Military Court.
    FACT: Over 200 terriorist have been tried in Federal Court during the Bush Administration and have been convicted and are serving life sentences. Only a few have been convicted in Military Court.
    America, please educate yourself and stop listening to those who only have their own interests in hand. They only care about destroying this Administration with lies, hate and fear!

    February 10, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  20. The Other Michael in Houston

    Why anyone at this moment trust any Republican or Democrat is crazy. Folks, the Republicans got us into this mess, the Democrats are keeping us in this mess. Americans are too stupid to see that. All this so called liberalism and Conservatism crap has got us right where we are today. Oh and it is funny to hear you idiot Repubs talk bad about Medicare, Social Security etc but you fail to mention the DEA, IRS and all those other idiotic government agencies that do nothing but take our money and waste it. And you idiot Democrats screaming about Health Insurance reform, why aren't any of you addressing the real problem. Health Care. Hey Dems, you want to know how to lower our healthcare cost, quit eating fast food everyday, get you fat butts off the couch or from infront of your computers and exercise. Put down the cigarettes and alcohol, try that for once.

    February 10, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7