Do you know who controls Congress?
June 26th, 2014
05:06 PM ET
9 years ago

Do you know who controls Congress?

Washington (CNN) - Just 40% of Americans know which political party controls the Senate and the House of Representatives, according to a national poll.

A Pew Research Center survey released Thursday also indicates that about a third of the public can correctly name which party controls one of the two chambers of Congress, with 28% coming up completely empty.

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The poll also suggests that the more partisan a person, the more knowledgeable they are about the current political landscape on Capitol Hill. The survey divided Americans into seven political groups, and the three most ideological and partisan groups scored higher on the question of control of Congress than the rest of the categories.

Sixty-nine percent of business conservatives, 60% of solid liberals, and 54% of steadfast conservatives were able to correctly answer that the Democrats control the Senate and the Republicans control the House.

The Pew Research Center poll was conducted January 23-March 16, with 10,013 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus two percentage points.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Filed under: Congress • Poll
soundoff (107 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    Michele Marie Bachmann ?

    June 26, 2014 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  2. The Real Tom Paine

    That explains how FOX can whip up the mob so quickly, since so few of them bother to learn current events, much less history.

    June 26, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  3. Jerry

    Yeah it is the special interest groups that fund all the congressmen.

    June 26, 2014 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  4. smith

    This is just plain sad. I mean come on people put down the cell phone for one minute and at least glance at a newspaper.

    June 26, 2014 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  5. Malory Archer

    Do you know who controls congress?


    The fat, drug addicted reichwing radio bloviator and a handful of deep-pocketed owners.

    June 26, 2014 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  6. dwayne

    And some of these idiots vote.
    Heaven help us all.

    June 26, 2014 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  7. ChrisM

    The worse Congress Ever in the History of the U.S. !!

    June 26, 2014 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  8. Silence DoGood

    " Just 40% of Americans know which political party controls the Senate and the House of Representatives, according to a national poll."
    That is actually pretty good compared to the public's general knowledge.
    (various sources)
    3 of 4 know that the Earth is in orbit around the sun.
    1 of 2 know that human evolved from lower species.

    June 26, 2014 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  9. Tom l

    Money controls congress.

    June 26, 2014 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  10. Stercus Tauri

    I thought the Koch Bros controlled congress.

    June 26, 2014 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    If he had won the primary and November's general election, Espiallat would have become the first member of Congress born in the Dominican Republic
    He'll win in 2016.
    No worries.

    June 26, 2014 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  12. guest

    But the problem is that governing our country is not a sport, and the political parties are not the home team. We need competent governing. Not 'profit over everything' vs 'make everyone feel special' governing.

    June 26, 2014 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  13. ak_steve

    We may not know who controls it but I am sure there is no lack of opinion on who to blame everything one.

    We are truly a nation of idiots. Very sad.

    June 26, 2014 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  14. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    I'm not surprised in the least bit. Most people are too busy worrying about Kim Kardsdashian and Honey Boo Boo. And they think making kids go to school year round is going to help.

    June 26, 2014 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    At the moment.......Obama does. He controls the Senate through his puppet Reid.......and he who controls the Senate, controls the entire Congress.

    June 26, 2014 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  16. Silence DoGood

    Trick question. GOP controls the House. And Koch's control the GOP.
    After the Theocracy is established, what title will the Koch family hold in the Holy Court?

    June 26, 2014 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  17. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Smith, it wasn't the Unions that caused the Automotive plants to close. It was the Executives and their 6 & 7 figure bonuses and huge salaries. Most of whom still have their jobs and are still doing quite well. The fact that the Unions made sure the hourly employees got paid well had nothing to do with it. The white collar workers were and are living in the lap of luxury in the Detroit suburbs. Fact is Michigan is home to many millionaires. Henry Ford wanted his workers to live well, it was something he took very seriously.

    Over the years I've heard a lot of envious people that weren't lucky enough to have one of those good jobs get upset because they weren't making the same type of money. Jealousy plain and simple. I'm not saying you're one of them I'm just saying the things I've heard people say like "I'm not making $20 per hour why should they?" That's jealousy.

    But it's all good now for them because most of the workers lost their jobs, homes and everything else. Great times for the Union Haters!!!😀

    And that's why Detroit is the way it is right now. A raggedy city with a bunch of abandoned houses. But the banks made a killing.

    June 26, 2014 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  18. Jay Walker

    This is part of the problem- less than half the population knows what is going on and/or how our systems work. Without deeper knowledge and engagement by the citizens, nothing changes.

    June 26, 2014 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  19. Randy, San Francisco

    Ignorance is bliss. Only 60% of eligible voters bother to register to vote. Less than 50% of registered voters bother to vote. If the winner receives 51% of the votes, he or she was actually elected by only 31% or less of all eligible voters, registered or not. This is not how a democracy should operate.

    June 26, 2014 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  20. The Real Tom Paine

    Just another day on the Ticker, with tom l, once again, deciding to be the one to test the temperature of the moral bathwater for every person left of Attila the Hun, while ignoring the reams of fatuous, incorrect, and just plain stupid comments flowing out of the Right wingers on here. If this is an example of a so-called " Independent", God help us all. Rarely, if ever, do these self-described Independents bother to take on the fact-deficient comments and parrot-like activities of conservatives, instead choosing to indulge in their fetish of mimicking as close as they can the word choices of Right-Wing talk show hosts. Thanks for yet again diminishing the concept of independent thought behind a blizzard of one-sided and intellectually lazy parroting. Wanna cracker?

    June 26, 2014 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  21. The Real Tom Paine

    Wanna have fun with a conservative? Ask them to take a science quiz, and hear them whine about their low scores.

    June 26, 2014 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  22. Liz the First

    This is why we have such a dysfunctional government today. people think politics doesn't matter to them. nothing could be further from the truth! voting and being involved in the country isn't a 'right,' it's a sacred duty. it's what every serviceman and woman who ever fought has fought for. other counties' citizens have to dodge bullets and bombs to vote and their turnout is in the high 80s and 90s. and we who live in 'the greatest country in the world' can't be bothered to vote unless it's something we're excited about. it's not the Olympics, it's our future, and it's going down the drain because good people don't get involved.

    June 26, 2014 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  23. Winston Smith

    People who care about money, and little else? Republicans for instance.

    June 26, 2014 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  24. Up Side Down

    Myself do not know who is the Speaker of the House either. Is there any person holding that position? How can Congress have 13% Approval Rating all years around, if at all there is any leader there?

    June 26, 2014 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  25. Richard Miller

    The American people sure the doesn't control them!

    June 26, 2014 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
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