Do you know who controls Congress?
June 26th, 2014
05:06 PM ET
7 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. MIke

    Neither party controls congress. Lobbyists and big company executives control congress and until we can get the slimeballs in congress to change the rules to prevent lobbyists and big companies from undue influence, the citizens will never get the country back.

    June 26, 2014 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  2. readerpan

    Who controls Congress? LOBBYISTS AND THEIR EMPLOYERS! Duh.

    June 26, 2014 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  3. Whatever

    Gover Norquist....... the most dangerous man in America

    June 26, 2014 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  4. Hill William

    Who controls congress? Big corporate campaign contributors.

    June 26, 2014 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  5. krisint

    top 1%?

    June 26, 2014 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  6. Carter

    Technically speaking, we the people control Congress.

    June 26, 2014 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  7. kols

    What a sad commentary on the state of knowledge about our government in this country. Pay attention so you know what you are voting for. Our government has a huge impact on our lives yet people don't pay attention.

    June 26, 2014 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    I know: Ronald McDonald

    June 27, 2014 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  9. Grin

    Those that bought the senators.

    June 27, 2014 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  10. DaveinIL

    Harry Reid?

    June 27, 2014 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  11. Ricky Resinhead

    I guess there is a 40% chance of rain showers tomorrow night. The problem with politics and government involvement with average people is all the crap we fed through out the week. Red or blue we are what 19th when it comes to middle class income? I bet more people are living like hermits these days. I know a little about congress. They have a house speaker who cries daily in public. Most of us have that kind of stuff sorted out in puberty. If you really want to get people interested in politics they have to think their vote counts. How many times have you had somebody tell you they don't vote because it doesn't matter? Quite often, we will just let the big lobby groups do it for you. Even if you feel like a speck of pigeon crap it still matters.

    June 27, 2014 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  12. Mark

    If we had a real news media, when they covered a news story where elected officials were waxing blowhard on an issue, you could hover over the name and see how much they had received in the most recent election cycle (and preferably lifetime) from the industry(ies) with an interest in the issue.

    THAT'S what this article would have been about, if we had a real news media.

    Instead we constantly hear how Republicans don't want to support renewable energy for one reason or another, and how they don't believe we are warming the earth... but we never get to see the massive donations they are getting from the industries who encourage them to "feel" these ways.

    Come on, media. Do something useful. Help the public understand why their Congress does the insipid, destructive things they do. The Congress has an approval rating of less than 10%. Here's your chance to serve the public by making things better. Are you up to the task of offending these corrupt people, or are you afraid you'll "lose access"?

    June 27, 2014 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  13. dr doug

    I didn't see a check box for "billionaires and corporations". it is a little naïve to presume that political parties control congress anymore.

    June 27, 2014 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  14. christian

    Earth's fore fathers...A human system that annoys everyone,but stays intact to today...Whether you like your situation you worked towards or whether you voted for peeps to make a better life for all...Keep this in mind.The more we come together and work as a country,the more we will succeed.On the other scale the more we work against each other the less will be accomplished...MR.Obama took on this nation into office and has gently guided stability in America.What our leader deserves is a Congress that appreciates this presidency and is willing to push forward towards a stronger nation.

    June 27, 2014 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  15. Mr. Balls

    Pathetic, uninformed electorate.

    June 27, 2014 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  16. Sandvichmancer

    "I don't watch the news, it's all depressing and I can't do anything about it."
    I hear this from many people I try to make small talk with. Yet they just seconds ago were chatting about things like Walking Dead and 12 Years A Slave.

    It's purely willful ignorance.

    June 27, 2014 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  17. John

    The correct answer is, multi-national corporations.

    June 27, 2014 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  18. The Realist

    Who controls Congress?

    Think "Gary Oldman" prostrate and contrite.

    Do you think your Senators and Congressmen are any different?

    June 27, 2014 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  19. VicMorrow

    Harry Reid is the obstructionist in chief who won't bring House passed bills up for a vote in the Senate.

    June 27, 2014 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  20. cj

    The guy with the biggest check book or the best dirt controls congress.

    June 27, 2014 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  21. Rob

    I live in an igloo north of your country and could answer those questions. You do know which country I am referring to eh!

    June 27, 2014 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  22. matteroffact

    I think we the people should 'control' congress/senate, and boy do they need to be controlled ?

    June 27, 2014 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  23. conoclast

    It sounds like that study done on religion where questions about basic Christian tenets and history were asked of a group of devout evangelicals, a group of atheists and a control. The atheists scored highest by a wide margin; apparently the Christians don't even bother to learn about what they (supposedly) believe in!

    June 27, 2014 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  24. Astanyax

    Benjamin Netanyahu controls the US Congress. I thought everybody knew that by now.

    June 27, 2014 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  25. BullStuff

    Who controls congress? Whoever donates the most money to them.

    June 27, 2014 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
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