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. fekt

    Who controls congress is a misnomer. No single person controls congress. However, groups of individuals do pay for the right to rent them from time to time to perform work for them.

    June 27, 2014 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  2. Tychi

    Who ever has a lot of money can control Congress. There is nothing more important to a Congressman then money and reelection (and they usually go hand in hand).

    June 27, 2014 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  3. Joeseph Eclaire

    Yeah we know who controls Congress at least those of us with any common sense.
    We only vote to be made fools of.

    June 27, 2014 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  4. Anton

    someone with crayons I am sure.

    June 27, 2014 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  5. Joe Curcio

    A simple answer to the question is: the House of Representatives is under the control of the Republican Party and the Senate is controlled by the Democratic Party.
    However, the real question(s) you should have asked are:
    "What political party controls the US House of Representatives and how would you rate their performance?"
    "What political party controls the US Senate and how would you rate their performance?"

    To those questions I would have responded:
    The Republican Party controls the US House of Representatives and they seem to have done almost nothing, except to vote multiple times attempting to 'kill' the Affordable Care Act (also penned with the name ObamaCare).
    The Senate under the Democratic party tried to avoid changing antiquated voting rules and also showed little legislative achievement until recently. The consequence is that it has become necessary for the executive branch to try to get something done by issuing orders signed by the President.
    Our Constitution was constructed and amended for the Legislative and Executive branches of our Government to work together to serve the United States people well. In my opinion, it's time to change the party that controls the House of Representatives in the Legislative branch for that to be accomplished once again.

    June 27, 2014 03:18 am at 3:18 am |
  6. breebrun

    powerful corporate-backed lobbyists control Washington

    June 27, 2014 03:51 am at 3:51 am |
  7. Hello

    To real Tom Paine:

    The genius of liberal media is to have idiots like you convinced that everything wrong in the world is the fault of Fox News.
    And the real kicker is that you don't realize it and you may in fact deny it!!

    June 27, 2014 03:53 am at 3:53 am |
  8. History8888

    Corrupt Bribesters from Wall St, K St corporate American, International corporations
    and foreign governments.

    The people and the voters come in last on this list

    June 27, 2014 04:02 am at 4:02 am |
  9. mary

    Its a shame so many have no clue. It makes it easy for the GOP to get away with all their crap. And basically assures them that they have shot at gaining the Senate too.
    Scares the h.. out of many of us.. Knowing only the Senate has stood in the way of the GOP taking us back to Roman times, where only the rich have anything and the poor are entertainment.

    June 27, 2014 04:43 am at 4:43 am |
  10. Kenny

    Israel controls Congress.

    June 27, 2014 05:52 am at 5:52 am |
  11. BErnard

    boenher and the house republican and harry reid and the democrat the people suppose to be but those jerk in congress kickout the people voices and sold out to donald trump

    June 27, 2014 05:55 am at 5:55 am |
  12. tatanka

    80% believe in sky fairies, too.

    June 27, 2014 05:58 am at 5:58 am |
  13. Fred

    The part I've always found hilarious, is that in order for an immigrant to (LEGALLY) become a citizen and vote, we require them to learn American history; how to read, write & speak the English language; and some basic civics lessons.

    For the average American high school graduate, they're usually lucky to have basic language skills (but are often still considered functionally illiterate), and cannot answer many basic American history or civics questions......but are legal to vote!

    Maybe we need to start giving everyone the citizenship test, and requiring that they pass it, before they're allowed to vote??

    June 27, 2014 06:09 am at 6:09 am |
  14. Lurker

    AH, Corporations

    June 27, 2014 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  15. Tom

    Who controls congress and which party has the majority are two utterly different things that are completely disconnected. You should write better headlines.

    June 27, 2014 06:14 am at 6:14 am |
  16. Steve

    The corporations control the government since the supreme court ruling making them equal to human beings.

    June 27, 2014 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  17. mr. rascal

    DUH...Corporations rule this country...the future even has them owning our water..the Great Lakes will be used to keep the southwest floating in money...lobbying is bribery spelled differently...mark my words

    June 27, 2014 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  18. Marie MD

    In truth congress is being controlled on the right wing nut side by $$$$.
    The fat radio oxycodone boy, faux news, the koch brothers, adelson and the hatred of the teaklans for a black (and white) president.
    I wonder how many of the polled are from the South. They are probably older folks who spend all day watching the clowns on faux news even though I have to give points to one of their blondes (can't remember her name) for going after darth cheney with his own words. Couldn't believe it but it tells you what the right thinks of cheney. Not much!

    June 27, 2014 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  19. Langkard

    It isn't surprising, really. Most of the Tea Party people blame liberals and the Democrats for the country's fiscal problems. They seem utterly unaware that it is the House of Representatives which originates all appropriations bills. The president proposes budgets, but it is the House of Reps which writes and passes funding bills. The Senate can pass its own versions and then they must be worked out in conference and the president can sign whatever comes out of Congress. And who controls the House of Representatives? For 16 of the last 20 years the party in control of the House of Reps has been the Republicans and for half of that time the also controlled the Senate. And yet, the Tea Party and the right blame liberals and Democrats for the budgets. It is truly amazing. They keep voting the party responsible for 3/4 of the last two decades of federal budgets into power to keep doing it, while blaming the wrong party for the results.

    June 27, 2014 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  20. KieranH

    Master Blaster. Master Blaster runs congress....

    June 27, 2014 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  21. dave

    That's why republicans have such an easy time duping so many.

    June 27, 2014 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  22. MacKrable

    And they're both disastrously derelict and inefficient in their duties.

    June 27, 2014 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  23. TNPatriot

    I don't know who commissioned this poll, but the fact that it does not recognized Independents at all makes it worthless.

    June 27, 2014 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  24. storm chaser 101

    The answer is simple...K street controls congress and the senate.

    June 27, 2014 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  25. Winston5

    Duh, lobbyists? Who are lobbyists for $200, Alex.

    June 27, 2014 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
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