A new Pew poll finds fewer than half of Americans feel good about the results of last week’s “shellacking” election, and an alarming number don’t expect the new Congress to get much done.
The public, voters and non-voters alike, has a subdued reaction to the Republican Party’s midterm election victory. Four years ago, the response to the Democrats regaining full control of Congress was far more positive, as it was in 1994 when the GOP won a historic victory. Fewer people today say they are happy about the Republican victory, approve of the GOP’s plans for the future, and far fewer believe Republicans will be successful in getting their programs passed into law.
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Nov. 4-7 among 1,255 adults, finds 48% saying they are happy that the Republican Party won control of the House while 34% are unhappy. Four years ago, 60% said they were happy the Democrats won full control of Congress, compared with just 24% who were unhappy. That mirrored the public’s reaction in December 1994 to the GOP winning control of Congress for the first time in 40 years (57% happy vs. 31% unhappy).
Read more here.
More findings include overall pessimism about the GOP’s ability to get results, and a desire for compromise that frankly, doesn’t make sense if anyone’s been paying attention to the tea party or the standard GOP:
Forty-three percent of those surveyed think the GOP will be successful in getting its programs passed into law while 37 percent predict they will not. In 2006 and 1994, about 6 in 10 voters believed the winning party would be successful.
Forty-eight percent expect that relations between the Republicans and Democrats will remain the same — which is not saying much since a Pew poll earlier this year found that 77 percent believed the parties were bickering more. Twenty-eight percent believe relations will get worse and 22 percent say they will improve, with 3 percent undecided.
Fifty-five percent of Americans want to see congressional Republicans work with President Obama even if it disappoints some of their followers, while 62 percent want Obama to cooperate more with Republicans even if it ticks off his supporters.
And when it comes to the supposedly summarily unpopular president:
When it comes to who should take the lead in addressing the nation’s problems, 49 percent say it should be Obama while 30 percent would rather it be Republican leaders, with 16 percent undecided. However, Republicans score better than Obama in the poll on their approach to taxes, the deficit and jobs and economic growth.
The results mirror those of a CBS News poll which finds that:
Americans’ desire to see Republicans and Democrats put the bickering aside and get some work done extends across both parties, with a substantial 72 percent of those polled by CBS News saying the GOP members of Congress should make trade offs in order to get things accomplished.
Only 21 percent of those surveyed (and only 32 percent of Republicans) said Republican lawmakers should stick to their positions, even if it means not getting as much done.
Even most Tea Party supporters — who overwhelmingly backed Republican House candidates — said compromise should be the primary focus of Congress. Thirty-eight percent of those expressing support for the conservative grassroots movement said Republicans should stick to their guns, however.
… Americans are also keen to see President Obama compromise; 78 percent of the public (and 88 percent of Republicans) said Mr. Obama should be willing to make compromises if that’s what it takes to get the government’s work done. Only 16 percent of those polled said he should stick closely to his positions.
Also, last week’s election results don’t appear to have had a significant impact on Americans’ views of either political party. The public remains divided in its perception of the Republican and Democratic parties. Despite the gains of last week, the GOP is viewed favorably by 42 percent of those polled, while slightly more, 48 percent, view them unfavorably. Views of the Democratic Party are slightly more positive, but still mixed (46 percent favorable; 46 unfavorable).
Read the full Pew study here.
Of course, the irony is that the general disinterest with and distrust for politics by so many in the electorate is only going to make conditions worse for them economically, leading to still more disillusionment. Sometimes, fellow Americans, we make our own hell.