CNN poll: Negative outlook dominates congressional and government views


A month after a blue wave swept through controlling Democrats in the United States House of Representatives, Americans are mostly pessimistic about how government will operate over the next several years, and few are seeing progress in the cards on a number of major issues, according to a new CNN poll by SSRS.

More Americans trust Congressional Democrats than President Donald Trump on the big issues facing the country today: 48% say they trust Democrats more, 39% trust Trump. Another 9% say they don’t trust either. This 9 point Democratic advantage is lower than the Democrats had over then President George W. Bush just after taking over the House in 2006 (21 points) and lower than the advantage that Congress Republicans had. on Bill Clinton on the same issue in December. of 1994 (16 points).

Related: Full survey results

Among political independents, there is almost even division on this issue; 40% say they trust Trump more, 37% Democrats in Congress, with a sizable 15% saying they don’t trust either side to handle the nation’s most pressing issues.

The discovery comes as neither Congress nor the President garners the approval of the majority of the public. Only 21% in the new poll approve of the way the current Congress does its job, while results released earlier this week in the same poll showed 39% approving of Trump’s professional performance.

The current Congress will have to work out a spending bill with Trump if it is to avoid a government shutdown on December 21, when funding for several agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, expires. Trump wants increased funding for a wall along the border with Mexico as part of the deal, a prospect Democrats oppose. The public largely takes the Democratic party on this one, with 57% against a wall against 38% for. These numbers are similar to what they were right after Trump came to power in 2017. Most supporters of the Wall say they would continue to do so even if all of the funding for the Wall came from the United States rather than from Mexico.

Overall, 52% say they are pessimistic about how the Washington government will operate over the next several years, only 36% say they are optimistic. There is a more positive view of the direction the country is heading: 48% are optimistic about it while 43% are pessimistic.

Although the November election led Democrats to control the US House and win governorships and state legislatures, Democrats themselves remain largely pessimistic about the country’s leadership (68% of pessimistic) and how the Washington government will operate (57%) in the years to come. Republicans are mostly optimistic on both scores, but express stronger optimism about the country’s leadership (79% optimistic) than about the government (51%).

Pessimism about government extends to the government’s prospects for progress on a number of important issues. On immigration and health care, two top priorities for voters in the recent midterm elections, only 44% say they are optimistic that the government will make progress on these issues in the coming years. Optimism decreases further over gun policy (34%), the federal budget deficit (33%), climate change (28%) and reducing congressional congestion (25%).

While Democrats are expected to take control of the House in January, speculation abounds as to whether the new majority would impeach the president. Americans are breaking with this idea, according to the poll. Half, 50%, say they don’t think Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 43% say he should be. Support for impeachment has waned somewhat since September, when 47% were in favor, and is about the same as in a June poll (42% were in favor at the time). Support for Trump’s impeachment remains higher than it was for each of the past three presidents anytime it has been called for.

The change in impeachment comes mainly from independent politicians. In September, they were also divided on the issue, with 48% in favor of impeachment and 47% against. Now 36% are in favor of impeachment and 55% are against it.

New party leaders in Congress aren’t exactly appreciated, the poll found, with the four having favorability ratings that are underwater. Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi obtains the best marks of the peloton, with 34% favorable opinion and 46% negative opinion. His GOP counterpart, Kevin McCarthy, is largely unknown (57% don’t know what they think of him), but those with a slightly negative opinion, 24% unfavorable to 19% favorable. On the Senate side, Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell scores 27% in favor to 42% unfavorably, and Democrat Chuck Schumer has a favorable score of 29% to 32% unfavorable.

The parties themselves generally fare better than their leaders in Congress, with 46% having a favorable opinion of Democrats, 43% having an unfavorable opinion and 38% seeing the Republican Party favorably against 51% who view it unfavorably.

The CNN poll was conducted by the SSRS from December 6-9 among a random national sample of 1,015 adults contacted over landlines or cell phones by a live interviewer. The results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points, it is larger for subgroups.

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