January 24, 2012

Large Numbers See Congress as Unproductive

50%

Half of Americans — a record high — say that the current Congress has accomplished less than recent predecessors.

From the public’s perspective, the first term of the 112th Congress has been distinctly unproductive. A record high 50% of Americans say that the current Congress has accomplished less than other recent Congresses; 37% think it has accomplished about the same and just 8% say this Congress has accomplished more than other recent sessions.

By a wide margin, those who see this Congress as having accomplished less than usual put the burden of blame on Republican leaders in Congress. About 40% of this group blame Republican leaders while just 23% blame Democratic leaders. But there is plenty of criticism to go around — 32% believe that both parties’ leaders are to blame for a lack of accomplishments. Independents are especially likely to hold both parties responsible for this perceived lack of accomplishment, (42% hold this view). Among independents who assign blame primarily to one party, far more blame GOP leadership in Congress than Democratic leadership (38% to 15%).

Not surprisingly, Republicans and Democrats overwhelmingly blame the other party’s leaders for this perceived lack of accomplishment. But Republicans are more likely than Democrats to volunteer that both parties are to blame. Read More