Few expect an end to gridlock, whichever party wins Senate

William JordanUS Elections Editor
October 24, 2014, 10:30 AM GMT+0

Whether it’s Democrats or Republicans who control the Senate for the next two years, Americans don’t expect many more bills to become law.

With Republicans almost sure to keep their majority in the House of Representatives and looking increasingly likely to wrest control of the Senate from Democrats, there's a good possibility the GOP will have control of both chambers come January. However, as many analysts have pointed out, President Obama's veto power makes it unlikely that putting the Senate and the House in the hands of Republicans will mean many more bills become law.

New research by YouGov indicates that the American public also have low expectations. Assuming the GOP does keep control of the House of Representatives, only 17% of Americans expect more bills to become law if the Republican Party also wins control of the Senate. If the Democrats retain control, just 12% expect more bills to become law.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, most people expect a continuation of the status quo – a Democratic Senate and a Republican House – to result in the same number of laws passed. But in the scenario where the GOP controls both houses, Americans are actually most likely to expect fewer bills to pass through Congress and be signed by President Obama.

However, the survey also provides evidence that many Americans wouldn’t mind if the next two years were as unproductive as the previous two. In fact, just 41% say there were “too few” bills passed and signed into law during the 113th Congress.

19% say too many bills were passed and signed by the president. Another 12% say the number is about right, and 28% have no opinion.

Most respondents identifying as Democrats think “too few” bills were passed, along with 36% of independents and 31% of Republicans. On the other hand, nearly a quarter of independents (24%) and Republicans (23%) say there were too many. Only 7% of Democrats agree.

Again, President Obama’s role in the process can’t be ignored. Democrats can rest assured that any bill that becomes law has been signed by the country's Democratic president. Many Republicans, however, would probably be sceptical of any legislation that has earned the Obama’s approval.

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Full poll results can be found here