Low expectations for new Congress

January 07, 2015, 10:24 AM GMT+0

Americans have low expectations for how much the new Republican-controlled Congress will actually get done

The Republican-led House and Senate may have begun their 2015 terms with elevated rhetoric and moves towards action on GOP measures, but the American public doubts that single party control will result in Congress accomplishing much more than it did last year – when the legislative branch was divided between a GOP-led House of Representatives and a Democratic-led Senate.

If the latest Economist/YouGov is any indication, even many Republicans are dubious that single-party control means that anything more will get accomplished in 2015 than the low output Congress produced in 2014.

Only one in four overall expect Congress to get more done in 2015 than it did in 2014, and the same proportion believes it will accomplish even less. Republicans are more hopeful; but the hopefulness is nowhere near unanimous. Nearly half of GOP identifiers expect the new Congress to accomplish the same – or even less – than partisan gridlock produced in 2014.

When it comes to comparisons with other Congresses, not just the last one, the newly-seated Congress fares even worse. Americans are twice as likely to believe the new Congress will get less done as to think it will get more done.

Even Republicans are more negative than they are positive.

But Congress may be able to bounce back. After all, the public response to the legislative branch has been negative for years, and this week’s 11% approval rating for Congress is not much different from the low ratings Congress has been receiving in recent years. However, Republican approval – though still bad – has risen. 18% of Republicans now approve of the way Congress is handling its job.

See the full poll results

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here.