How Americans say Republican or Democratic control of Congress would affect them

Linley SandersData Journalist
November 09, 2022, 12:40 AM GMT+0

Americans are split evenly on whether Republicans winning control of Congress would have a positive (35%) or negative (35%) effect on their personal lives. A recent YouGov poll finds a similar view on the effect of Democrats retaining control of the U.S. House and Senate (34% say it would affect them positively, and 36% say negatively). And there are similarly split margins for questions of what effect Republican control or Democratic control would have on the United States.

When the 35% of Americans who say Republican control would have a positive effect on them are asked in an open-ended question why they have this opinion, many say that they believe Republicans will bring down inflation-driven costs, focus on U.S. energy production, and counter President Joe Biden's agenda. Among the 35% who say the opposite — that this would bring a negative effect on their lives — many say that they worry about the rights of women and LGBTQ+ people if Republicans take control. Others believe Republicans would cause irreparable harm to the climate and American democracy.

In a similar open-ended question posed to people who say Democrats retaining control of both chambers of Congress would have a positive effect on their lives, many talk about Democratic policies they agree with, including access to abortion, expanding voting rights, protecting the climate, and funding Social Security and Medicare. People who have a negative view of Democratic congressional control cite their concerns that Democrats would cause economic harm and drive prices up. They also say congressional Democrats would attack Americans' freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and access to guns.

Read some of Americans' hopes and concerns for Republican or Democratic control of Congress below:

Among the 35% of Americans who say Republican control of Congress would have a very or somewhat positive effect on them personally:

  • "I live in a red state but have family in a blue state that is out of control. I worry for my family in the blue state and hope that having Republicans control the Senate and House will improve their living conditions."
  • "I am hoping that they will do their duty and keep Biden from doing any other insane signing of things into law without going through Congress first. Personally, what I feel affects me and my family the most is what he has done to weaken our military and use so much of our oil reserves."
  • "It will hopefully bring inflation down as I am an American that lives on disability and cannot afford to keep up with food or other needs if it keeps going up."
  • "Not only will I be very happy, but as a veteran and a pastor, I know our country will turn around and our Christian ideals will not be lost."
  • "I will have confidence that the country will not slide farther off the rails. The conservative agenda will stop the Green New Deal, ease inflation by limiting spending, address the crime, and hopefully get control of the border."
  • "Bring back energy production, lower fuel prices, and slow down inflation. Stop the invasion at the border to make our communities safer again."
  • "Costs of gas and groceries will go down as well as using our own oil wells for drilling and putting those people back to work. Biden will be a lame duck for his remaining time in the White House!!! YAY!"
  • "I believe they will put forth legislation to restore our energy independence and that will help not only me but the rest of the country as well. Bringing back our independence will help bring down many of the inflationary costs just by reducing fuel costs."
  • "I feel that when the Republicans take control of both chambers the Republicans will be able to block Joe Biden's agenda and advance some legislation to help reduce inflation."
  • "They will stop the runaway Democrats' spending. They will investigate the Democrats' abuse of the justice system. They will stop the Democrats' lack of border security. They will reverse the Democrats' attack on the energy industries. All these changes would make America a better nation."

Among the 35% of Americans who say Republican control of Congress would have a very or somewhat negative effect on them personally:

  • "As a woman and a mother to a daughter, I will continue to see my right to bodily autonomy and necessary health care stripped away. Global warming will continue unchecked, putting the future of my children at risk."
  • "I am down-to-my-bones terrified of an outright abortion ban as well as LGBTQ+ people losing their civil rights, particularly transgender people's right to transition and live safely as their true selves."
  • "As a woman, I am genuinely concerned about what will happen to my rights. No competent adult should have freedom of choice taken from them. Politicians have taken everything to such unnecessary extremes. I hate it here."
  • "I care about the country, its democracy, and its laws and constitution. With delusional MAGA and election deniers in charge, we might as well kiss the whole American experience goodbye. I came here in 1969 believing in America, and it will be time to rethink that move."
  • "I'm homeless but also returning to school. I fear that a lot of programs that help people in my circumstances would be cut."
  • "Immigration is being stigmatized and my husband is an immigrant. We fear for our family."
  • "It will be a huge threat to democracy. Voting will become more difficult and elections they don't like will be overturned. Reproductive rights, Social Security, and health care will be in grave danger. Trump will continue to exert undue influence. This country will become more isolationist and will not prioritize our commitment to be leaders in the world and to our allies. Racial and political divisions will continue to grow, along with threats of civil unrest."
  • "More hate speech, conspiracy theories, and lies will be promoted. Politicians guilty of crimes will not be prosecuted. Congress will not be held accountable for its actions. I will not feel safe as I think we will endorse violence as a means to an end."
  • "Republicans are dangerous. They could rob me and my friends and family of our health care rights, my voting rights, and my friends’ ability to marry people of the same sex or different race. Republicans will destroy the Earth."
  • "They will cut Social Security and Medicare, but give tax cuts to the wealthy (including themselves). They will do NOTHING to curb inflation and will turn back as many laws as they can that were passed by the Democratic Congress. They will confirm more conservative judges who do not have my best interests at heart."

Among the 34% of Americans who say Democratic control of Congress would have a very or somewhat positive effect on them personally:

  • "I would hope that it would restore federal protections for abortion access. I hope that it will see more student debt forgiveness. I hope it will see the beginning of universal health care for all. At the very least, I will know what rights I have remaining as a woman will remain."
  • "As an Independent, I hold no false hope that all will be right in the world. I DO know that democracy will be in far better hands and that we will not be looking backward at some false idea of an America that was somehow better off with fewer rights and protections for all Americans while catering to those with the most money and power."
  • "Codifying Roe v. Wade, expanding federal voting rights, passing climate action, passing legislation to protect the right to birth control."
  • "Democracy will thrive. Ukraine, where my grandparents and father were born, will be supported against Russian war crimes, and Ukraine will have a chance to defeat our mutual enemy, Putin. Inflation will run its course."
  • "For me personally, this would mean safer roads for travel because we'll repair them. This would mean calmer people because they'll have more money in their pockets to afford what they need. This would mean peace of mind."
  • "The Democrats are the only ones that are willing to hold people responsible for the crimes that may have been done. Also, the Democrats are more grounded in reality and are fighting against all these conspiracy theorists that have been given free rein."
  • "They will try to reverse the damage done by conservatives both in Congress and the Supreme Court regarding the overturning of Roe v. Wade and prevent them from destroying Social Security and Medicare."
  • "Renewable energy will become more common, the environment will be cleaner, the wealthy will pay more in taxes, and public education will be better supported."
  • "It will give me peace of mind knowing that the ideas and causes I support and believe in will be upheld and reinforced."
  • "My rights of bodily autonomy will be upheld and the funds I have paid in Social Security and Medicare taxes have a better likelihood of being available to me."

Among the 36% of Americans who say Democratic control of Congress would have a very or somewhat negative effect on them personally:

  • "Continued high prices and interest rates and in general a recession, if not a depression, will occur. Since we are on a fixed income, that would be very detrimental to us."
  • "As a pastor, I see our Christian ideals and rights taken away due to those who feel offended by Christianity. Hey, how about Christians feeling offended by these other religions."
  • "I would hate it due to the fact that we will go into a recession. The Democrats will continue to have the citizens of the USA be their bank account and continue their higher taxes and tax everything they can find!!"
  • "Prices will continue to rise and the economy will continue to suffer under their disastrous policies and out-of-control spending. As a small business owner, I have to deal with the results of those policies daily and it's getting tougher and tougher to keep my doors open."
  • "I anticipate that the price of gas, food, rent, and other costs associated with living will rise. Likely the Senate will eliminate the filibuster and pack the Supreme Court with ideologues, and every Republican that expresses a view contrary to the prevailing narrative as given by the current administration will be investigated, if not prosecuted, and effectively silenced."
  • "The economy is going to get worse, which affects me financially. I'm sure I'll lose more in my retirement 401K as it is losing now."
  • "I feel as though the country is at terrible risk of degrading into civil war if Democrats remain in power. Not from me, but from the radical Trumpians. I also feel that our rights and freedoms and safety depend on the Republicans taking over."
  • "Life will get worse and I’ll feel poorer with each paycheck as I struggle to afford necessities."
  • "Our religious freedoms will continue to erode. They will destroy the Constitution and try to take our guns. Inflation will get worse. The Democrats are a bunch of hypocritical elites who truly hate America and are wanting to destroy the poor and middle class."
  • "They will continue to force our country down their Green New Deal path. Our country is not ready for all of the electric requirements. We do not have the electrical grid to support the electric vehicles and other electrical items that we already have!!"

— Carl Bialik and Taylor Orth contributed to this article

This poll was conducted on October 31 - November 3, 2022, among 1,000 U.S. adult citizens. Explore more on the methodology and data for this poll.

Image: Adobe Stock