According to a recent CNN poll done by SSRS, Americans are almost evenly split on whether they have more faith in President Joe Biden (49%) or the newly strengthened Republicans in the US House of Representatives (51%) to address the pressing challenges facing the nation today.
When the public is questioned about the effects of Republican control of the House on a number of significant subjects, they predict few favorable improvements.
Republicans will take over the House in January after winning the midterm elections, but Democrats kept control of the Senate. The results of the election and its potential impact on important topics have divided Americans’ opinions in the wake of a contest in which neither party received a clear mandate from voters.
Overall, the public anticipates that the GOP’s takeover of the House would result in an improvement to the federal budget, with an 11-point majority believing that this will be the case. Americans are more evenly split on the GOP majority’s impact on inflation (37% in favor, 33% opposed), gun control (39% in favor, 41% opposed), and tax (34% in favor, 38% opposed). Additionally, they anticipate a negative impact on immigration rules (32% positive, 41% negative), as well as a decrease in federal government collaboration (23% positive, 43% negative).
Republicans have hinted that they intend to launch several investigations into the Biden administration and have requested that the members of the House select committee looking into the attack on the US Capitol building on January 6, 2021, preserve documents and transcripts, raising the possibility of a counter-investigation. The public is divided about how the Republican takeover of the House would effect oversight of the Biden administration (35% positive, 38% negative), but they anticipate that it will have a mostly negative impact on inquiries into the attack of January 6 (24% positive, 44% negative).
The percentage of Americans who say they are generally satisfied with the election’s outcome is roughly equal to the percentage who say they are primarily unhappy (30%). But Democrats are noticeably happier than Republicans. Democrats and independents with a Democratic lean are marginally more likely to think that their side is winning in politics (25%) than losing (21%), and are about twice as likely to say that they are glad about the election (42%) than unhappy (19%). Republicans and Republican-leaning voters report being primarily unhappy and on the losing side by a margin of 26 points and 17 points, respectively.
And although Republicans have seen no change in favorability, Democrats have. With 38% of Americans evaluating the Republican Party favorably and 45% rating it negatively, the public’s perception of the GOP is mostly negative, matching its standing in a CNN poll conducted in June/July. 41% of people have a favourable opinion of the Democratic Party, while 44% have a negative opinion. That represents an improvement from the party’s summer favorable rating of 35% and reflects a slight improvement in positive feeling among Democrats and independents.
Although none of the prominent members of the House leadership are very popular with the general public, opinions within their own parties are generally favorable. While only 33% of US citizens have a good impression of outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and 53% have an unfavorable one, Democrats and independents who lean Democratic express positive opinions by a margin of about 3 to 1 (63% favor, 20% unfavor). Hakeem Jeffries, the next House Democratic leader, is well-liked among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (33% favor, 5% negative), however many fewer Americans have formed an opinion of him (64% have either not heard of him or have not yet done so). Nearly half of the public has no opinion of House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, who is running to become speaker. His approval rating is 36% unfavorable to 19% favorable. Republicans and Republican-leaning voters have changed their opinions since this summer, with 39% now holding a favorable view and 16% holding an unfavorable one, compared to 19% and 28% in CNN’s polls this summer.
Currently, 44% of Americans feel the Democratic Party is too extreme, compared to 50% who say the GOP’s beliefs and programs are too extreme rather than generally mainstream; neither of these percentages has significantly changed since last summer.
Though the majority of Democrats and Republicans say they are happy with the direction their parties are going, more than one third of each party say they would want to see significant changes.
A majority of Democrats and Republicans agree that their party needs little to no reform, despite a little more widespread demand for a shake-up inside the GOP. A third of Democrats and Democratic leaners believe the Democratic Party needs big changes (26%) or total reform (8%) while nearly four in ten Republicans and Republican leaners believe the party needs either major changes (31%) or complete reform (7%).
There are generational fault lines within the Democratic Party. Democratic-aligned adults under 45 are more likely than those over 45 to believe that big changes are necessary, 42% to 25%. And 14% of Democratic Party supporters who believe the party needs significant reforms agree that it should seek out younger candidates or take more steps to appeal to young people.
People who stated that their party required considerable reform were asked to explain in their own words why a change was required.
One survey participant stated, “The Democratic Party needs new, truthful leadership that will reflect the rising diversity of the American people. A other person responded, “I don’t intend to say that the current Democratic leaders aren’t doing a good job, but [it] may be time for new generation of leaders.”
Another 12% believe the Democratic Party has to be more assertive and push for change, 9% believe it needs to be more progressive, and 8% believe it is too liberal. Another 7% describe the other party as unresponsive or out of touch.
15% of those who identify with the GOP believe the party has to reevaluate its connection with former President Donald Trump, 10% believe it has moved too far to the right, and 8% believe it needs to find new members.
According to one survey respondent, the GOP “has to ditch Trump and return to conservatism,” while another stated, “I feel like my party isn’t doing ANYTHING to help our beautiful country.”
4% urged the GOP to take a tougher stance against Democrats, 5% said the party should adopt more conservative stances, and 6% complained about paralysis or thought the GOP should compromise more.
The GOP’s demand for such candidates has reduced slightly as a result of the defeat of numerous notable 2020 election skeptics in this year’s midterm elections: Republicans and Republican-leaning voters should accept candidates who think the 2020 election was rigged, according to 65% of Republicans and Republican-leaning voters, down from 72% in July. 62% of respondents agree that the party should accept candidates who recognize the legitimacy of the election, essentially remaining unchanged over the summer.
While this is happening, GOP election confidence, which was already low, has declined much more, highlighting the party gap in trust. Just 34% of individuals who identify as Republicans, down from 43% in October, believe they are even moderately sure that elections in America now reflect the will of the people. Adults who identify as Democrats show trust in the nation’s elections at a rate of 70%, up from 61% before this year’s midterm elections.
The 1,208 persons who were randomly selected from a probability-based panel as part of the national sample for this CNN Poll were polled from December 1 through December 7 by SSRS. Online or over the phone with a live interviewer, surveys were both administered. Results among the entire sample have a plus or minus 3.6 point margin of sampling error; it is higher for subgroups.