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Poll: GOP's House Win Was Rejection of the Democrats, Not a Mandate

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Americans overwhelmingly say that the midterm election results that gave Republicans control of the House represented a rejection of the Democrats and not a mandate for the GOP, according to a CNN/Opinion Research poll conducted Nov. 11-14. (Story; Poll data).
Seventy percent of those surveyed said the results were a rejection of Democratic rule in the House while 17 percent called it a mandate for Republicans. Eight percent answered "neither" and 5 percent had no opinion.
"That's the classic pattern in elections like these," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland, referring to the Democratic takeover in 2006 and the GOP's victory in 1994. "Most Americans seem to believe that these elections were 'throw-the-bums-out' events."
In 2006, 60 percent described the Democratic victory as a rejection of the Republicans, whose fortunes had been spiraling downward during former President Bush's second term. Twenty-seven percent said it was a mandate for the Democrats.
In 1994, when the Republicans enjoyed their previous big victory and takeover of the House, 60 percent said the reason was rejection of the Democrats while 18 percent called it a mandate for Republicans.
U.S. CapitolForty-four percent said the most important factor in the Republicans' victory was disapproval of President Obama while another 35 percent said it was opposition to the Democrats. Fourteen percent said it was support for the Republicans, while 5 percent said there were other reasons and 2 percent had no opinion.

Forty-eight percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of the Democrats in the aftermath of the election compared to 46 percent who see them favorably, with 6 percent expressing no opinion. That's about the same kind of split opinion that CNN's late October poll found.
The figures for the Republicans since the election are somewhat more negative. Forty-eight percent see them unfavorably while 43 percent regard them favorably, with 9 percent taking neither side. In late October, 44 percent saw the GOP favorably and 43 percent did not.
Holland said, "Unlike 1994, the last time the Republicans bumped the Democrats from power on Capitol Hill, the GOP takes over without the American public solidly behind it."
While a majority believes that Republican control will be good for the House, there is less agreement that it will make much of a difference in terms of whether they will do a better job than the Democrats.
Fifty-two percent said GOP control would be good for the country while 39 percent disagree, with the rest taking no position. That compares to the Democratic takeover in 2006, when 67 percent said it would be good for the country and 24 percent believed it would not, with the remainder taking no position.
Asked if Republicans would do a better job of running the House, 44 percent said it would make no difference, 33 percent said they'd do better and 21 percent said worse. In 2006, 46 percent believed the newly-enabled Democratic majority would do a better job of running the House than the Republicans, 14 percent said they'd do worse and 39 percent predicted there'd be no difference.
Forty-one percent also said they don't think Republican control will make much difference when it comes to getting things done, while 32 percent believe more will get done and 26 percent predict less will get done.
The tea party movement is seen unfavorably by 42 percent and favorably by 38 percent with 9 percent answering that they never heard of it and 11 percent having no opinion. In late October, the favorables and unfavorables were evenly divided. Asked whether the movement should become a formal political party with its own candidates, Americans split at 48 percent each, with 4 percent having no opinion.
The poll also found that the public tended to have a somewhat better opinion of the political views of the Republicans than they did for the Democrats.
Forty-three percent described the Republicans' views as "about right" while 37 percent said they were too conservative and 17 percent saying they were too liberal, with 4 percent undecided.
Forty-nine percent found the Democrats' views to be too liberal compared to 39 percent who described them as "about right." Ten percent said they were too conservative and 2 percent had no opinion. In 2006, 54 percent regarded the Democrats' views as about right.
There's no straight comparison to make of these figures to the election results since the CNN poll was of all Americans and not just those motivated to go to the polls.


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37 Comments

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Cindie

Nice try with the semantics, CNN. Democrats lost, Republicans won - a mandate for the policies put forth by Republicans. Live with it...and remember that only 1/3 of the Senate ran, because had the whole Senate been up, Democrats would have lost there too.

November 17 2010 at 8:28 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
strayleo

This election was about the sell out of the American people, nothing more. So much money flooded in from who knows where, and it doesn't really matter, because our sell out supreme court says so. It is disgusting to have to watch add after add, of lies and disimformation, and it just gets worse and worse. I would like to know why elections just can't be local, why can people from the east coast, influence an election in a district on the west coast, arn't these people suppost to be elected to represent their people there.

November 17 2010 at 7:56 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
derek

I think this really goes to show that people are frustrated with the current political system. A fair percentage during each of these large changes has said there will be little to no change in how things are done. Right now people are most concerned about stability in their daily lives, a sagging economy and job uncertainty, all with the fear of increasing taxes and less support from the government. This is what people see and feel first before a lot of other things. Whether they are the biggest issues or not, for a lot of people this is what matters most to them. The party that addresses this best, or candidates/elected officials who appear to be doing the most will be the ones who are probably elected and able to stay in office.

November 17 2010 at 6:39 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
skitamaroo12

This was a very clear and conscise message to all elected officials, not just democrats. it's about "We the people" not You the select few in positions of power. We pay you to work for us and in our best interest,You are where you are because of us, Every time you vote to spend money in any way it is our money you are spending, Every thing you do in office has a direct impact on us"We the PEOPLE" and it does not matter what party you belong to, You had better remember who put you there and who you serve or you will be gone come 2012 or perhaps sooner. Both parties had better wake up and smell the coffee you are there to serve the best interest of the nation, its citizens and taxpayers, thats all that needs to be understood by any one.

November 16 2010 at 9:35 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
bobhard2001@consultant.com

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, it's a DUCK!! "Liberalism" was the target duck and Tea People the hunters. Liberalism was severely wounded during this National hunt day, November 2nd 2010! Next shoot, November 2012. The "big quacker" will be the principle target!

November 16 2010 at 7:26 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bobhard2001@consultant.com's comment
rlaitres

The post MIGHT make some sense if the individual would define his term. Some of us, when looking at his ID wonder what area he "consults" in. We certainly hope it is not in the area education. If it is, this country is in bigger trouble than most people believe.

November 16 2010 at 8:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
phil

The republicans now say they are in favor of eliminating "ear marks" on legislation but then the truth comes out that if all ear marks are eliminated it would save just 1% of the huge annual budget which is probably less than they spend on thier lunch money paid for by tax payers. The only real cuts that we could make that would show significant spending reduction is end both the wars.

November 16 2010 at 6:06 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to phil's comment
phil

Wrong, phil. Ending both wars is a start, but the hemorrhage that is even more deadly, (long term), is entitlement spending. (i.e. SSI, Medicare/Medicade) Remember that if we end both wars, our leaders will simply say that we now have available funds, (savings?), to apply to pet social programs. The debt stops here...and now. Cut with a meat ax...and freeze spending. Yes. We know that earmarks are a small part of spending, but...they represent all that is reprehensible about Congress. Back room deals violate the spirit of transparency in government. Earmarks are used by lawmakers as poker chips in a larger hand, in a game that is financed...by you and me. Cleaning up the foul stench of earmark spending should be a start at taking back this country for the people. Today we take back 1%..tomorrow, we take back 5..etc. Join me.

November 17 2010 at 12:35 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
greysells2

The elephant in the room with the lame duck and, later, the newly elected Congress is the state of the economy. We have experienced a very sharp economic downturn which is, in part, the cyclical nature of economic activity. These large macroeconomic forces are hard to change quickly or easily. Voters "blame" and/or "credit" the party in power for the state of the economy. So the "lift" given to a party out of power during tough times is exaggerated and can backfire if they are seen as being "in charge" of the economic agenda. Both parties need to be cautious not to turn off the slow, jobless recovery by doing anything that is destimulative.

November 16 2010 at 1:40 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to greysells2's comment
Marsha Rachford

The big spending from the Dems did not work and will not work to stimulate the economy. That is why the American people voted them out and why every other country is cutting spending while we are increasing spending. Our leader should listen to experts other than the Dem political machine to try and get people working again. The added regulations and Obama care have brought hiring and small business to a halt.

November 17 2010 at 7:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jdwlor

Republicans have one platform and only one! Tax cuts for the rich and thats it,the sad part is all you people beleave they will help you. Lots of luck.

November 16 2010 at 12:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jdwlor's comment
Kenneth

Tax cuts across the board is not this countries problem. Putting more money in peoples pockets creates spending which helps this economy. The problem is cutting government spending to the bone. It seems the more tax revenue we give them the more they spend. I am sure if I could get my hands on their books and make expense cuts we would have a surplus within one year with the present tax levels. to the point I could cut taxes even further. Cut stupid spending.

November 16 2010 at 2:20 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
zhuckhu

Instead of giving stimulus for jobs, Obama gave almost a $1T to the bankers that caused the Recession, almost a depression. No one has even sniffed a supoena. These newly unemployed were his independent voters. This angered/saddened them and moved this group away from all Democrats. Then he passed health care reform threatening the single most important part of having a job. This angered/scared another important part of independents. So, bottom line, Obama took money from the people who voted for him and gave it to people that hate him. Now we see how that worked out for Obama, the Democrats and the rest of U.S.

November 16 2010 at 1:04 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to zhuckhu's comment
phil

Obama? That was done by Bush just before he left office. His administration cried there would be a melt down if it did'nt pass and there just might have been but we will never know.

November 16 2010 at 6:14 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
wood5440

As a voter who supported Obama for President, I can tell you why I have no love right now for the Democrats. It's simple. They think they have to be more like Republicans than Democrats. Read the post-election pundit crap and you will see that they are all saying the same thing: Democrats have to be Republicans. Obama's White House advisers are saying it, too. That's the way it has been since Clinton. Personally, I'm sick of all of them. They are all ****** for the corporations. That's who really won this election...Big Pharma, Big Banks, Wall Street, Big for (LOTS AND LOTS) of profit Health Care, Big Insurance. Watching Obama grovel in front of those guys made me sick. I expect it from Republicans. I hoped for more from the new guy.

November 15 2010 at 9:08 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to wood5440's comment
phil

Woody you are partly right but it appears to me the damage is slowing down rather than going to hell on an express that the republicans had our country aboard. This last election was was the result of frustration and The call for voting the bums out will be returning the bums that caused the mess. If there is a recovery as we are being told, expect it to be slower, not at all, or grow worse.

November 16 2010 at 6:26 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

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