Almost four-in-five Americans “think Republicans and Democrats in Washington have been bickering and opposing each other more than usual,” according to the latest Society for Human Resource Management/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll, conducted with the Pew Research Center. This is the most critical Americans have been of Congressional “bickering” since Pew began this survey in 1993.
The perception that bickering is one the rise has doubled since January 2009, when Obama took office and 50 percent of respondents thought the two parties were working together more than in the past. That number had dropped to 25 percent by early April, 2009. This week it came in at eight percent.
Bickering is correlated with ineffectiveness. Only 20 percent believed Congress had accomplished more than average.
[However] members of both parties in Washington agree that historic steps – whether they are viewed as forward or backward – were taken on health care, financial regulation, fiscal stimulus efforts, the rescue of the automotive and financial industries, education policy changes, and intervention in the national foreclosure crisis.
The results suggest that the angry rhetoric has clouded Congress’s ability to convey a clear message on policy advancements, costing members the ability to cut through the invective with substance.
Who are the voters going to punish for this bickering come November 1st? If you are a Tea Party supporter, your answer is probably “those #!*# Democrats.” But which party has been the most obstructionist? Data suggest that title belongs to the Republicans.
The survey of 1,002 adults, conducted Thursday through Sunday, carries an error margin of 4 percent for the entire sample, with larger error margins for subgroups.