CNN Poll: Nearly seven in 10 judge Congress a failure so far

Story highlights

  • Approval of the current Republican leaders in Congress has dropped from 39% in January to just 24% now
  • 68% of Americans judge the GOP Congress a failure so far after last month's repeal and replace plan died
  • A plurality (38%) say disagreement among Republicans in Congress is the main reason for the lack of new laws

Washington (CNN)Here's a silver lining for President Donald Trump: he's still more popular than Congress.

Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have earned the ire of most Americans, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS, with nearly seven in 10 (68%) judging the Republican Congress a failure so far after last month's repeal and replace plan died in the Senate.
    Approval of the current Republican leaders in Congress has dropped from 39% in January to just 24% now. Seven in 10 say they disapprove of Republican leaders in the legislature. More broadly, only about a quarter of all Americans (24%) judge the Republican Congress a success so far. President Trump gets the approval of 38% of Americans in the CNN poll.
    Republicans themselves are evenly split 44% to 44% on whether the GOP-led Congress has been a success or failure so far. Even three quarters of people who approve of Trump say they disapprove of Congress (76%) and a plurality (48%) says the GOP-led legislature has been a failure.
    Still, only one in three Americans (34%) say they approve of Democratic leaders in Congress, while six in 10 (59%) disapprove.
    Views among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents of their party's congressional leadership has plummeted over the last eight months, falling from 75% approval in January to just 39% now. Democrats' and Democratic-leaning independents' views of their party's leadership remains basically unchanged at 50% today.
    And three quarters of Americans say they disapprove of how Congress is handling its job; only 20% of Americans approve, matching this year's low in January. That figure holds across party lines, with only about one in five on each side saying they approve of Congress's work so far. Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents are more positive about their leaders in Congress (50% approve) than are Republicans and GOP-leaning independents about their leaders (39% approve).
    Congress left for its August recess without passing any sweeping, comprehensive legislation, failing in its attempt to pass something on health care and leaving tax reform on the docket. A vote on the debt ceiling looms this fall.

    Republicans in Congress shouldering more blame in poll

    A plurality of Americans (38%) say disagreement among Republicans in Congress is the main reason for the lack of major legislation so far this term, while a quarter each blame a lack of leadership from President Trump (26%) and opposition from Democrats (25%).
    Among Republicans only, a slim majority (51%) cast the blame on Democrats for the lack of new legislation vs. a third (32%) who say disagreement from Republicans is to blame. Only 8% point the blame at President Trump.
    Moving forward, a majority of all Americans (56%) says Republicans should work with Democrats to make changes to current health care policy. The rest are divided: One in five say the GOP should both stop trying to repeal Obamacare completely (21%) and the same share say Republicans should keep trying to repeal it anyway (21%). Republicans themselves are split on this question: 45% say GOP leaders should continue trying to repeal Obamacare on their own, 42% that they should work with Democrats to make changes.
    Only 14% of Americans now say it's very likely that Trump and the Republicans will be able to pass repeal and replace legislation, down from 18% in July before the failure of the most recent effort to repeal and replace the law. Just 28% of Republicans and 27% of Trump approvers say it's very likely. A majority (56%) say it's not likely that Republicans will be successful in passing their own health care bill, the first time that figure has topped 50% in CNN polling.

    Health care most important issue facing US today

    Still, just a third (33%) say Obamacare should be repealed completely, regardless of whether it is replaced. Among those who oppose repeal, more say the law needs minor changes than a major overhaul, while just 6% of all Americans say it should be left as is.
    When asked about the 2010 health care law, a slim majority of Americans (51%) say they oppose the legislation vs. 42% of Americans who favor the bill. That's a return to the level of support seen in May 2015. But when the question was posed as to whether they support "Obamacare" -- the colloquial term for the Affordable Care Act -- support for the law is higher. Half favor the law vs. 46% who oppose it.
    Nearly six in 10 say they favor a national health insurance program, even if it means higher taxes (58%). That's down slightly from ten years ago, before the passage of the ACA, when 64% supported the idea. Still, eight in 10 Democrats (81%) say they support the idea.
    A quarter of Americans, a plurality, (24%) say health care is the most important issue facing the country today. One in seven (15%) focus on the economy, 11% say immigration, 8% say foreign policy and 8% name Donald Trump. Less than 5% name each of several other issues, like the environment, civil rights, government spending, education and other issues.

    A gender divide and 2018 watch

    Six in 10 women back Democrats for Congress in 2018, while men back Republicans by a slim 5-point margin. Independents favor Democrats by 9 points, 46% to 37%. Democrats have been optimistic that Trump's unpopularity might spark a wave election in 2018, but the electoral map is unfriendly so far and Republicans have held seats in tight special elections.
    Democrats lead a generic Congressional ballot among all Americans by 11 points, 51% to 40%. Still, midterm electorates typically lean more Republican than all Americans. Democrats lead registered voters by a similar 51% to 42%.
    The CNN Poll was conducted by SSRS by telephone August 3 through 6 among a random national sample of 1,018 adults. The margin of sampling error for results among the full sample is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points, it is larger for subgroups.