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Voters Doubt Obama, GOP Congress Can Work Together

Voters question whether President Obama set the right tone in his first press conference after Election Day, and most aren’t optimistic about his working relationship with the new Republican congressional majority.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 24% of Likely U.S. Voters are at least somewhat confident that the president and the new Republican majority in Congress can work together and do what’s best for the American people. Seventy-three percent (73%) lack that confidence. This includes just six percent (6%) who are Very Confident the two sides can work together and 33% who are Not At All Confident. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

That’s even less confidence than voters showed after the 2010 election when Republicans took control of the House of Representatives: 43% were at least somewhat confident that Obama could work with the new GOP-run House to do what’s best for the American people. But 56% didn't share the confidence.

It doesn't help that only 35% think Obama set the right tone in his first post-election press conference. Forty-one percent (41%) believe he did not set the right tone in his remarks, but 24% are not sure. Voters were even more evenly divided on the president’s tone during his post-2010 election press conference

The new Congress won't be sworn in until January, but just 25% of voters think it’s at least somewhat likely that major legislation to improve the country will be passed during its first 100 days, including seven percent (7%) who say that is Very Likely. Sixty-eight percent (68%) say it’s not likely such legislation will be passed early on in the new Congress, with 28% who think it’s Not At All Likely

From a list of six issues now being debated in Washington, D.C., 31% of voters think Republicans in Congress should deal with taxes and spending first. Immigration comes in second with 22% support, while 18% think the GOP-led Congress should tackle Obamacare first. Twelve percent (12%) name the War on Terror as the issue in need of the most attention, while just as many (11%) say that of the Keystone XL pipeline. Just two percent (2%) say congressional Republicans should deal with climate change first.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted on November 6-7, 2014 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of voters said following last Tuesday's election that it's likely most voters will be disappointed with Republicans in Congress before the 2016 elections

Predictably, there are partisan differences of opinion on these questions. Sixty-two percent (62%) of Democrats, for example, think the president struck the right tone during his press conference, but only six percent (6%) of Republicans and 32% of voters not affiliated with either major political party agree.

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of voters in the president’s party are not confident that he and the new GOP-run Congress will be able to work together, but that view is shared by over 80% of both Republicans and unaffiliateds.

Only 36% of GOP voters think major legislation is likely to pass in the first 100 days of the new Congress, but that compares to 25% of Democrats and just 15% of unaffiliated voters.

Republicans place equal importance on Obamacare and taxes and spending as the top priorities for the new Congress. Democrats and unaffiliated voters put more emphasis on taxes and spending, with immigration in second place.

Just before the election, 55% of all voters said it is likely the health care law will be repealed if Republicans took control of Congress. However, that’s down from 60% in September and 64% in July.

Sixty-seven percent (67%) of voters say they followed news stories about the president's first press conference following Election Day at least somewhat closely, with 35% who followed Very Closely. 

Voters are clearly unhappy with the current Congress. Just 16% think the House is doing a good or excellent job, and 13% say the same of the Senate. The number who give Congress as a whole good or excellent marks has been in single digits for months.

Yet when asked to analyze that same Congress, 53% of Likely Democratic Voters (53%) believe congressional Democrats have done a good job representing their party’s values, while just half as many Likely GOP Voters (28%) feel that way about Republicans in Congress.

The president’s daily job approval index has hovered in the negative high teens for the past several months.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted on November 6-7, 2014 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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