November 2012 Public Opinion Survey

1. Using a grade A to F, please grade the current Congress’s performance in the following areas: 

- Dealing with key issues facing the country

A

 2%

B

 5%

C

15%

D

24%

F

54%

Overall Grade = D (0.75)

- Keeping excessive partisanship in check

A

 1%

B

 3%

C

13%

D

18%

F

64%

Overall Grade = D- (0.60)

- Conducting its business in a careful, deliberate way 

A

 2%

B

 5%

C

18%

D

24%

F

51%

Overall Grade = D (0.82)

- Holding its members to high standards of ethical conduct 

A

 1%

B

 6%

C

17%

D

25%

F

51%

Overall Grade = D (0.83)

- Controlling the influence of special interest groups

A

 2%

B

 3%

C

14%

D

19%

F

62%

Overall Grade = D- (0.65)

2. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job?

Approve

 9%

Disapprove

91%

3. Using a grade A to F, please grade citizens’ performance in the following areas: 

- Following what is going on in Congress


A

 4%

B

 8%

C

27%

D

35%

F

25%

Overall Grade = D+ (1.31)

- Contacting members of Congress on issues that concern them

A

 4%

B

 9%

C

34%

D

33%

F

20%

Overall Grade = D+ (1.44)

- Voting in congressional elections and presidential elections

A

 5%

B

16%

C

38%

D

27%

F

14%

Overall Grade = C- (1.70)

- Being able to get to the core facts on issues before Congress

A

 2%

B

 7%

C

30%

D

36%

F

24%

Overall Grade = D+ (1.26)

4. Is it better for Congress to pass legislation quickly and efficiently, or take the time to consider issues thoroughly and carefully?

Pass legislation quickly and efficiently

  17%

Take the time to consider issues thoroughly and carefully

  83%

5. Would you say that most Americans typically agree on what Congress should do, or are there usually wide differences of opinion?

Agree on what Congress should do

21%

Wide differences of opinion

79%

6. Should members of Congress stand up for their principles no matter what, or compromise with their opponents in order to get something done?

Stand up for their principles

38%

Compromise to get something done

61%

7. Do you believe that the delays in Congress are due to serious differences on the issues, or that members just like to bicker and score political points?

Serious differences on the issues

29%

Like to bicker and score political points

71%

8. How much of an impact does the work of Congress have on your life?

A great deal

50%

Some

38%

Little

 9%

None

 3%

9. Over the last decade, has the power of the President been about right, too much, or too little?

About right

40%

Too much

43%

Too little

17%

10. Over the last decade, has the power of the Congress been about right, too much, or too little?

About right

24%

Too much

56%

Too little

20%

11. Who should take the lead in the following areas?

 - setting the national agenda?

President

36%

Congress

9%

President and Congress

55%

 - determining the federal budget?

President

11%

Congress

26%

President and Congress

63%

 - deciding to go to war? 

President

18%

Congress

19%

President and Congress

63%

12. Do members of Congress listen and care about what people like you think?

Yes, most of the time

 1%

Sometimes

31%

No, not very often

67%

13. When voting on issues in Congress, is it more important for members of Congress to reflect the opinions of the people back home, or use their own best judgment?

Reflect the opinions of people back home

77%

Use their best judgment

23%

14. What do you think is the main thing that influences what members of Congress do in office?

Personal self interest

36%

Interests of the people in their state or district

 9%

Interests of the country as a whole

 5%

Special interests

49%

15. How well do you think members of Congress understand the views and interests of people in their state or district?

Very well

 5%

Somewhat

60%

Not at all

35 %

16. To do their jobs well, how important is it for members of Congress to spend a lot of time back home with their constituents?

Very important

58%

Somewhat important

39%

Not important

 3%

17. In the past two years, have you contacted your Representative in the U.S. House or one of your U.S. Senators?

Yes

56%

No

44%

18. If you were giving advice to your members of Congress, how would you rate the importance of each of the following for communicating with the people back home? 

 - Holding on-line town hall meetings

Very Important

31%

Somewhat helpful

54%

Not Useful

15%

 - Developing a good website

Very Important

41%

Somewhat helpful

49%

Not Useful

10%

 - Sending out postal mailings on legislative issues

Very Important

25%

Somewhat helpful

53%

Not Useful

22%

 - Sending out email updates on issues

Very Important

39%

Somewhat helpful

52%

Not Useful

 9%

 - Using social media like Facebook or Twitter

Very Important

17%

Somewhat helpful

50%

Not Useful

33%

 - Using online questions and surveys

Very Important

43%

Somewhat helpful

49%

Not Useful

 8%

 - Holding public meetings in the state or district

Very Important

57%

Somewhat helpful

39%

Not Useful

 4%

 - Hosting telephone town meetings

Very Important

17%

Somewhat helpful

47%

Not Useful

36%

19. Please tell me whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with the following statements:

 - My members of Congress try to keep me informed of what they are doing in Washington.

Strongly agree

 8%

Somewhat agree

30%

Somewhat disagree

34%

Strongly disagree

28%

 - Information from my members of Congress is trustworthy.

Strongly agree

 7%

Somewhat agree

36%

Somewhat disagree

34%

Strongly disagree

22%

 - It’s easy for me to find out what’s happening in Congress.

Strongly agree

10%

Somewhat agree

37%

Somewhat disagree

36%

Strongly disagree

16%

 - It’s easy for me to express my views to my U.S. Representative and Senators.

Strongly agree

15%

Somewhat agree

40%

Somewhat disagree

28%

Strongly disagree

16%

20. How big a problem is incivility in Congress?

Major problem

65%

Minor problem

30%

Not a problem

 5%

21. Do you feel the tone of the debate in Congress has over the past several years gotten considerably worse, somewhat worse, or is basically unchanged?

Considerably worse

52%

Somewhat worse

27%

Basically unchanged

20%

Somewhat better

 1%

Considerably better

 1%

22. How much of the blame for the incivility in Congress would you place on each of the following?

 - party leaders 

Major factor

65%

Somewhat of a factor

31%

Not a factor

 3%

- the increased incivility in society generally

Major factor

33%

Somewhat of a factor

53%

Not a factor

14%

 - members of Congress themselves

Major factor

70%

Somewhat of a factor

28%

Not a factor

 1%

 - the voters who elected them

Major factor

24%

Somewhat of a factor

47%

Not a factor

28%

 - the media

Major factor

51%

Somewhat of a factor

37%

Not a factor

12%

 - political campaigns

Major factor

54%

Somewhat of a factor

41%

Not a factor

 5%

23. Do you think the civility in Congress over the next few years will improve, stay about the same, or get worse?

Improve

14%

Stay about the Same

55%

Get worse

31%

24. How much of a difference can ordinary voters make in reducing the incivility in Congress by contacting legislators about their behavior and voting for candidates who are more civil?

Big difference

30%

Some difference

46%

No difference

24%

25. Would uncivil behavior and not treating others in a respectful way be a reason for you to vote against a certain candidate?

Yes

64%

No

31%

Maybe

 4%