A New Session of Congress

NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist National Poll

Americans Lack Confidence in New Congress’ Ability to Reach Bipartisan Agreement... Seek Compromise Not Gridlock

Nearly six in ten Americans have no confidence in the 118th Congress’ ability to work together in a bipartisan way, and most Americans crave compromise among the nation’s leaders rather than gridlock even if that gridlock results from a principled stand on the issues. When Congress convenes in January, more than three in ten Americans say inflation should be Congress’ top priority. And, as the nation draws closer to the second anniversary of the riots at the Capitol, more than eight in ten Americans fear for the future of U.S. democracy.

Bipartisan Agreement in Congress?
Do you have a lot, some, or no confidence that the Democrats and Republicans in Congress over the next two years will be able to work together in a bipartisan way?
NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll National Adults. Interviews conducted Dec. 6 - Dec. 8, 2022, n=1,312 MOE +/- 3.5 percentage points. Totals may not add to 100% due to rounding. Trend data source: Dec. 2008 Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg News Poll
  • 58% of Americans have no confidence that the Democrats and Republicans in Congress will work together in a bipartisan way over the next two years. The proportion of Americans with this view has more than doubled since 2008. According to a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg News survey released that year, only 23% of U.S. residents reported low confidence in achieving bipartisan agreement in Congress.

  • 74% of Americans, up from 64% in February, say it is more important for government officials in Washington to compromise to find solutions than to stand on principle (24%). The 74% of Americans who prioritize compromise over principle matches the highest proportion of Americans with this view in a decade.

  • 31% of U.S. residents say inflation should be the top priority for the new Congress. Preserving democracy (18%), immigration (11%), crime (9%), climate change (9%), and health care (9%) follow. Abortion receives 7% while gun policy garners 6%. Priorities differ between parties. The top three issues for Democrats are preserving democracy (29%), inflation (20%), and climate change (17%). Republicans cite inflation (41%), immigration (23%), and preserving democracy (11%) as their top three issues for the new Congress.

  • 24% of Americans think the current Congress has accomplished more than recent sessions of Congress. This is up from 15%, according to a 2018 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center and is the highest proportion of Americans with this view since October 1998 (24%). 40% of residents nationally say the current Congress has done less than previous congresses, and 33% say it has achieved about the same amount.

  • 83% of Americans think there is a serious threat to the future of the nation’s democracy. This marks an increase from 77% in July. 16% say there is no serious threat to democracy.

"Most Americans would like to see more progress on important issues in Washington," says Lee M. Miringoff, Director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. "Although about a quarter feel the current Congress took some steps in that direction, most are pessimistic that the next Congress will take significant strides to work together."

Dems or GOP Bigger Threat to Democracy? Americans Divide

48% of Americans view the Republican Party as the bigger threat to democracy in the United States while 45% say the Democratic Party is the bigger danger. Four percent say the parties are equally perilous. Partisan allegiances are in play.

Favorable Ratings of the Two Major Parties Upside Down

47% of Americans have an unfavorable impression of the Democratic Party while 42% have a favorable view of it. The Republican Party’s favorable score is also upside down at 47% unfavorable to 41% favorable.

Biden’s Approval Rating at 43%; Negative Score Declines

43% of Americans approve of the job President Joe Biden is doing in office, comparable to the 42% he received in mid-November. However, Biden’s disapproval score has dropped. 48%, down from 54%, disapprove of Biden’s job performance. Biden’s disapproval is the lowest score he has received since late September 2021 (46%).

37% of Americans say they strongly disapprove of Biden’s job performance while 22% strongly approve.

Many Dems & Dem Leaning Independents Prefer Someone Other than Biden as 2024 Nominee

In a multi-candidate contest, 35% of Democrats and Democratic leaning independents want Biden to be the party’s nominee in 2024. But, a majority of potential Democratic presidential primary voters prefer another candidate including 17% who back Kamala Harris, 16% who support Pete Buttigieg, and 27% who are looking for someone else. Five percent are unsure.

Trump is Front-runner for GOP Nomination in Multi-candidate Field

Although a majority of potential Republican presidential primary voters prefer someone else, 45% of Republicans and Republican leaning independents want former President Donald Trump to be the Republican nominee in 2024. This includes 33% for Ron DeSantis, 8% for Mike Pence, and 11% for a different candidate. Three percent are unsure.

Support for Same-Sex Marriage

67% of Americans either strongly favor (36%) or favor (31%) allowing same-sex couples to legally marry. Support for same sex-marriage has been on an upward trend since Marist first asked about the issue in 2013. Currently, 75% of GenZ and Millennials support same sex-marriage in contrast to 42% of the Silent/Greatest generation.

Seven in Ten Do Not Think It’s a Good Time to Buy Big Ticket Items

70% of Americans do not think now is a good time to make a major purchase. This includes 61% of GenZ and Millennials, 74% of GenX, 72% of Baby Boomers, and 78% of the Silent/Greatest generation.