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CNN Poll: Most Democrats Support Bigger Social Safety Net And Climate Bill


Support for an economic bill that enacts all proposed social safety net and climate change policies is highest among Liberal Democrats (84%), but two-thirds of party moderates and conservatives share this point of view (67%). Despite this relative agreement, the poll also suggests an almost even split between Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents over which faction in this intra-party debate that does the most to help the party as a whole.

Political independents are narrowly divided on what Congress should do with the economic bill, with 36% saying lawmakers should pass a more comprehensive bill, 32% that they should pass a smaller bill and 32% % that they shouldn’t adopt anything at all.

The views of independents, however, largely depend on which party they feel closest to: most independents who lean toward the Democratic Party say Congress should pass the bill in its entirety (56%) , while most of those who lean toward the Republican Party say Congress shouldn’t pass any version of the bill (60%).

Overall, 41% of Americans say they would rather Congress pass an economic bill that enacts all proposed social safety net and climate change policies rather than a bill that enacts fewer of these. policies and costs less. Thirty percent are in favor of a reduced bill, and 29% say they would like Congress not to pass any version of the bill, a sentiment largely motivated by Republicans, 55% of whom would prefer to see the whole bill dropped.

Amid the ongoing debate over key elements of his agenda and the end of a difficult time in the coronavirus pandemic, Americans are divided over President Joe Biden’s approval rating. In the new poll, 50% agree while 49% disapprove, largely unchanged from a CNN poll conducted in August and September. The public is also divided over whether Biden has done more during his tenure to unite the country (51%) or divide it (49%).

Highlighting the challenge Democrats face in trying to defend the bills, the poll found that relatively few people see this bundle of economic and infrastructure bills as a project that would help them personally. If Congress passed both bills, only about a quarter (25%) say their family would be better off, while 32% say it would be worse and 43% say it would be roughly the same. same. And the proportion saying they would not be affected by these bills is increasing among several groups critical to Democratic electoral success, including independent women (59%), blacks (58%), those under 35 (54%). ), Latinos (51%) and moderates (50%).

Few Americans, regardless of political affiliation, listen to congressional negotiations – only 16% of the public, less than a fifth in either party, say they’ve been following the news very closely, and 42% of Americans say they haven’t followed the story too closely, if at all. In comparison to a more widely followed story, in December 2019, 42% of Americans were following Congressional impeachment hearings against then-President Donald Trump very closely, and only about a quarter said they didn’t pay much attention to it.

For the most part, attentive and less engaged Americans hold similar views on how Congress should act. But those who don’t follow the debate closely are about twice as likely as those who say passing the bills wouldn’t have much of an effect on their families. Among supporters, attentive Democrats are more likely than those who pay less attention to say that the bills would help their families, while Republicans who are at least somewhat tuned in are more likely than their less engaged counterparts to say the bills would hurt them.

Divisions within the Democratic Party

Negotiations on the economic bill pitted moderate Democrats in the Senate – where the slim Democratic majority means that a single deserting senator could doom the bill’s prospects – against Liberal Democratic members of the House. But Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents in the poll don’t see the party as divided. Only 26% of that group say they see the party as primarily divided rather than primarily united – comparable to the 30% of Republicans and Republicans who see the GOP as primarily divided.

Still, the Democratic electorate disagrees on which side of the debate is doing the most to help the party: 49% say progressives trying to implement ambitious liberal policies are doing more for Democrats, while 51 % give more credit to moderates trying to contain public spending.

Opinions within the party are divided along ideological lines, but far from being universally so: self-proclaimed liberal side, 64% to 36%, with the goal of ambitious liberal policies, while moderates and conservatives line up 61% at 39% behind those focused on controlling public spending. There is also a generational gap, with those under 45 favoring the progressives and those 45 and over siding with the moderates.

The poll also finds that there isn’t even a universal alignment between what Democrats and Democrats say they want for the bill and what they think is most useful for the party. Of those in favor of a broader bill enacting all proposed policies on the social safety net and climate change, 60% say progressives are doing more to help the party and 40% say moderates are doing more to help the party. are. Democrats who are in favor of a lean bill break 74% saying that the moderates do more to help and 26% that the progressives are.

More than 8 in 10 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say they approve of the way Biden is handling these negotiations (82% approve, 18% disapprove). Of those who disagree, 37% say Biden does not do enough to support moderates in Congress, compared with 3 in 10 who say he does not go far enough to support progressives (30%).

Opinions on the Congress

Congressional approval has declined slightly since April, with 27% now saying they approve of the way Congress handles its work (from 31%) and 73% disapproving (from 64%). While that number is deeply negative, it has outperformed Congressional approval in CNN polls for much of the past decade; the last time Congress received a positive net employment approval rating in this poll was in 2004.

Americans are also divided on whether Democratic control of Congress is good for the country (36%) or bad for it (38%). About a quarter say it’s neither good nor bad (26%).

Yet most say their own congressman deserves re-election (55% say so), even though the public judges partisan members more harshly. More than 6 in 10 (63%) say most Republican members do not deserve re-election, while a majority say the same of most Democratic members (54%). Democrats are more likely to say members of Congress from their own party deserve re-election (80%) than Republicans (65%).

The CNN poll was conducted by SSRS from Oct. 7 to 11 among a random national sample of 1,000 adults surveyed online after being recruited using probabilistic methods. The results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points, it is larger for subgroups.