Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

Congressional Insiders Poll: Is Divided Government Good or Bad? Congressional Insiders Poll: Is Divided Government Good or Bad?

This ad will end in seconds
Close X

Not a member? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation


Magazine / Congressional Insiders Poll

Congressional Insiders Poll: Is Divided Government Good or Bad?

Also: How Powerful Will the Tea Party be in 2012?

July 28, 2011

On balance, do you think that divided government is good or bad?

Democrats (31 votes) 

Good: 26%
Bad: 52%
Depends; neither (volunteered): 22%



“In theory, it should be good and foster compromise, but House Republicans have shown they are incapable of flexibility and reason.”

“If Republicans controlled everything it would be a total disaster.”

“Can you imagine how bad things could be if the tea party controlled everything? Pre-WWII Italy comes to mind!”


“Divided government is proving to be a bad deal for the American people right now. But it doesn’t have to be this way.”

“Democrats got the job done.”

“You gotta be kidding! What about the 112th Congress is not clear?”

“Track dollars donated to campaigns, however, and you’ll find there is truly little division in government. Wall Street sees no division here in Washington, as both parties are steadfastly in their pockets. Campaign finance reform anyone?”

“Too much male chicken game going on here: The old-timers used to work it out. Now, the show horses are in charge.”

“No one is then accountable to the country.”

“Bad when partisanship is so extreme.”

“Bad this term.”

Depends; neither

“It’s certainly better than when Republicans run everything. Divided government can produce results, but it requires both sides to be willing to compromise—something we don’t see now in the Republican Party.”

“Divided government is good if the alternative is full Republican control and bad if the alternative is full Democratic control.”

“I’ve seen divided government when it’s been good, and I’ve seen it when it’s been bad. If the two sides in a divided government are committed to working to build consensus and find the middle on difficult issues, that divided government has the potential to be very good. That dynamic is not the one we’re witnessing today.”

“Divided, OK. Dysfunction, no-no.”

“There are times when divided government has moderated excesses and produced a positive policy blend. At present, however, with deep polarization and the Republicans beholden to their most extreme elements, it is dysfunctional and dangerous.”

“Divided government can work if both sides are willing to compromise. Unfortunately, the House Republicans will not.”


On balance, do you think that divided government is good or bad? 

Republicans (30 votes)

Good: 77%
Bad: 17%
Depends; neither (volunteered): 7%


“Parties get too arrogant when they control all branches.”

“But it requires politicians to compromise. That is hazardous to one’s political survival these days. The politicians aren’t the problem with respect to compromise—the voters are.”

“There’s a difference between a divided government and a divisive one. Most independents and rational people are OK with a somewhat-divided government so that real leaders can seek out balance and compromise. We saw what the Democrats did with full control of all three levers of government: an extreme agenda on spending and programs that caused serious backlash and brought in the GOP House.”

“Good in theory, not always good in practice.”

“The current so-called gridlock is simply the Republicans providing a firewall to keep [the Democrats from] digging us into fiscal oblivion. Just look back at the past totally controlled by a Dem Congress for proof.”

“But history has proven that both options have had good and bad moments.”

“We have a divided government by design. Our two-party system coupled with a bicameral legislature creates a bottleneck for a lot of bad legislation and gives us the opportunity to undo harmful laws.”

“It’s the only way to put sacred cows on the table as hamburger.”

“We cannot go back to the [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi dictatorship and ‘iron rule.’ ”


“Every Congress, it gets a little worse. It is more and more difficult to find common ground.”

Depends; neither

“Good, if Republicans are in the majority in both bodies of Congress, and the White House; bad if Republicans aren’t in the majority in both bodies, and the White House.”

“Depends on the integrity and trustworthiness of elected officials.”


Do you feel the tea party will be more or less of a force in the 2012 elections than it was in 2010?

Democrats (31 votes)

More:  19%
Less:  77%
Same (volunteered): 3%


“I don’t see how their followers change their attitude before the next election.”

“More of a negative force.”

“As long as we have a black president, the tea party will exist. Their sole goal is to bring President Obama down.”


“The wave that swept them in will easily sweep them out.”

“Way, way less.”

“The tea party will certainly have an impact on Republican primaries and determining nominees, but less in the overall election, as the electorate is broader.”

“Just like MoveOn, they will suffer from the same disappointment and fatigue that all newcomers to politics encounter.”

“The tea party may have peaked in its impact on Election Day 2010.”

“People don’t like what they’ve seen in 200 days of Republicans in charge.”

“A force to be reckoned with, but its energy is much diminished.”

“The public notices their extreme rigidity.”

“They will scare the public with threatened defaults, repeal of Medicare, and cuts to Social Security. And where are the jobs?”

“If the economy crashes due to a default, it will be a scarlet letter ‘T’ for any member associated [with the tea party].”

“I think the American people are getting a clearer picture of how extreme the tea party is, and the pendulum will start to swing the other way.”

“Got to believe the public will get their fill by then.”

“Hopefully, most will have been institutionalized by then!”


Do you feel the tea party will be more or less of a force in the 2012 elections than it was in 2010?

Republicans (30 votes)

More: 40%
Less: 57%
Same (volunteered): 3%


“The tea party succeeded in bringing back small-government principles into the public consciousness. This created an immeasurable effect that will be felt long past the 2012 elections.”

“Unless they burn out their troops by engaging in every sneeze and cough in Washington, they will be motivated beyond belief.”

“Tea party is well intentioned, but absolute positions lead to misguided targets.”

“Needs to be careful: The Sharron Angle types stood in the doorway of a GOP majority.”


“The higher the turnout, the less important the tea party is. And turnout will be very high in 2012.”

“The tea party is a diverse group of conservatives and libertarians who hadn’t previously been involved in the political process. Given that it seems unlikely they will be able to take credit for another wave election, it appears they’ll be influential on some issues, but less of a force.”

“They have already lost about half of their followers because they spend so much time ‘holding Republicans accountable’ and demanding purity instead of going after Democrats. They are increasingly looked at as radical, because Republicans are falling away and they are left with libertarians.”

“People are tired of the pure ideological divide that has completely stalled Washington. Independents will be a larger pool of voters because of the partisan back and forth. People are beginning to realize that the tea party has overreached and [is] causing more harm than good. We can’t govern with an ideological gun to our heads, no matter which side of the aisle is pointing it.”

“The tea partiers are more diverse than any one particular chapter or nationally organized tea party association. Their thoughts are very independent in nature, so they lack the ability to form one unified group—and I admire that.”

“The tea party is increasing the heat to deal with spending, but the tea tastes more bitter than average voters expected, which will limit their appeal.”


Democratic Congressional Insiders Sens. Sherrod Brown, Ben Cardin, Thomas Carper, Christopher A. Coons, Mark Pryor, Tom Udall; Reps. Jason Altmire, Robert Andrews, Tammy Baldwin, Karen Bass, Xavier Becerra, Howard Berman, Lois Capps, Michael Capuano, Dennis Cardoza, James Clyburn, Gerry Connolly, Joseph Crowley, Diana DeGette, Rosa DeLauro, Anna Eshoo, Sam Farr, Chaka Fattah, Bob Filner, Rush Holt, Mike Honda, Marcy Kaptur, Jim Langevin, John Lewis, Zoe Lofgren, Ed Markey, Jim McDermott, Jim McGovern, Jim Moran, Gary Peters, Collin Peterson, David Price, Linda Sanchez, Allyson Schwartz, Jose Serrano, Bennie Thompson, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Henry Waxman, Peter Welch, and Frederica Wilson.

GOP Congressional Insiders Sens. John Cornyn, Johnny Isakson, Richard Lugar, David Vitter; Reps. Brian Bilbray, John Boehner, Charles Boustany, Kevin Brady, John Campbell, Eric Cantor, John Carter, Tom Cole, Mike Conaway, Jeff Denham, David Dreier, Sean Duffy, Jo Ann Emerson, Jeff Flake, Scott Garrett, Bob Goodlatte, Trey Gowdy, Kay Granger, Doc Hastings, Nan Hayworth, Mike Kelly, Peter King, Jack Kingston, Adam Kinzinger, John Kline, Dan Lungren, Kenny Marchant, Kevin McCarthy, Candice Miller, Sue Myrick, Devin Nunes, Tom Price, Dave Reichert, Mike Rogers of Michigan, Phil Roe, Paul Ryan, Aaron Schock, Adrian Smith, Steve Stivers, Lee Terry, Pat Tiberi, Fred Upton, Daniel Webster, and Joe Wilson.

Job Board
Search Jobs
Professional Development Program Engineer
American Society of Civil Engineers | Farmington Hills, MI
Biomedical Service Internship Position
American Society of Civil Engineers | Flint, MI
Intern - 6 months - Computational Fluid Dynamics
American Society of Civil Engineers | MD
Structural Engineer
American Society of Civil Engineers | New Haven, CT
CAD Technician
American Society of Civil Engineers | Warner Robins, GA
Transportation Planner
American Society of Civil Engineers | Salinas, CA
Engineer, Development Sr. (Application/Software Development) -Vernon Hills, IL
American Society of Civil Engineers | Vernon Hills, IL
Assistant Professor – Sustainable Horticultural Energy Management
American Society of Civil Engineers | Raleigh, NC
Architectural Engineer / Technology Consultant Top Pay!
American Society of Civil Engineers | New York, NY
Assistant Project Manager
American Society of Civil Engineers | Yonkers, NY
Materials Engineer 2
American Society of Civil Engineers | IL
Quality Assurance Director/Manager
American Society of Civil Engineers | Chantilly, VA
Engineering Field Technicians
American Society of Civil Engineers | Campbell Hall, NY
Estimator/Preconstruction Coordinator
American Society of Civil Engineers | Larchmont, NY
comments powered by Disqus