Americans Happy With Midterms, Pessimistic About Politics

(CN) — The majority of Americans are happy with the results of the midterm elections, but more pessimistic about the future of partisan relations than they were after the last three midterms, the Pew Research Center reported Thursday.

Forty-four percent of American adults expect that relations between Republicans and Democrats will worsen, and 46 percent expect relations to stay about the same, according to the Pew poll of more than 9,000 people.

Americans today have a much bleaker view of Congress’s ability to cooperate than they did after the midterms in 2014, when 34 percent said partisan relations would worsen, and in 2006, when only 20 percent expressed that view.

While 57 percent of Americans say they are happy with the results of the midterm elections this year — and 59 percent say they are happy that the Democratic Party gained a majority in the House — the majority of Americans still have low expectations for the success of either party’s legislative agenda.

Sixty-one percent say that Democratic leaders in Congress will not be able to push their agenda successfully in Congress, but a similar majority (63 percent) says that President Trump will be unsuccessful in getting his programs enacted.

More than half of Americans (55 percent) say Democrats in Congress should “take the lead in solving the nation’s problems,” and many believe that Democrats will have a better approach than Trump to several issues, including the environment, ethics, Medicare, health care and Social Security.

Fifty-five percent think Democrats can better address environmental issues, while only 19 percent say Trump’s approach is better. Forty-eight percent say Democrats will have a better approach to ethics in government, compared with 22 percent who say Trump’s approach to ethics will be better.

Americans are pretty evenly split on the issue of immigration. Forty-six percent say Democrats have the better approach, while 40 percent say Trump’s approach is better.

The survey found that economic growth, including job creation, is the one area where more Americans prefer Trump’s approach. Forty-four percent prefer Trump’s approach to this issue, and 33 percent favor the Democrats’ approach.

With a majority in the House, Democrats will chair several committees that have the power to investigate the Trump administration. But Democrats are divided on how far the party should go in those investigations.

While 51 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say they’re concerned that Congress will not focus enough on investigations into Trump and his administration, 46 percent say their bigger concern is that there will be too much of a focus on those investigations.

Most midterm voters (64 percent) told Pew researchers that Trump was a “consideration in their vote.” Seventy-one percent of people who say they voted for Democratic candidates characterize their vote as a “vote against Trump.” Fifty-two percent of people who voted for GOP candidates say their vote was “in support of Trump,” and 44 percent say he was not a factor.

The Pew survey also asked Americans how they feel about the record number of women who will be serving in Congress when it convenes in January. Sixty-one percent believe this will be a “good thing,” 4 percent believe it will be a “bad thing,” and 35 percent say it will be neither good nor bad.

Democrats are more than twice as likely as Republicans to say that the record number of women serving in Congress will be a good thing, but the gender gap is not as stark. Sixty-five percent of women and 55 percent of men say the record number of women is a good thing, while 82 percent of Democrats and 36 percent of Republicans say it’s a good thing.

Pew said the margin of error for its results was 1.7 percent.

Margin of error does not mean that there is a 1.7 percent chance that the results are incorrect. It means that if the poll were taken again, from the same number of people, the results would probably be within 1.7 percent of the results obtained the first time.

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