Is Divided Government Good for America?

More than two in five Americans (43%) believe that it is good for the country to have a president and a majority in Congress belonging to different parties, a number that is the same as when this question was asked in both 2006 and in 2008.

One in five U.S. adults (21%) say it is a bad thing and over one-third (36%) are not sure if it is good or bad for the country.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,151 adults surveyed online between Nov. 8 and 15, 2010 by Harris Interactive. The results were released Monday, Nov. 29.

According to the survey, there are some partisan differences in attitudes towards divided government.

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Now that they are the majority in the House of Representatives, almost three in five Republicans (58%) say it is a good thing for the country to have a president and a majority in Congress belonging to different parties.

Democrats, having lost their majority, are a little more divided on divided government – three in ten (30%) believe it is a good thing, over one-third (35%) believe it is a bad thing for the country and over one-third (35%) are not sure if it is a good or bad thing.

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Among Independents, almost half (49%) say a divided government is a good thing for the country, while 16% say it is a bad thing.

Looking back at the recent Congressional election, although he wasn’t anywhere on the ballot, President Obama definitely was a presence as people cast their votes.

Among adults who voted, three in ten (31%) say their vote was against President Obama and one-quarter (27%) say it was for President Obama while two in five (42%) say President Obama was not a factor in their voting decision.

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As one might suspect, partisan leanings impact whether their vote was for or against the President. Over half of Democrats (54%) say their vote was for President Obama and almost two-thirds of Republicans (64%) say theirs was against President Obama.

Among Independents, 14% say their vote was for President Obama and 33% say it was against the President. Three in ten Republicans (31%), over two in five Democrats (43%) and over half of Independents (53%) all say President Obama was not a factor in their vote.

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The survey analyzes that in January, President Obama and the Republicans in Congress will have a rough time between them. There are a lot of different items on the agenda and the American people want to see something done about the economy and unemployment.

At the moment, it is believed that people are more likely to think divided government is a good thing rather than a bad thing for the country, but if nothing gets accomplished over the next few years they may change their minds.

Harris Interactive is a leading custom market research firm.

Photo courtesy: Nextgov, from the story: Low Scores for White House on Transparency

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