U.S. President Barack Obama (2nd L) meets with (L-R) Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and other members of Congress to discuss foreign policy in the Cabinet Room at the White House July 31, 2014 in Washington, DC. Obama met with the bicameral and bipartisan group before the Senate and House of Representatives recessed today for their 5-week summer break. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Possible government shutdown looming
02:06 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

A new CNN/ORC poll finds 50 percent of Americans think GOP control of Congress will be bad for America

Sixty-eight percent of Americans believe the GOP isn't cooperating enough with the President

The GOP brand has begun to rebound, now only slightly lagging Democrats in terms of popularity

Washington CNN  — 

Half of Americans believe Republican control of both chambers of Congress will be bad for the country, and a majority say it will in fact cause more gridlock in Washington, according to a new CNN/ORC nationwide poll.

But the poll also shows the Republican Party’s brand has improved over the past year, and they now are only slightly less popular than the Democratic Party. Democratic Party approval levels, meanwhile, have remained static.

According to the survey, 50 percent of Americans believe the GOP taking control of the House and the Senate next year will be bad for America, and 52 percent expect it to lead to more gridlock. Another 37 percent, however, expect to see no difference in the levels of gridlock in Congress.

But Americans seem to believe the GOP should be the ones to budge.

Sixty-eight percent of Americans polled say the GOP isn’t cooperating enough with President Barack Obama, while 57 percent say it’s Obama who’s not cooperating enough with the GOP.

Democrats remain the more popular of the two parties — but not by much. Forty-four percent of Americans view the Democratic Party favorably, to the 50 percent who view it unfavorably. But Republicans have rebounded since October of 2013, increasing their favorability by 11 percent. Now, 41 percent of Americans view the Republican Party favorably, while 52 percent view it negatively.

Obama remains underwater in the poll as well, with 48 percent of respondents viewing him favorably while 51 percent view him unfavorably.

Obama’s persistently low approval rating contributed to his party’s resounding defeat this midterm election cycle, and the Republican Party regaining control of the Senate.

Indeed, the CNN/ORC poll shows that a vast majority of Americans — 74 percent — saw the GOP’s wins earlier this month as a repudiation of Democratic policies, far more than the 16 percent who saw it as a mandate for Republicans to pass their own.

And there’s one proposal in particular being floated by some Republicans that doesn’t sit well with Americans — a potential government shutdown.

Only 17 percent of Americans would see it as no problem at all if the government shut down for a few days. A fifth would see it as a crisis, and another 39 percent would see it as a major problem.

A shutdown lasting weeks would be seen as even more dire for Americans. Thirty-nine percent would see such a shutdown as a crisis at that point, and another 38 percent would see it as a major problem.

Some Republicans have suggested the party should attach a measure defunding implementation of the President’s unilateral action on deportations to a must-pass spending bill as a way to respond to what they see as an unlawful abuse of executive power. Obama has indicated he’d veto any such approach, however, effectively shutting down the government.

While some of the GOP proponents of such a tactic have argued the party could avoid responsibility for the shutdown, the CNN/ORC poll suggests that, regardless of the reason, Republicans would take the blame.

Fifty percent of Americans say Republicans would be more responsible for a shutdown, while 33 percent would peg the blame on the president.

The CNN/ORC poll was conducted among 1,045 adults via telephone from Nov. 21-23, and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.