CNN Poll: New Congress? Americans not feeling change

Republicans try to stay on message
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Story highlights

  • 6-in-10 Americans don't think the new Congress will get more done than the last
  • And about half say they don't expect Congress to change how responsive it is to the public
  • Despite voting Republicans into power in November, just 28% think the Senate will be better off in Republican hands
  • Americans are split on which party should give more to compromise on bipartisan legislation

Washington (CNN)The Republican Senate takeover is a hot conversation topic in Washington, but outside the nation's capital, Americans aren't feeling much of a change as the new Congress gavels into session on Tuesday.

About 6-in-10 Americans believe the new Congress won't get more done compared to the previous Congress, according to a CNN/ORC poll released Tuesday. And about half of Americans surveyed said they don't expect Congress to be more or less responsive this time around.
On the flip side, 37% of Americans have faith the new Congress will get more done than the last and just 30% of Americans think Congress will be more responsive to the public in the new session.
    Republicans swept the midterm elections, gaining control of the Senate and keeping control of the House of Representatives. But that doesn't mean Americans are confident the GOP will do a better job running the Senate.
    Just 28% of Americans think the Senate will be better off with Republicans wielding the gavel and controlling the flow of legislation to the Senate floor. And 24% think Republicans will do a worse job.
    And in a CNN/ORC poll published last month, half of Americans predicted Republican control of both houses of Congress will be bad news for the country -- with most saying it will cause more gridlock in Washington. Obama, in his final two years in office, will face off with a Republican majority in Congress for the first time of his presidency.
    But on the whole, Americans are now just feeling apathetic to the change in power: 46% said there won't be much difference in how the Senate runs.
    The public has some partisan woes of its own, with the 1,011 Americans polled split down the middle on whether Republicans or Democrats should make more concessions to pass bipartisan legislation.
    Those compromises are sparse on Capitol Hill, and respondents spread the blame on both parties, though slightly more pinned the lack of cooperation on Republicans.
    Americans' low expectations for Congress are nothing new: a whopping 83% of Americans said they disapproved of how Congress was handling its job in a September CNN/ORC poll.
    Those surveyed in the CNN/ORC poll released on Tuesday also sounded off on the role of government. Their message? Less government and less focus on values.
    The government is trying to doing too much that businesses and individual should handle, 58% of Americans surveyed said.
    And 55% said the government shouldn't be in the business of promoting traditional values -- or any values, at all.