Poll: Americans are over divided government

October 1, 2012

Typically, polls show that Americans prefer divided government to single-party government. As the thinking goes, voters are skeptical of both parties and feel better knowing neither Democrats nor Republicans have that much power. 

At least, that's what the polls used to show:

We'll need to see a few more years of data before we can confidently say whether this is a blip or a trend. But given the past year, can you blame voters?

The partisan divisions in the 112th Congress haven't led to thoughtful, cautious lawmaking. They've led to reckless brinksmanship and corrosive paralysis. Congressional Republicans almost forced the government to breach the debt ceiling, wounding the economy and nearly triggering a financial crisis.

The 112th Congress has passed fewer public laws than any congress since 1948, when we began recording congressional productivity:

 Divided government isn't working. Of course, given the level of polarization and the constant use of the filibuster, there's no reason to believe that one-party government would work all that well, either. Which is why I suspect Ed Kilgore is right when he says that the real question when addressing gridlock is whether we can "get people informed and interested in filibuster reform."

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Sarah Kliff · October 1, 2012