Polarization, partisanship, and gridlock are all the congressional rage these days, or at least, all the rage on Congress anyhow. The midterm elections are still waging onwards, and what party the Senate majority falls to matters now more than ever. So far, expectations have been that Republicans retain the house and Democrats scrape by with the Senate, but recently even the Senate looks to be in a much more precarious position for Democrats. Between FiveThirtyEight, The Washington Post, and others, Republicans are looking at more promising polling. That said, The New York Times has a bit more optimism for Democrats pocket books.
With the election still raging, and the American public polling particularly low ratings for Congress’ job approval, everyone is looking for a solution — and judging from a collection of verbatim poll responses from Gallup, a lot of Americans’ preferred answers fall along the same lines of thinking. Let’s take a look at the often conflicting but generally similar thought processes, and add a dose of realism in while we’re at it.
1. One-Party Congress
While respondents obviously differed on which party they aligned with, many answers called for stronger control in one party or the other. “Elect all Republicans in the Senate,” said one, and “let the Democrats vote and decide which is right, because Republicans are holding everything up” said another. It was not so very long ago — May, in fact — that Gallup‘s polls showed 32 percent preferring on party control in the Senate and House, while 36 percent preferred party control split between the houses.Twenty-four percent felt that it would make no difference.
While the set of answers provided from the phone poll are hardly quantifiable or specific to the congressional split — many didn’t address this — it wouldn’t be surprising to find that as gridlock has continued, and in cases worsened in the legislature, more and more would like to see a power in the hands of a single party to avoid head to head conflict. At this point, if one party control were to take place, it would inevitably be Republicans, and while that would likely end with more bills pushed through both houses, it would also likely ramp up the number of presidential conflict with the legislature — i.e. the president stack of vetoes would grow a little taller.