Is there something the Democrats and Republicans in Congress can agree upon that the American public WANTS them to do? The constant bickering and sparing for political points turns off most Americans, but the refusal to let the other party get credit for anything good is also preventing the good ideas from getting anywhere.
What good ideas?
As the new Congress began its work in January, Gallup conducted a poll of voters asking what actions they most wanted Congress to take in 2011. Given the politics of Capitol Hill they expected answers all over the map, but instead got some surprising voter feedback.
Here is the question and answers from that poll:
QUESTION: I’m going to read a list of actions Congress could take this year. Please say whether you strongly favor, favor, oppose or strongly oppose Congress doing each of the following this year. How about –
|Total % Favor||Total % Oppose|
|Pass an energy bill that provides incentives for using solar and other alternative energy sources||83||15|
|Pass a bill to overhaul the federal tax code||76||14|
|Speed up the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan||72||25|
|Pass an energy bill that expands drilling and exploration for oil and gas||65||33|
|Approve a free-trade agreement with South Korea||53||35|
|Pass stronger gun control laws||49||50|
|Take steps to deny automatic citizenship to children born in the US whose parents are illegal immigrants||44||54|
|Pass a bill to give some illegal immigrants living in the US a path to legal status||43||55|
Source: Gallup, based on polling on Jan 14-16, 2011.
See what I mean?
Voters seem to want Congress to act but they favor solutions on both sides of the aisle. More than 85% favor creating incentives for solar and other clean energy sources on the one hand, but 65% also want the barriers removed for more domestic oil and gas exploration because we worry about energy security and believe keeping more of our money at home rather than spending it on imported oil is better for the country.