Two Cheers for Divided Government. (Opinion Pulse)

By Bowman, Karlyn | The American Enterprise, October-November 2002 | Go to article overview

Two Cheers for Divided Government. (Opinion Pulse)


Bowman, Karlyn, The American Enterprise


Divided control of government in Washington has been the rule for most of the past 50 years, and Americans appear to like it that way. When the pollsters ask about divided government in general terms, people are split. But when pollsters raise the issue of checks and balances, people prefer divided government. Several pollsters have asked questions about the issue of leadership during wartime. People prefer divided government in this circumstance, too.

 
Question: Do you think it is better for the country to have ...? 
 
                    A President from one 
                      party and Congress 
                   controlled by another    42% 
 
                   A President who comes 
                 from the same political 
            party that controls Congress    43 
 
Source: The Gallup Organization for 
CNN and USA Today, April 2002. 
 
Note: Table made from bar graph. 
 
Question: Which of the following statements 
is closer to your point of view ...? 
 
                To get more things done, 
                   I would like to see a 
             Congress and a President of 
                          the same party    36% 
 
              I prefer the President and 
             Congress to be of different 
          parties, because that way they 
              can balance each other out    56 
 
Source: The Tarrance Group and Lake, Snell & Perry, June 2002. 
 
Note: Table made from bar graph. 
 
Question: As you may know, the Congress and 
the Presidency are controlled by 
different parties. Do you think ...? 
 
                      Divided government 
                      works well for the 
                                 country    55% 
 
                                Not sure     8% 
 
                                Does not    37% 
 
Source: NBS News/Wall Street 
Journal, December 1999. … 

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