The end of divided government?

Gallup has an interesting poll out that shows a record number of Americans pining for a one-party government:

A record-high 38% of Americans prefer that the same party control the presidency and Congress, while a record-low 23% say it would be better if the president and Congress were from different parties and 33% say it doesn't make any difference. While Americans tend to lean toward one-party government over divided government in presidential election years, this year finds the biggest gap in preferences for the former over the latter and is a major shift in views from one year ago.

These findings are based on Gallup's annual Governance survey, conducted Sept. 6-9. The data show an increased level of support for one-party rule amid a currently divided government in which the Democrats control the presidency and the Senate, while the Republicans control the House. This suggests many Americans are experiencing divided-government fatigue.

Opinions on divided government have fluctuated over the years. When one party controlled both Congress and the presidency in 2006 and 2010, Gallup found near-historical lows supporting one-party rule. This suggests Americans may simply tend to prefer what they don't have or see problems in whatever the current situation is. At least one chamber of Congress changed hands in the subsequent elections, and the increase in support for one-party government in 2008 foreshadowed an election that would give the Democrats sole control of the presidency and both houses of Congress.

Just once, in 2005, have a plurality of Americans preferred divided government since Gallup began asking this question, indicating division at the federal level is rarely popular. The "makes no difference" response has generally been the most popular, though support for it fell this year to tie the lowest level Gallup has found.

Will the voters give the Republicans control of the Senate and White House? It's still possible, of course, but even if Mitt Romney wins, the Senate may remain in Democratic hands. Democratic Senate incumbents are well funded and some challengers like Joe Donnelly in Indiana are showing surprising strength. It will help enormously if Romney were to win by a few percentage points as he would probably put candidates like Mourdock in Indiana and Rehberg in Montana over the top. Right now, those races are too close for comfort and, along with the Akin-McCaskill race in Missouri, could decide the fate of the Senate.


Gallup has an interesting poll out that shows a record number of Americans pining for a one-party government:

A record-high 38% of Americans prefer that the same party control the presidency and Congress, while a record-low 23% say it would be better if the president and Congress were from different parties and 33% say it doesn't make any difference. While Americans tend to lean toward one-party government over divided government in presidential election years, this year finds the biggest gap in preferences for the former over the latter and is a major shift in views from one year ago.

These findings are based on Gallup's annual Governance survey, conducted Sept. 6-9. The data show an increased level of support for one-party rule amid a currently divided government in which the Democrats control the presidency and the Senate, while the Republicans control the House. This suggests many Americans are experiencing divided-government fatigue.

Opinions on divided government have fluctuated over the years. When one party controlled both Congress and the presidency in 2006 and 2010, Gallup found near-historical lows supporting one-party rule. This suggests Americans may simply tend to prefer what they don't have or see problems in whatever the current situation is. At least one chamber of Congress changed hands in the subsequent elections, and the increase in support for one-party government in 2008 foreshadowed an election that would give the Democrats sole control of the presidency and both houses of Congress.

Just once, in 2005, have a plurality of Americans preferred divided government since Gallup began asking this question, indicating division at the federal level is rarely popular. The "makes no difference" response has generally been the most popular, though support for it fell this year to tie the lowest level Gallup has found.

Will the voters give the Republicans control of the Senate and White House? It's still possible, of course, but even if Mitt Romney wins, the Senate may remain in Democratic hands. Democratic Senate incumbents are well funded and some challengers like Joe Donnelly in Indiana are showing surprising strength. It will help enormously if Romney were to win by a few percentage points as he would probably put candidates like Mourdock in Indiana and Rehberg in Montana over the top. Right now, those races are too close for comfort and, along with the Akin-McCaskill race in Missouri, could decide the fate of the Senate.


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