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.
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.
Democrats More Likely to Favor Same-Party President and Congress
Democrats (49%) are now more likely than Republicans (36%) or independents (28%) to favor one-party government. There may be several reasons for this. Democrats currently control the presidency and many Democrats may be frustrated that President Barack Obama cannot enact his legislative agenda without the help of a sympathetic Congress. Also, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to express faith in the federal government's ability to handle domestic problems. Insofar as politically unified executive and legislative branches ease the passage of laws and the implementation of policies designed to solve national problems, Democrats would view this as a positive development. Republicans also favor one-party control over divided government, but by a smaller margin of 36% to 27%. Independents are split in their preferences between one-party (28%) and divided (30%) government.
Democrats' preference for unified government rose significantly this year -- to 49%, compared with 35% last year. Independents also became more favorable to one-party government this year, up seven percentage points compared with 2011. Republicans did not see a significant change.
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