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Public splits on whether things would be better or worse with Democratic Congress

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By Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus, Kabir Khanna and Anthony Salvanto  

Americans are split over whether things would be better or worse with the Democrats in control of Congress. Most Democrats (67 percent) think things would be better, but independents don't agree. Only 28 percent of independents think things would be better. Three in four Republicans (most of whom are satisfied with what the GOP Congress has done) think things would be worse.


Many Americans -- and many Democrats -- also say they aren't sure what the Democrats would do, if they were to take over Congress. Nearly half of Americans say Democrats have not made it clear, including 48 percent in their own party who also think this is the case. A majority of independents (54 percent) say Democrats have not made clear what they would do. 


Asked how the parties ought to campaign, most rank and file Republicans want to see their party's candidates promise to be more in line with President Trump -- which 7 in 10 want -- as opposed to acting more independently from him. Conservative Republicans are more likely than moderates to want GOP candidates to be more in line with the President. 


Democrats are more split over what their party ought to do in 2018: 49 percent of Democrats want their candidates to promise to try and stop the Republicans and the president whenever possible, but 45 percent want their candidates to promise to work with the other side.


Most Americans are not satisfied with what the Republicans in Congress have done over the last year, but they are divided on whether the country would be better off if the Democrats were in control. 

Americans are a bit more positive that the Democrats' policies would help the middle class, but most are not convinced.  

When Democrats were asked to choose what the top priority should be for the Democratic party right now, combatting economic inequality (35 percent) and stricter gun laws (34 percent) each come out slightly ahead of working to help dreamers and DACA immigrants (26 percent). 

More Americans continue to disapprove (47 percent) than approve (38 percent) of the tax law that was enacted in December. Most Republicans approve of the new law, while most Democrats disapprove. 

Six in 10 Americans (59 percent) say it's too soon to tell whether there has been an impact on the amount of taxes their paying. 

This poll was conducted by telephone March 8-11, 2018 among a random sample of 1,223 adults nationwide.  Data collection was conducted on behalf of CBS News by SSRS of Glen Mills, PA.  Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones.

The poll employed a random digit dial methodology. For the landline sample, a respondent was randomly selected from all adults in the household. For the cell sample, interviews were conducted with the person who answered the phone. 

Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish using live interviewers. The data have been weighted to reflect U.S. Census figures on demographic variables. 

The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher and is available by request. The margin of error includes the effects of standard weighting procedures which enlarge sampling error slightly.

This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

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