While Democrats and Republicans running for Congress have blamed the opposing party for the gridlock in Washington, a majority of voters (55 percent) said both Democrats and Republicans in Congress are equally to blame for the stalemate, according to the latest NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking Poll.
However, nearly double the number of voters said Republicans in Congress are more to blame (30 percent) than Democrats (14 percent).
Many congressional leaders have faced significant criticism in recent months for their inaction on issues such as gun control, and their failure to appoint a Supreme Court Justice following Antonin Scalia’s death in February. How voters assess blame could have important ramifications for the down-ballot races that will determine who controls the Senate and House of Representatives.
Republicans currently control both the House and Senate, but 34 Senate seats and all 435 House seats are up for re-election this fall. The GOP’s focus on congressional races is also driven in part by Donald Trump’s controversial candidacy. Several prominent Republican Party leaders have publicly denounced his presidential bid — vowing instead to re-double their campaign efforts on down-ballots races in order to maintain control of the House and Senate.
Unsurprisingly, a majority of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters mostly blame Republicans in Congress for the stalemate (61 percent), but a majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning voters say both parties are equally to blame (67 percent). A majority of Independents agree that both parties are equally to blame (79 percent).
The perceptions of both parties overall are quite different among voters. Data from this week’s tracking poll show that only 5 percent of voters think the Republican Party is united now compared to 44 percent who think the Democratic Party is united now, up 22 points from the week of the convention.
Just under seven in 10 voters think the Republican Party will still be divided in November (up 11 points from the week of the RNC) but just under three in 10 voters think the Democratic Party will still be divided in November (down 13 points from the week of the DNC).
The NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking poll was conducted online August 22 through August 28, 2016 among a national sample of 24,104 adults who say they are registered to vote. Respondents for this non-probability survey were selected from the nearly three million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. Results have an error estimate of plus or minus 1.0 percentage points. For full results and methodology, click here.