The midterm elections – in which Republicans gained 63 seats to take control of the House and added six seats to their Senate minority – were widely seen as a rebuke to President Obama. Still, the public trusts Obama marginally more than congressional Republicans to deal with the country’s main problems in the coming years, 43 percent to 38 percent.
The poll suggests that the election may have been a vote against the status quo, but that it was not a broad mandate for Republicans and their plans. The survey also underscores the degree to which Americans are conflicted about who they think is setting the agenda in Washington.
The president’s narrow advantage is a striking contrast to the public’s mood at this time in 1994 and 2006, the last two midterm election years when one or both chambers of Congress changed hands.