- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 15, 2015

More Americans want Republicans in Congress to have greater influence over the direction the country takes in the next year than President Obama, but the gap has shrunk considerably since immediately after the 2014 midterms.

Forty-three percent prefer Republicans and 40 percent say Mr. Obama, according to a new poll from Gallup — down from a 53 percent/36 percent split favoring Republicans in the wake of the midterm elections in which the GOP padded its majority in the U.S. House and won back control of the Senate.

Gallup’s Andrew Dugan noted that Mr. Obama has arguably had greater influence in shaping events from the midterm elections until Jan. 6, when Republicans officially took control of both Houses of Congress.

“After the midterm elections that delivered a stinging rebuke to Obama and that threaten to make his last two years in office more difficult, the president has unveiled a number of major policy shifts, including a diplomatic outreach to Cuba, an executive action to protect a number of residents living in the U.S. illegally from deportation and concluding a bilateral deal with China on carbon emissions,” he wrote. “But while Obama may have seized the agenda at least temporarily, this new gumption has not translated into a noticeably larger amount of Americans preferring Obama on this question.”

He also wrote that an improving economy could be one reason fewer Americans support the GOP.



“But at the moment, judging by public opinion, it appears the last two years may not be better or worse for Obama, but rather more of the same: a nation divided, with both sides fiercely contesting that they have the mandate to lead it,” he wrote.

The poll is based on telephone interviews with 804 adults conducted Jan. 5-8 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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