Gallup: Congressional Disapproval Hits All-Time High of 84 Percent

Tuesday, 16 Aug 2011 09:15 AM

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Americans generally look down their noses at Congress, but they literally thumb their noses in a new poll that drubs lawmakers with an 84 percent disapproval rating — their highest ever in Gallup polling. That voter angst echoed dismal Gallup numbers for President Barack Obama last week, although he fared better than the legislators did.

Congressional, approval, Gallup, disapproval, pollThe ground-dragging congressional approval of 13 percent, which Gallup said bodes ill for 2012 elections, ties the all-time nadir reached in December. The 84 percent disapproval is 1 percentage point higher than December’s number, the Princeton, N.J., polling giant said in releasing the new congressional figures today.

The results are based on an Aug. 11-14 Gallup poll of 1,008 adults, which recorded the first update on congressional approval since the debt deal was reached.

Members of Congress are not alone in giving voters that sinking feeling, as Gallup reported Sunday that Obama’s approval sank an all-time low of 39 percent in the Aug. 11-13 Gallup Daily tracking.

That was a point lower than the president’s weekly average approval last week, which also tied its record low approval rates of 43 percent among women and 81 percent among blacks. Not to be outdone, Democrats’ approval of Obama’s performance hit its low point of 74 percent. And he can fuhgeddabout Republicans, who gave him 9 percent approval in the weekly numbers.

Regarding the poll released today, Gallup’s previous tally of congressional performance was in July, when 18 percent approved of legislators’ performance and 77 percent spanked them.

Gallup, which has measured Americans' approval rating of Congress since 1974, noted that the numbers never have been all that positive, with an average approval of 34 percent.

“Americans have in recent years become increasingly less charitable in their ratings of Congress, with average approval ratings of 19 percent in 2008, 2010, and 2011 to date,” Gallup noted. “These ratings have come despite considerable turnover in the membership of Congress following the 2006, 2008, and 2010 elections.”

Independents are the most critical, with 9 percent approving and 84 percent registering disdain. Party members are kinder, with Democrats acknowledging 15 percent approval and 83 percent disapproval, and Republicans tallying 17-81 percent, respectively.

“Americans have usually not held Congress in high regard, but currently they have a more negative view of the institution than any other time Gallup has measured,” Gallup’s analysis said. “Although Congress agreed to raise the debt ceiling, the issue is far from settled, as a special committee of 12 House and Senate members will work toward an agreement to make significant cuts in federal spending over the next few months to avoid mandatory cuts in defense and entitlement programs.

“Though the results of that committee's work are not likely to dramatically transform the way Americans view Congress, they could determine whether the institution's ratings remain in this new lower range or show some improvement.

“If Congress' ratings do not improve much before the November 2012 elections, its membership could be in line for another shake-up.”

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