Tales from the Trail

Congress hits new low in public opinion

December 15, 2010

USA-HEALTHCARE/PELOSIThe American public’s opinion of Congress has hit a new low, with only 13 percent of adults saying they approve of the job the national legislature is doing.

That’s according to a new Gallup survey, which finds an 83 percent disapproval rating for Congress — the worst the polling organization has seen in more than 30 years of congressional performance tracking.

The ‘good’ news is that Congress’ rating slipped only 1 percentage point  from last time.

For 2010 as whole, Congress’ approval rating averaged 19 percent. That ties the averages for 1979 and 2008, and ranks just 1 percentage point above the 18 percent average for 1992.

G20/Those years were all marked by difficult economic times for the United States.
    
Gallup interviewed 1,019 adults Dec. 10-12 for the survey, as the Democratic-controlled Congress pursued its lame duck agenda before going out of business when a new Republican majority enters the House of Representatives in January.
    
Gallup says people seem more frustrated with the Democratic congressional majority than with President Barack Obama, whose approval rating has been relatively stable at between 44 percent and 46 percent.
    
But the polling organization said congressional popularity could rebound in 2011, if history is any guide.
    
Public approval of Congress jumped 10 percentage points in January 1995, as Republicans took control of the House and Senate for the RTR2EZR0_Comp1-150x150RTXVANS_Comp-150x150first time in 40 years.  Approval jumped even higher — by 14 percentage points — in January 2007 after Democrats seized control of the legislative body.

Photo  credits: Reuters/Stormy Capitol (Jim Young); Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Pelosi and Reid) and (McConnell and Boehner)

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