Congress' Approval Rating Plummets, Especially Among Independents

Aug 16, 2011

Only 13 percent of the American public approves of how Congress is doing its job, according to a new Gallup poll. The low-water mark ties the all-time low set this past December, when Americans grew tired of the lame-duck Congress.

Gallup has tracked the public's feelings about Congress since 1974. Breaking down the current negative sentiment by political leaning, independents now have their lowest opinion of Congress on record — a new low of 9 percent approval, easily exceeding the previous low of 13 percent.

And according to Gallup, overall, 1 percent more Americans disapprove of Congress now than did in December — 84 percent.

The low numbers reflect the first Gallup report on Congress' job approval rating since the legislature and the White House reached a contentious agreement to raise the federal debt ceiling. Shortly after that deal was reached, America's stock markets endured extremely volatile trading, and the Standard & Poor's ratings agency downgraded the United States' credit rating.

The most recent approval numbers for Congress came out in early July, when Gallup announced that 18 percent of Americans said Congress was doing a good job.

In the new Gallup poll, 15 percent of Democrats and 17 percent of Republicans said that they approve of the job Congress is doing. Since 1974, the average approval rating for Congress is 34 percent, according to Gallup's data.

As for President Obama, the polling service finds that his approval rating has also declined, with its three-day rolling average of American adults' positive responses recently hitting a low of 39 percent.

The new poll reflects the findings of telephone interviews conducted between Aug. 11-14, "with a random sample of 1,008 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia," according to Gallup.

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