Pity Congress, or maybe not. According to a Gallup poll, public approval of Congress has fallen to a historic low of 10 percent.
83 percent of Americans disapprove of how the legislative branch of the US government has been doing its job, the lowest ever since the Gallup poll began measuring approval of Congress 38 years ago.
In June, Congress’ approval rating was 17 percent and in July, 16 percent.
Democrats saw their approval ratings plummet the most, falling from 18 percent in July to 9 percent in August. Dissatisfaction was universal across party lines, with Republicans garnering 10 percent and Independents 11 percent.
In general, the 112th Congress has been more the target of opprobrium than approval, Politico notes. It received its highest approval rating of 24 percent in May of 2011. In contrast, Congress received its all-time highest approval marks — 84 percent — back in October 2001, after the attacks of 9/11.
Bloomberg quotes Princeton University history and public affairs professor Julian Zelizer who notes that “people never love Congress” and that the two words associated with it are “gridlock and polarization.”
The November 6 election is also very much on legislators’ minds, to the extent that neither party has any “incentive to break the legislative logjam.” Both Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate “think their negotiating posture on fiscal and other matters will be strengthened if they win seats in Congress or their party wins the White House in the election.”
Only 79 bills have been sent to President Barack Obama to sign, with most to “name post offices and convey land parcels, and most of the rest simply extend[ing] previously approved programs.” Last year, Congress passed 90 bills that became law.
Congress may be breathing a sigh of relief that its approval rating in the Gallup poll remains, though just barely, in the double-digits. Back in October, a New York Times poll gave Congress only 9 percent approval.
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