One in seven Americans approve of Congress
January 12th, 2013
10:24 AM ET
1 year ago

One in seven Americans approve of Congress

(CNN) - It's really no surprise: Americans aren't thrilled with Congress.

That's the finding of a new poll from Gallup, which shows the legislative branch has an approval rating of 14%.

But that's not Congress' low point in approval.

The body bottomed out at 10% in August 2012. The average for the year was 15%, Gallup said.

The poll was conducted about a week after the contentious fiscal cliff debate on Capitol Hill concluded and days after the new Congress was sworn in. That body has much ahead of it in the next few months - the U.S. will face default if the debt ceiling isn't raised, the across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester will trigger on March 1 and the government runs out of funding later that month. Add to that some lawmakers' desire for action after the Newtown elementary school shooting and President Barack Obama's Cabinet nominees, and this Congress has a full plate.

The 14% approval rating is about as well as Congress scored after the 2011 debt ceiling showdown. In August and September of that year, they scored 13% and 15% approval ratings. The stalemate on Capitol Hill led to the creation of the sequester and to the downgrade of the U.S. credit rating.

Just over eight in 10 Americans disapprove of Congress, the new poll showed, and most had made up their mind: Only 6% of respondents said they did not have an opinion.

The Gallup survey included 1,011 adults contacted between January 7 and 10 and had a sampling error of plus or minus four points.

– CNN's Gregory Wallace contributed to this report


Filed under: Congress • Polls
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Bill

    Seriously, who is this 14%?  Seriously 

    January 12, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  2. Anthony

    Given that Gallup has a Republican bias– remember, Gallup said that Romney had a large lead over Obama– we know that the actual number of Americans who approve of Congress is lower.

    January 12, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  3. Liz the First

    They need to break this down into who approves of Democrats and who approves of repubs. i think the numbers would tell a lot truer picture. lumping the two groups together is like asking if you approve of both teachers and burglars. of course you're going to get a low number.

    January 12, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    Not to mention the useless person in the WH!

    January 12, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  5. rla

    Yep democrats would have a rating of ZERO

    January 12, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  6. J'Cincinnati'Redd

    The tea party has a strong hold on my republican party. But if it was not for the tea party who brought a message, and much needed energy to the base the Gop would still be trying to find their way. But all the irrational demands have got to stop.with that being said just take a look at the far left
    and the liberal racists agenda. They say that they are all about the poor yet they are only for the programs that will keep People poor.truth is everything has gone to hell for the poor,a totally dispirited group that has been abandoned by all.they are helpless and broken. Why continue to throw money at this ignorant group of people? Money,money,money.thats why this congress can not get along. The right feels that tax breaks and loop holes should go to the folks who start business and make jobs. The left want to just keep throwing money at the poor,who produce nothing.

    January 12, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  7. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Well,
    People need to look in the Mirror because that is who they are rating.

    January 12, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  8. rla

    How can they take action when it is apperant that they don't understand the problem!

    January 12, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  9. Gonzoinhouston

    I guess 14% are happy with gridlock and obstruction.

    January 12, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  10. Thomas

    Louie Gohmert , the poster child for the GOP.

    January 12, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  11. ST

    Who are 14% who are approving the work congress are doing? Are they family members of the congress? These people are not ashamed to cash in their checks they get for doing nothing. We the people should not allow this continue. If you do nothing, you deserve to receive nothing in return.

    January 12, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  12. HenkV

    14%. There is a math problem here. What was the percentage of congress morons that were re-elected last November? I bet there is a huge discrepancy between these numbers. How can that be? Could it be that the majority of the voters do not connect a vote to its results? Most voters just click 'like' for a candidate regardless of his/her abilities. A different form of 'American Idol' perhaps? Keep in mind, YOU are responsible for the quality of your representatives. That said, why were they voted back?

    January 12, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  13. PJ

    "...was it not for the tea party.................the GOP would still be trying to find their way."
    *********
    I haven't noticed that the GOP has found any "way" except "our way, or the highway". Like you said,
    "why continue to throw money at this ignorant group of people". If you are talking about Congress,
    I agree. But of course, you were just throwing darts at the struggling people of America.

    January 12, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  14. Malloy

    I wasn't aware that 14% of the population were liars. 0% approve of congress. Their motto is: "Create a crisis. don't solve the crisis. Vote for me as I will fix things." When a Republican is president deficits don't matter (quote Dick Cheney). When a black Democrat is president deficits are the only crisis. What a bunch of clowns. 2014 can't come soon enough. Good bye Teqapublicans.

    January 12, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  15. BobT.

    I'm surprised it's as high a percentage as it is.

    To the person who believes the Tea Party has helped define the Republican majority in the House. The only reason you held onto the majority is due to gerrymandering in the beloved "red" states . Keep up the politics of obstruction and you might not even hold onto it this way either . Time to compromise and come up with solutions , otherwise Congress will never be held in any "good light " by the American electorate.

    January 12, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  16. southview

    Sad part is, despite the low approval rating 90% of these say worthless politicians will be re-elected.

    January 12, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  17. Malory Archer

    Poor Rick McDaniel & rla. I'm sorry to burst your bubble but President Obama's latest approval rating is 53%. Wait a minute – no I'm not!!! LOL! Haters gotta hate.

    January 12, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  18. Malory Archer

    Don't blame me Ray E. I didn't vote for the rethug congressman who represents my district!

    January 12, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  19. John the Historian

    Well since half of Congress is controlled by Republicans it is not wonder the American people have a low opinion of Congress. It is just ashame because of gerrymandering the Republicans still retain the House. The Rednecks and Condederates in the South keep voiting in the Republicans even though the Blue States have a higher standard of living. When do Republicans learn that their party is doing very little for them. The party of the Christian Right who wants a theocracy and all abrtions banned even in cases of rape and incest, the party of the military-industrial complex who want war with Iran, a country of 80 million people, the Wall Street elite who want bonuses for themselves despite posting losses, and the billionaires like Willard who don't want to pay taxes and want foreign bank accounts. Why vote Republican when all they want is cuts to education, social security, the infrastucture of the country, and health care. Wake up anyone who wants organizations like the NRA who want terrorists and murderers to have guns, weapons of mass destruction. Republicans who want all of this need to move to Iran, a theocracy they already have that. Why don't Republicans realize the 1950s are over. Have they not seen the movie Pleasantville. Blacks. Women, Gays, Hispanics, the Disabled, Muslims, Jews, and many other minorities are part of our society get over it.

    January 12, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  20. VEW2012

    I guess the 14% that do approve are the ones getting the most from Congress...Koch brothers and ilk the hogs at the trough...you know the ones Romney was heaping praise on.

    January 12, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. Tampa Tim

    Gomert, Bachmann, Braun, King, Gingrey, Black, and Ryan, pretty much sum up the GOP.

    January 12, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  22. Squigman

    1-in 7, seems a little high. Apparently the polls were taken in republican held areas, where good sound data (yuk Yuk Yuk), could be attained.

    January 12, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  23. K. in Miami

    Does anyone remember Dick Cheney being asked a question about the Iraq War and how it relates to the federal Defecit?

    I believe Mr. Cheneys exact words were "Defecits Don' Matter", this is basically where the Republican Mentality was during the Bush Presidency, fast forward to today during The Obama Administration and the Republican mindset has been to OBSTRUCT THIS PRESIDENT BY ALL MEANS NECESSARY, even at the expense of the ENTIRE COUNTRY and this is what makes the report of a 14% Approval Rating for Congress seem so understandable. Geesh

    January 12, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  24. LIP

    Amazing how Democrats keep trying to blame the Republicans for the low rating when in actuality the Senate controlled by Democrats ever since the last two years of Bushes administration forward has been a 'do nothing' senate. Even under Obama, they have failed to introduce a budget while the house has at least made several attempts which the Democrat controlled senate doesn't give the light of day to.

    January 12, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  25. K. in Miami

    In response to J'CINNCINATTI REDD:

    His remarks are a testement to the brainwashing that has occurred in this country by FOX NEW and RUSH LIMBAUGH. It reflects his HATRED of people he deem to be POOR, it reflects his understanding and ignorance regarding the tax system in terms of who benefits the most opposed to who pays more unfairly.

    This persons contempt for the poor also reflects his sense of "SUPERIORITY", he stands in judgement of others while failing to acknowledge or accept his prejudice, it's also fairly safe to assume that he is a WHITE MALE.

    January 12, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
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