How low can Congress go?
August 2nd, 2013
10:57 AM ET
9 months ago

How low can Congress go?

Washington (CNN) - The numbers tell the story.

As federal lawmakers head out to their home states and districts for the five-week summer recess, the approval rating for Congress is mired near historic lows.

Only 17% of Americans give the institution a thumbs up, with a whopping 77% saying they disapprove of the job lawmakers are doing, according to a CNN Poll of Polls that averages the four non-partisan, live operator, national surveys of Congress' approval rating conducted over the past two and a half weeks.

Not only is the disapproval rating for Congress sky-high, but a recent poll suggests that voters are very open to throwing out their own representative in the U.S. House. Only 32% of those questioned in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted in mid-July said they feel that their member of Congress deserves to be re-elected, with 57% saying it's time to give a new person a chance.

Another 57% said they would vote to defeat and replace every single member of Congress, including their own representative, if such a place on the ballot existed.

While not in the same predicament, President Barack Obama doesn't have a whole heck of a lot to brag about when it comes to his public standing - he stands at a 46% approval rating while his disapproval rate is 48%, according to a new CNN Poll of Polls that averages the the three non-partisan, live operator, national surveys of the president's approval rating conducted over the past two weeks.

Considering the slow recovery of the economy and the smothering gridlock in the nation's capital, these numbers are understandable.

Even a top member of Congress acknowledges the extremely poor showing in the polls.

"I think the low approval of Congress is not surprising. The president's is not that great, either," admitted Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, talking to reporters Tuesday. "I think the American people are reacting appropriately to the fact that we have an economy that is not getting the job done."


Filed under: Congress • Polls
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Data Driven

    The United States Congress: as popular, and as useful, as a cockroach on a wedding cake.

    August 2, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    "Only 17% of Americans give the institution a thumbs up, with a whopping 77% saying they disapprove of the job lawmakers are doing."
    --------------------
    I wish I knew the political and geographical demographics of that 17%. Red states should be pleased. They're taker states.

    August 2, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  3. REGINALDB6

    Ask if
    Congress care if the American people think so low about them they don't as long as they look after the lobbyist interest, they care less on what we want or think about.

    August 2, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  4. Carly

    Congress is elected by voters and some Republicans seem to want to restrict voting. So.......how about we deny voting rights to those with an IQ of under 40. That should eliminate 90% of the Tea Party. I would like to see freedom of speech granted to those with an IQ of 40 and over but that is probably a little too much. Is anyone tired of all the whining these partiers continually do? What an angry group but they have some really nice costumes and hats. Not!!

    August 2, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  5. Malory Archer

    Lower than the slime on a slug's belly!

    August 2, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

    "I think the low approval of Congress is not surprising. The president's is not that great, either," admitted Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, talking to reporters Tuesday. "I think the American people are reacting appropriately to the fact that we have an economy that is not getting the job done."

    As long as old Mitch can take the President and America down with him, he's A-OK with Americans showing their complete disapproval?

    If you ask me, it a strange way of showing patriotism in himself, his President, and his country.

    August 2, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  7. Tony

    I thought Congress' approval rating was below 10%. I remember there was a poll this year showing that Congress' approval rating was below those of head lice and cockroaches.

    August 2, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  8. Wake up People!

    They are as low as a Smurf playing handball against a curb.

    August 2, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  9. jboh

    The TEA pot needs flushing.

    August 2, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  10. Rick McDaniel

    Ever heard of negative numbers?????

    August 2, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  11. aCriticalEye

    Congressional Republicans are as useful as flies in a chicken coop.

    August 2, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  12. Sarah S.

    Well, they just went down about 10 more notches with their begging and accepting a TAX EXEMPTION for Obamacare.

    I don't know about you, but I am totally outraged at all of you narcissistic, lying politicians. They cram Obamacare down our throats, yet beg for exemptions for themselvesf and staff! And, we – the tax payers – are forced to pick up the tab! Since when does our imperious President have the right or authority to usurp the law? I thought the judicial courts ruled it a tax?! Now, being a congressional representative or working for one means you don’t have to pay taxes?

    Disgusting and outrageous. Note to our Congressional representatives: You should all be ashamed of yourselves. We will NOT forget.

    The new congressional motto: FOR THEE, NOT FOR WE.

    August 2, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  13. Scott

    Lynda/Minnesota

    "I think the low approval of Congress is not surprising. The president's is not that great, either," admitted Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, talking to reporters Tuesday. "I think the American people are reacting appropriately to the fact that we have an economy that is not getting the job done."

    As long as old Mitch can take the President and America down with him, he's A-OK with Americans showing their complete disapproval?

    If you ask me, it a strange way of showing patriotism in himself, his President, and his country.
    _________________________________________
    The fact is the job is not getting the job done, both Congress, and the President are acting like spoil kids. You cannot just blame the Repubs, Democrats and Obama are just as guilty. Obama disbain for Congress and the Constitution are just as bad as Congresses disbain for the President. Both sides need to be honest and work with each other.

    August 2, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  14. Romney is STILL NOT My Hero

    Most of congress think that they are president of the U.S. They don't approve of anything the president's doing, yet they don't come up with any real solutions of their own. Then, they take constant vacations. I don't understand how their approval numbers are this high.

    August 2, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  15. sonny chapman

    Repubs/Tea Party-"Don't stop digging now. I can see China from my hole. We're almost there !"

    August 2, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  16. Sniffit

    "Repubs/Tea Party-"Don't stop digging now. I can see China from my hole. We're almost there !""

    Indeed. They're trying to dig that tunnel to make it easier to send Amurikan jobs there.

    August 2, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  17. USAPeasant

    How low can Congress go?

    Well let's see we got terrorist supporters like Peter King, we got dime-a-dozen corrupted politicians that have served for far too long like Pelosi, Reid, and McConnell, we got a Congress that can't balance a budget for decades, we got a congress that has systematically worked to dismantle the Constitution and the Republic, we got a Congress who is spying on their own people illegally while at the same time people like McCain and Obama acknowledge they are sending AQ weapons, we have a congress that has given us over a decade of trade defecits to prop up their friends in China, we got a congress that is taking away OUR rights while they let foreign terrorists into the country at double the rate since 9/11 (according to pewforum)), we have a congress that is letting the top leadership of every communsit and rogue nation attend our most prestigious universities at little to no cost, we have a congress that let the national debt balloon to over twice its size in less than a decade, etc.

    Can Congress even go any lower? I don't think its possible, but I guess I shouldn't speak too soon because this congress seems to have a goal of destroying our great and illustrious America.

    August 2, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  18. USAPeasant

    Congress spying on its own people while letting terrorists in en masse is a pretty good indication of failure. Congress systematically stomping on the Constitution is a good indicator of failure. Congress full of the corrupt and self-entitled is a good indication of failure. Congress unable to balance a budget and hitting record level spending levels is a good indication of failure. Congress giving weapons to AQ while at the same time saying they need to illegally spy on Americans is a pretty good indication of failure.

    How low can Congress go? I don't think you should dare them, they've all ready turned our glorious Republic of America into a Banana Republic.

    August 2, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  19. ak_steve

    I like how McConnel blames low approval ratings on the economy. Like it has nothing to do with the do-nothing actions of congress and the obstructionist tactics of his own party.

    With an attitude like that the approval ratings are just going to continue to go down. Obviously he doesn't care.

    August 2, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  20. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Obama disbain for Congress and the Constitution are just as bad as Congresses disbain for the President. Both sides need to be honest and work with each other."

    Ah, so we are to play the "whose fault is greater" game of let's go round the mulberry tree chasing our tails, Scott?

    Take it or leave it: I stand by my comment.

    August 2, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  21. plain&simple

    Liberal or conservative really doesn't matter so much as the ability to find common ground. THERE IS COMMON GROUND!!! We have been able to govern these past few hundred years OVERCOMING our different convictions..to the benefit of our people and our country. This system has made us what we are. The people who don't want to govern or belive they are being patriotic by obstructing our system are nothing more than anarchists!! Put them where they belong....OUT of the government!!!

    August 2, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  22. Gunderson

    Gunderson no understand. You got what you voted for. Waiting for Congress to give you a handout? I feel your pain. Too many handout's now. About 17 Trillion too many. Time you pick up after self. People that work hard sucessful. You don't like sucess, you no vote for sucess. Romney sucessful. you?

    August 2, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  23. SuperD

    I'm one who gives Congress a big thumbs up!

    What you lefty's never address when saying "The Republicans won't let Obama do anything"

    If you have not figured it out by now, any plan Obama has relies on heavy taxation, spending, and growing big government. That's all Obama has, that's all he knows, because that's all his Marxist past has taught him. He'll never embrace a market solution and he sure does not believe Americans are capable for making decisions on their own.

    That's why the Republicans stop him at every corner. You must reject bad policy. If we have to shut the government down to avoid Obamacare, then so be it. The takers can eat dog food.

    August 2, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  24. Fair is Fair

    Libs are funny... over half the senate is democrats and almost half the house is democrats, yet they think the low approval rating is a reflection on republicans alone... FUNNY STUFF!!!!!

    August 2, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  25. Just a thought

    Scott

    Lynda/Minnesota

    "I think the low approval of Congress is not surprising. The president's is not that great, either," admitted Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, talking to reporters Tuesday. "I think the American people are reacting appropriately to the fact that we have an economy that is not getting the job done."

    As long as old Mitch can take the President and America down with him, he's A-OK with Americans showing their complete disapproval?

    If you ask me, it a strange way of showing patriotism in himself, his President, and his country.
    _________________________________________
    The fact is the job is not getting the job done, both Congress, and the President are acting like spoil kids. You cannot just blame the Repubs, Democrats and Obama are just as guilty. Obama disbain for Congress and the Constitution are just as bad as Congresses disbain for the President. Both sides need to be honest and work with each other.
    ==============
    @Scott
    read the constitution. The president can't force the Repubs compromise by executive order or something.. Maybe you've been under a rock or something the past 5 years and haven noticed we have GOP/Tea fools in congress that have ONLY a "DO NOTHING" in their agenda. Please spare us your spread the blame diatribe

    August 2, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
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