Poll: Congress gets record low approval rating in midterm year
June 16th, 2014
01:44 PM ET
3 months ago

Poll: Congress gets record low approval rating in midterm year

(CNN) – A new Gallup survey indicates that the congressional approval rating has dropped to its lowest point ever–16%–in a midterm election year since such ratings were first measured by the organization in 1974.

That sets the stage for potentially big turnover this fall in Congress. Gallup notes that in midterm years when the congressional job approval is low, there tends to be more shake-up at the voting booths.

This year's rating is five percentage points lower than in 2010, when the House of Representatives underwent major changes, and Republicans took back control of the chamber.

Key races to watch in 2014

Another low approval year was 1994, when only 22% of Americans were satisfied with Congress. That also was a big turnover year, with about 10% of incumbents losing their seats, according to Gallup.

But in 2002, when the approval rating was at a whopping 50%, only four percent lost their jobs.

Gallup noted that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's primary loss in Virginia last week represents some of the anti-Washington sentiments represented in its latest poll.

Complete coverage of the 2014 midterm elections

More broadly, Americans feel about the same way now as they did in 2010 about the way things are going in the United States. Four years ago, only 22% were satisfied; today, 23% have the same view.

Political observers generally expect Republicans to maintain control of the House, but whether Democrats can hold onto the Senate is a bigger question. The party is defending 21 out of the 36 seats in play this November, with half of those Democratic-held seats in red or purple states.

For the survey, Gallup interviewed 1,027 adults via telephone from June 5 to June 8. The sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.

CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2014 • Congress • Polls
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Lynda/Minnesota

    Percentage of Americans Mentioning an Economic Issue as the Most Important Problem Facing the U.S., Midterm Election Year:

    2010 = 69%

    2014 = 44%

    No wonder alternate universe President Mittens Romney is squealing Ben Ghazi. With a 16% approval rating GOPerville is not exactly promoting confidence and leadership (if they ever did).

    Mr. Ben Ghazi 2016.

    Rah. Rah.

    June 16, 2014 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  2. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Well, well, well. A poll about people actually running for office.... Who would have thunk it???

    June 16, 2014 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  3. PaulCat

    Their always looking to fire someone.
    Maybe they need to look in the mirrow.
    Only if I can make $200,000 per year for doing nothing.
    *****Fire all of them*****
    Isn't their favorite words are "WE NEED TO FIRE SOMEONE FOR NOT DOING THEIR JOB?"
    ****LETS HAVE A HEARING ON THIS*****
    JOHN BOEHNER – YOUR MOVE!

    June 16, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  4. rs

    Given Republican obstructionism and blockage, does this rather low approval rating reflect danger for Democrats or Republicans or both (as incumbents)? The record lack of productivity on anything does not reflect well on the body as a whole, but without understanding where Americans place the blame will mightily effect the actual outcome of the November election.

    June 16, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  5. sonny chapman

    Congress cooperates w/Obama WAY too much.

    June 16, 2014 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  6. cumulus

    So 16% aren't paying attention, go get em gop.

    June 16, 2014 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  7. Fair is Fair

    "No wonder alternate universe President Mittens Romney is squealing Ben Ghazi. With a 16% approval rating GOPerville is not exactly promoting confidence and leadership (if they ever did)."
    ------–
    Congress is bicameral. The dems hold slightly better than 50% of the upper house, while the reps hold slightly more than 50% of the lower house. So that 16% approval applies not just to "GOPerville" as you so quaintly refer.

    June 16, 2014 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  8. sonny chapman

    Fox News, Congressional Gerrymandering & Citizens United=The end of Democratic Govt. in America.

    June 16, 2014 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  9. O'drama ya Mama

    Cant blame Obama for that one guys. Just remember, running on someones else record instead of your own doesnt win elections. Its no wonder they dont learn, they dont have much of a record to run on.

    June 16, 2014 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  10. just asking

    the american people have simply had enough of the lying, deceitful, incompetent democrats. every day that passes just brings more and more evidence they are totally incompetent and obama just drives home the point every day as well. they know the country simply cannot afford any more of this democrat disaster. 2014 will be the start of the democrat purge, ending in 2016.

    June 16, 2014 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  11. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    Obstruction in Congress is the reason for the low approval numbers. And when we voters look at who is to blame for that, an overwhelming amount of blame it on republicans. Just like we blame republicans for the government shutdown. Heads will roll this November.

    June 16, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  12. old age voter

    Surprise; surprise; Eric Cantors defeat shows how the American people in just one state disapprove of Congress. It’s not just Republicans that will be losing; this election will be worse than 2010 for Democrats. And there Is nothing they can do about it.

    June 16, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  13. king

    These repubs conspired to destroy this president presidency and hope that the amount of garbage they've been feeding the American people take their minds off the blatant conspiracy taking place in front them. The American people haven't sniffed out their sabatage as yet but at least they are coming around and figuring out, that something is not quite right with the repubs record obstructionism, as China gains on us is huge.

    June 16, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  14. salty dog

    Yup, your fine, you won the district in Florida, barely, you used to win with double digit comfort, no longer, handwriting's on the wall, if you only knew to read.

    June 16, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    "So that 16% approval applies not just to "GOPerville" as you so quaintly refer."

    Oh, absolutely. And the dramatic end of the approval rating polling saga will reach its conclusion on election day 2014. I only suggest that no doubt because of the obstruction coming from the right side of the aisle for 5.5 years, congress is not exactly snuggling comfortably in voter popularity this particular election.

    June 16, 2014 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  16. Ol' Yeller

    @sonny chapman
    "Congress cooperates w/Obama WAY too much."

    How can they do any less? They go out of their way to the point of appearing to be idiots to the world (and most reasonable people recognize this) in their efforts to stymie, block, and criticize the President at every turn. Just like this soldier thing, where all the righties cried and bemoaned the fact this guy was held captive. They insisted the President do something immediately, That drumbeat went right up until the time the President acted, at which point they wanted to impeach and hang him (not necassarily in that order). Though they were all clearly on the record of having supported the President acting to get this young soldier out of harm's way (and the desertion evidence had alrready been known at this point- heck, it has been known from the get -go), the minute he acted... he was criticized by these harpies (with poll ratings of 16%, I might add).

    June 16, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  17. amador

    Time to throw all of these tea t @ R D goobers out of office

    June 16, 2014 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  18. salty dog

    And the gop never seen it coming, lmao, see ya!!

    June 16, 2014 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  19. amador

    GOP strategy: lie. spin, deny, obstruct, scream BENGHAZI! and OBAMACARE! as much and as loud as they can and pass absolutely NOTHING. No wonder their approval rating is so low

    June 16, 2014 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    This year's rating is five percentage points lower than in 2010, when the House of Representatives underwent major changes, and Republicans took back control of the chamber.
    -----------------------------–
    Ah, I get it now. The moral of this story says the following. The lower the approval rating of Congress, then the more likely it is for Republicans to win seats in the House. Right?

    June 16, 2014 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    ""So that 16% approval applies not just to "GOPerville" as you so quaintly refer.""

    Indeed. BUT, only the GOP/Teatrolls see it as a victory and "mission accomplished" to sow such dissatisfaction and cynicism that all of Congress, both the House and Senate, gets lumped together, both parties treated as equal and the public generally saying "they're ALL at fault and they're ALL the same and gov't doesn't work." It's precisely what they want and plays directly into their messaging and ideology and the MSM is complicit in helping them achieve it because the short-term gains for the MSM for helping them break gov't to "prove" it's broken and assisting them in their grand crusade to make all Americans hate and distrust and fear their federal gov't are just too lucrative to resist.

    June 16, 2014 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  22. Dumbas[R]ocks

    I hope the voters shake the Teatards right out of the tree.

    June 16, 2014 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  23. Boo

    What I want to know is who is the 16% that approves of these bozos?

    June 16, 2014 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  24. RandyIA

    Supposing the the Republican win the Senate in November and keep the House, how many of you on the left will consider the Dems obstructing the government processes, when they threaten to filibuster every bill put before them? Or if it goes to the WH, calling Obama an obstructionist for not signing the bill?

    June 16, 2014 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  25. JP

    Congress is Obstructionist, GOP is Nazi and Democrats are donkeys.

    June 16, 2014 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
1 2