October 26th, 2007
04:15 PM ET
14 years ago

Approval of Congress at 22 percent

Congress' approval rating stands at 22 percent.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - It may not come as a surprise that a new poll shows Americans think Congress is doing a pretty lousy job.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Friday shows the approval rating for all members of Congress sits at a dismal 22 percent, while 75 percent of those surveyed disapproved of the way Congress is handling its job. (Read full poll results [PDF])

"The big issues of the day just don't seem to be being addressed," said Sarah Binder, a political science professor at George Washington University who studies Congress. "The issues that matter most to people - the economy, health care, the environment and the larger war in Iraq - it is so difficult for Congress to move on those issues that I believe the public looks and says 'why aren't they doing anything?'"

Even though the overall approval rating of Congress leaves much to be desired, Democrats can find a bit of a silver lining in the new survey. Approval of congressional Democrats stands at 43 percent, twice that of Congress in general. The flip side, however, is that the congressional Democratic leadership still faces a disapproval rating of 51 percent, a figure that has increased 11 percentage points since March.

"I think it is important to remember that when Congress performs well, when it actually addresses the big issues of the day, it tends to be rewarded in the public's view of Congress," said Binder. "If today's approval ratings are down in the dumps, we probably shouldn't be surprised. On the big issues of the day, Congress doesn't seem to be doing very much."

The poll, conducted October 12-14, surveyed roughly 600 Americans and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points

- CNN Senior Political Producer Sasha Johnson

Filed under: Congress • Polls
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. Sue, Midland, MI

    It's tough to pass anything when Mr. Decider tells the Repubs what he's going veto and they don't dare jump ship to do the right thing on anything. As far as impeachment, it seems to me there are plenty of impeachable actions going on, but again, you need that majority in the House to get things going. And that doesn't mean a simple majority, which is all the Democrats have. Wait til we bomb Iran-then watch the ratings dip even further. Bush wants to kill all of us-now THAT'S an impeachable offense! Plus, don't forget Bush's Executive Order from July-in the event of a national emergency, he can declare martial law and suspend elections! Read it for yourself at whitehouse.gov

    October 26, 2007 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  2. Rodney Dallas TX

    Get the Republicans out of office and let the Democrats do their job and the approval rating will skyrocket.

    October 26, 2007 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  3. Laura Niles MI

    What we need is a mandatory retirement age for both houses of congress and a minimum IQ before a person can be president or vice president. Then we need to have psychologists give each and every one of them a test to see if they have personality disorders that would tell us if they are just eccentric or truly psychotic before the campaigning begins. If you're borderline psychotic or worse you can't run. Period. No exceptions.

    October 26, 2007 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  4. Righty Wrongy USA

    Righty Tighty – I am not sure what you are gloating about. The Congress is nearly 50% Republican. If the approval rating for the Democratic portion is 43% what does that say for the Republican approval rating?

    October 26, 2007 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  5. RightyTighty

    The people who work for CNN.com are...

    NOT! I hate what CNN has come to represents too but the people that work there do have a right to their opinions. No matter how uniformed and/or backasswards they may be.. This is America, people here die for those kinds of rights.

    October 26, 2007 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  6. Karen,nj


    October 26, 2007 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  7. FT Doylestown, Pa

    Well are we Surprised...no, but the Idiots in Washington are and they are looking at How to blame Bush for this too.
    Hey, try to get some one With Brains to listen to your comments and New Bills before you go and present them to the World Press and the public.
    Hey, Dick Durbin and Harry Reid...If The America people have to Tell you and the Rest of the "AMNESTY GANG" No AMNESTY ..once more .....you keep push the issues that the Entire Country Hates and you wonder why the rating are so low! Wait till you try to get re-elected again.

    October 26, 2007 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  8. Sam, Houston, TX

    It is funny how some conservatives are responding to this act as if the Democrats do not act at all when all President Bush does is veto all of their progress. Way to go on advancing the quality of life for America.

    October 26, 2007 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  9. Carmen, Miami FL

    I guess some people are illiterate. Democrats haven't been performing as well as I hoped they would, but if Congress gets a 22% approval rating, with Congressional Democrats at 44%, that means that Republicans are the bigger problem in the public's eye (with good reason).

    People are fed up with Congress, but in the end, they still view Republicans as being at the root of the problem. Anyone who says otherwise is delusional or lying.

    October 26, 2007 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  10. ronnie - knoxville, tn.

    this "new" Congress almost makes the old "do nothing" Congress look good. at least the old congress got things done while fighting across the aisle. With one hand, the "new" Congress (sic) fights across the aisle like wildcats; at the same time they pull down the country and the military with the other hand.

    October 27, 2007 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  11. Moe, NY

    Please people...give this Democratic Congress a chance...they are not magicians. It took Bush almost 8 years to bring America down...this Congress is very young and is fighting an uphill battle. Patience America....know it is hard at this point, but please give this new Congress a chance.

    October 27, 2007 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  12. Brian, Eugene OR

    Gee, I can think of a few reasons why congress might be unpopular:

    -Larry Craig(R) – hypocrite, soliciting sex in men's room
    -Vitter(R) – hypocrite, prostitution
    -Bob Ney(R) – Bribery
    -Foley(R) – pedophile, alcoholic
    -Duke Cunningham(R) – Bribery
    -Tom DeLay(R) – Money laundering, gerrymandering

    In all fairness there was that Dem that was found with money in his fridge. But all in all it seems like the Rebublicans are screwing up congress through sleeze and obstruction of the peoples will and then using their deceitful spin machine to try to blame it on the Democratic majority.

    October 27, 2007 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  13. Ann ME

    I do not believe that for a moment. CNN, you've got to do better than that. Personally, I give congress a 4% approval rating.

    October 27, 2007 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  14. ThirstyJon, Adelaide, SA, Australia - from U.S.A.

    I wish we'd never voted in this congress.


    October 27, 2007 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
  15. WDRussell, East Liverpool, Ohio

    Why is anyone surprised? The Ds are mad because those they elected aren't doing anything. The Rs are mad because they lost their 6 years of blank checks and unaccountability.

    October 27, 2007 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  16. Eric, from THE Republic of Texas

    This is how it's supposed to be, folks.

    When congress is doing nothing, it's doing nothing bad.

    A dog on a leash is less likely to bite someone.

    It's time to take the climate controls out of the congress buildings (heat/AC). The more comfortable these clowns are, the more likely they'll stay around and try to "fix" things that are not broken. Make the buildings uncomfortable, and they'll likely head back to their home districts.

    October 27, 2007 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  17. Grover Fairfield, Ohio

    My disapproval of congress is in three parts.
    The first is congress as a whole. They have accomplished almost nothing. They have continued to be shrubs rubber stamp.

    The second is with the Republican obstructionist. The Dems have tried to do what they said, repeatedly, and the Repugnants have blocked their efforts, for purely partisan gain.

    The third is with the democrats for not holding the repugs feet to the fire on their obstruction. If the republicans want to obstruct progress, give them the bad press that should go with their actions.

    October 27, 2007 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  18. Bill W, Coatesville, PA

    "The big issues of the day aren't being addressed" because the Democratic Congress does not have a veto-proof majority. The president still wields the veto pen, and has used it at every opportunity to break any legislation the Democrats try to pass that he does not want or does not agree with.

    Blame BUSH, not Congress. Until Congress has a veto-proof majority, they can't get past Bush and the Republicans.

    October 27, 2007 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  19. Not Karen, NJ


    Posted By Karen,nj : October 26, 2007 8:25 pm

    Karen's comments suck. No facts and all emotion. Doesn't matter what topic. Boo-freakin' hoo!

    October 27, 2007 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  20. xtina - chicago IL

    I don't think either Republicans or Democrats can gloat about ratings. Both "sides" are guilty of a lot of special interest money/pork barrel spending.

    But at least let's get someone in office who does not want to raise taxes on top of the wasteful spending.

    October 27, 2007 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  21. Wynter, Loudon, NH

    While the outcome from Congress has been quite less than we all wanted when the new leadership came into power. It also should be mentioned that they are facing an uphill battle on all important issues we want to see change on. Change comes slow in Washington. Simply installing a Democratic Majority isn't enough. And its not even a veto-proof majority. In these situations you need need cooperation. But the Republicans in Congress are the same ones that have been responsible for putting us in this situation and they are not interested in making it easy for the new leadership successful.

    I find it interesting whenever I see those wanting large changes in any congress. Its wishful thinking at best. Changes are needed don't get me wrong. But we need the American Public to make a strong single voice to get Congress to move. A small special interest wanting something done will likely be ignored. But a large public consensus on a specific issue will move mountains.

    When the public can agree on something over 75% then I can imagine Congress successfully passing legislation. The bottom line is that "we" the public are responsible for getting our message through to our representatives. So a low performance rating on Congress only shows that we, the public, are not doing our part in making our views heard, loud and clear.

    So look at yourselves before you blame congress. Have you called your representatives lately? Start now or the fault is your own.

    Telling it like I see it,

    October 27, 2007 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  22. P. Sherman, Ontario Canada

    Polls like these aren't really fair since you are asking about Congress with two parties trying to go against each others' ideologies while comparing it to Bush's ratings which represents only himself. Perhaps more specific questions need to be asked, and in an unbiased way.
    Perhaps rather than saying Democrats failed to get SCHIP passed, it should also be pointed out more clearly that republicans stopped the Democrats from achieving something. Too many people percieve success or failure expressly on how the reporting is phrased or ideas presented. When the republicans were in control it was always how democrats tried to obstruct, yet now when the democrats are in power, it is how they failed, rather than the opposite style being displayed as to how republicans have tried to obstruct. Ask about Congress and you will get poor ratings because there are still too many stories slanted where "deomcrats fail" rather than giving a more broad coverage of how or why it failed and should it have failed. And don't forget to take into account lately how often Bush gets wall to wall coverage and now seems to spend most of his time degrading Congress as doing nothing and then not too many responses to those thoughts get rebuttal coverage. I still find it funny that after watching CNN constantly since its inception, that Republicans were wall to wall when they were in power of Congress, yet now coverage for the Democrats seems as sparse as it did before. Perhaps also the viewing public should hear what Congress has been able to accomplish as Nancy Pelosi stated last Sunday, rather than the constant negativity and threats of veto that Bush never used when his own party was overspending......If peopler report long and often enough that Congress has not accomplished anything then can you be surprised when the polls parrot back that same response? I think not!

    October 27, 2007 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  23. Van, phoenix arizona

    What ?? this is an absurd poll..You mean Americans don't agree with the DEMOCRATS RADICAL LEFT WING AGENDA??


    I don't get it..who would be against those goals and ambitions? Hell, under the Dems plan, we'd have Spanish as the official language, more rights for terrorists than our military, killing of 8 month old babies in the womb, and the Fairness Doctrine...Wow, I wonder why these nitwits are at 22%???????????? why is it THAT HIGH?? Keep wasting MY taxpaying dollars on condemning Rush Limbaugh..keep trying to take away MY free speech Dingy Reid..Keep going to Syria to meet with terrorist leaders Nancy Pelosi...You had your 12 months of communist reign...You blew it, your true colors were exposed..and they are NOT red, white, and blue!

    October 28, 2007 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  24. Meredith Brasca, Jacksonville, FL

    Speaking of low approval ratings . . . I just emailed this to the White House and want to share it with the world because I can't be the only person cheesed off about this: Oh joy. Another giant FUBAR perpetrated by the government on the unsuspecting citizenry. It's not bad enough that we have to put up with Daylight Savings Time in the first place, now the geniuses that inhabit our various governmental offices have administratively decided to change the dates on which this bi-annual atrocity should occur. I just spent 20 minutes resetting all the clocks in my house because they have the automatic Daylight Savings Time adjustment programmed into them, which means they changed the time tonight, oct. 28th. That's because the programming uses the dates upon which the Daylight Savings Time adjustment should regularly have occurred not the new dates which our government in it's infinite wisdom just saw fit to adjust (didn't think about that ramification when you changed the dates, did you, you bunch of inept monkeys.) And as far as changing the dates goes, you probably did that just to screw with everyone's minds and appliances, because there surely was no rational reason to change them after all this time. If you really wanted to do the country a service, you would get rid of Daylight Savings Time entirely, and not mess with our biorhythms twice a year. I don't care if you go with Daylight Savings Time or Eastern Standard Time, or Mountain Yak Time – just pick a bloody time and stick with it!
    Meredith Brasca
    An extremely pissed off citizen

    October 28, 2007 03:02 am at 3:02 am |
  25. A Democrat

    Congress hasn't done a d*** thing since we voted them in.

    October 28, 2007 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
1 2 3