Poll: Fewer Americans approve of how Congress is doing
March 11th, 2011
12:50 PM ET
11 years ago

Poll: Fewer Americans approve of how Congress is doing

(CNN) - Less than two in ten Americans approve of how Congress is handling its responsibilities, according to a new Gallup survey released Friday. This is a marked drop from just two months ago when Congress enjoyed an upswing in poll numbers following a frenetic lame duck session.

Approval numbers for Congress peaked in January, following mid-term elections, the passage of tax cuts, the START treaty, and a change in party majority in the House of Representatives.

And though the approval numbers for the House and Senate initially increased by 10 percentage points between December of last year and this February, those numbers have now fallen five points from 23 percent to 18 percent on Friday.

This is similar to the past two times there was a change in party control during 1995 and 2007, when the third month of a new Congress also brought plummeting approval numbers.

There's no difference between political parties when it comes to how adults view Congress' performance since two in ten Democrats say they approve of how Congress is doing and the same number of Republicans feel the same. Only fifteen percent of independents say they approve of Congress' performance.

The Gallup poll was conducted via telephone among 1,021 adults from March 3-6. The survey has a sampling error of plus-or-minus four percentage points.

Filed under: Polls
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Darth Vadik, CA

    Surprise surprise surprise...

    What the heck did you expect people, for Republicans to come in and make everything better???
    We told you this before November but, nooooooo, you were upset and wanted to vote out the incumbent Democrats...

    ...reap what you've sown.............

    March 11, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  2. lforlegend

    We're fighting petty and insignificant battles and people all over the world are suffering from natural disasters, things that are far beyond their control. Shame on us!!!

    March 11, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  3. Tulsa

    So Republicans, you ran on JOBS.
    So far there hasn't been ONE PIECE OF LEGISLATION to produce jobs.
    The WORST bunch of THUGS I've ever seen are the moders Republicans.
    They LIE to get into power (as Daniels suggested they do AGAIN) then play their fascist games to deny the PEOPLE of these United States their due rights.
    Happens every time.

    March 11, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  4. Bruce

    Why is this news? We've known this for decades, if not centuries.

    March 11, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    20% approve of how Congress is handling it's responsibilities? WOW. This ought to make Boehner REALLY cry - his insistence that *the American People* are behind he and his cohorts doesn't seem to be panning out too well for him. Perhaps Congress ought to be getting a *pay and benefits* cut in line with the cuts our middle class are now being forced to make? God knows it's not as if any of them are actually working towards accomplishing much of anything - besides pandering to the media, that is.

    March 11, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  6. Sniffit





    Anti-abortion, anti-union, anti-Obamaacre, anti-middle-class, anti-regulation, anti-oversight, anti-taxes, anti-muslim, anti-Obama, anti-gay, anti-separation of church and state, anti-environment, anti-alternative energy, etc. etc. etc., but not a single proposed bill or activity that could even remotely be called pro-jobs and pro-middle-class. NOT ONE. Happy you voted with your misinformed resentment, anger, bigotry and fear yet? Happy you stayed home in November? Happy you fell for corporate America's Astroturf Frankenstein sideshow? Happy you let the "news" media blank your minds and feed you nonsense and false equivalencies? REAP WHAT YOU VOTE.

    March 11, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  7. sk3ptic

    Doesn't take long for that pendulum to swing these days.

    March 11, 2011 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  8. Mikey

    Buyer's remorse. People thought they did not like President Obama and the Dems in Congress. Now they see the reality of the alternative. Between Congress and the state legislatures in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and elsewhere, hopefully the public has a better understanding of what we are up against with the GOP.

    Huge tax breaks for Corporations and the top 1% funded by either debt or erosion of important services like education. NOTHING done to create jobs as promised. Instead we get further enrichment of the already rich, an agressive assault on working Americans, and a bunch of very oppressive ultra-right wing social changes. They are trying, to the greatest extent possible to restrict rights for women, workers, gays, and others while waging economic war against the middle class, the poor, and chlidren. And now, the latest is McCarthy like hearings to further vilify Muslim Americans.

    I guess "taking our country back" meant turning it into a corporate dominated, oppressive, socially reactionary society. Anyone want a redo on the 2010 elections?

    March 11, 2011 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  9. PJL

    The jury's in. Extremism only hurts the Republicans.

    March 11, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  10. al in memphis

    Should be no suprise. What do yo expect when on a daily basis we never hear that they agree on anything. Even worst, all we hear is rhertoric about the political parties and nothing about how this is in the best interest of the country.

    The poll should have been about what % of the country the politicans think are stupid that we don't care about them doing their job.

    March 11, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  11. Frank

    Given the professed "laser-focus on job creation" fraudulently promised by the GOP, but instead delivery of more tax protections for the rich, union busting, an assault on poor people, the elderly and women generally, I am surprised that there is even a 20% approval rating. We spend more on the military than the next 20 countries in the world combined, but these tax dollars are sacrosanct to the GOP, bought with Big Oil and Big Military contractors. Perhaps some attention to actual governing by compromise might improve the

    March 11, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  12. no choice

    democrats republicans, whats the difference?

    both parties beat feet to bail out those who funded their election campaigns with OUR money in a game of "whos your daddy"

    both parties vote themselves in pay raises in the middle of the night on a holiday while the rest ofthe country is mired in debt.

    While the rest of the country is told we are going to have to cut back on everything, our politicians live more rich and decadent than 1980's rockstars.

    its time to toss out our failed two party system that is by the rich of the rich and for the rich.

    March 11, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  13. Pam

    Hilarious!!!! Just what did the voters expect after putting those Republicans in office?? That things would change for the better?? I mean come on....was anyone actually surprised when the Republicans defeated a bill to remove the big tax breaks for big oil last month?

    March 11, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  14. Chris

    The right wing kept insisting that the reason why Congress had such low approval ratings was because the Democrats were in charged. But ever since the Republicans gained they majority, the approval have just gotten worst.

    March 11, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  15. Robert Cloosdoosch.

    How's that mandate working out for ya Repbulicans?

    March 11, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  16. donna

    I do not take the Gallop Polls seriously because they are extremely conservative. They represent the GOPS and geer their poll to this group. The dislike and disapproval of Congress is mainly due to the GOPS and their ideological agenda which has nothing to do with JOBS. They are just catering to the likes of the Koch Brothers, Grover Norquist, the tea party etc. whose goal is to destroy most public institutions ie. education and replace them with private organizations in which they can control and benefit financially from. I hope more Americans realize this and stop valuing such polls since they are extremely slanted and do not represent the thoughts of most Americans.

    March 11, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  17. Kent R

    After we have seen the Wisconson Republicans try and kill unions can you blame the common citizen that is not a ceo or wealthy stock holder for wanting an Honest days wage for a days work? Right leaning Republicans are too profit first orented skipping the values of human life and the struggles it is to survive under thier rule. We should soon get back to a fair and balanced government that does not favor the wealth of the few over the value of the individual.

    March 11, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  18. Dave

    Hummm.... More confidence when the lame duck session had democrats and republicans working together for Americans and working on the economy. Now congress is obsessed with meaningless social issues (which are none of their business) and ignoring the plight of normal, hardworking Americans their poll numbers are plummeting. Think there is a message here?

    March 11, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  19. R

    We didn't need a poll to tell us that. The truly sad part, is that no one in Congress will care or want to do what is best for the American public.

    Oh, and before the usual people come out and say it's all the Republican's fault (T'Sah, Dominican Mama, Diridi, etc....), read the article. In particular, the part where they mention that BOTH the house and senate had approval points rise and then fall. It's not a one-sided problem – it's both sides.

    March 11, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  20. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    How could anyone approve of the job Boner is doing? Jobs was the number one concern, and in over two months in a leadership role, he has gone after women's rights, gay marriage, and trying to add to our debt by repealing health reform. While he may be fun to golf and drink with, he is clearly incompetent as speaker. Fire Boner 2012.

    March 11, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  21. Emerson

    So how you doing GOP and Tea people? Better start saving up some boxes for the great move out after the 2012 elections.

    March 11, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  22. DemoCommunists for a Better Way - Bankruptcy

    These polls are totally USELESS. The fact is that most Americans are so disengaged that they have no idea what Congress is doing and how they're doing it. What good is a poll is 80% of the sample size is totally clueless???

    March 11, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  23. Al-NY,NY

    do you think it MIGHT be because the GOP/T-P convinced enough fools to vote them in under the guise of JOBS creation, only to be baited-and-switched into defunding Planned Parenthood, NPR, and other social wedge issues??? Not that those issues aren't a priority with the American version of the Taliban, but they have not created one job but lost them instead. Add that to the birthers and the thuggery of the union-busting and the results are not surprising.

    March 11, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  24. Bill

    Fewer??? As in less than zero?

    March 11, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  25. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I think a great number of Americans are having voter's remorse over putting Boner in charge. Fire the Tan Man 2012.

    March 11, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
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