CNN Poll: Congressional approval hits all-time low
January 16th, 2012
07:00 PM ET
11 years ago

CNN Poll: Congressional approval hits all-time low

Washington (CNN) - Only 11% of Americans approve of how Congress is handling its job, according to a new CNN/ORC International poll released Monday.

That's a new record for this measure on a CNN survey; the previous all-time low approval rating for Congress was 14%, set in August, at the very end of the debt ceiling debate which resulted in an unpopular agreement between Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill. The poll indicates that 86% say they disapprove of how Congress is handling its duties.

See full results (pdf)

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"Republicans and Democrats can't agree on much, but they both agree that Congress is doing a lousy job," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Approval of Congress is just 10% among Republicans, and only 16% among Democrats. Nine percent of independents have a positive view of Congress."

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International from January 11-12, with 1,021 adult Americans, including 928 registered voters, questioned by telephone on January 11-12, 2012. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

- CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

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Filed under: CNN/ORC International poll • Polls
soundoff (135 Responses)
  1. M, Simons

    And voters should show their trust by voting OUT any incumbent. I'd take the man/woman on the street over congressmen who believe insider trading is ok for them, and approve bills permitting the violation of the constitution by imprisoning Americans in military prisons for indefinite periods.

    January 16, 2012 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  2. TonyInNYC

    Dear Everyone in Washington: You'd be more popular if you worked together and accomplished things. There's a reason why politicians used to engage in good old-fashioned horse trading and make compromises.

    January 16, 2012 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  3. Orion

    Good. I'm glad they're doing nothing. Better to have a congress do nothing than to support a self serving narcissistic population with damaging legislation, or create more beaurocracies to declare through fiat whatever they wish to have real legal consequence without congresses approval or passage, or oversight from the people. Until the logic and morality, and frankly the admiration for our constitution returns to congress, I support them in accomplishing nothing.

    January 16, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  4. CommonSense

    The 11 Percent are the Rich and getting their deductions

    January 16, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  5. Rosstrex

    Are you kidding CNN 11% percent? I do not believe that 11 out of 100 people in the USA Approves of Congress. Sorry we all know what is going on. Corporations and Special Interests are represented now. We are back to taxation without representation..... It is only a matter of time before the American people stop allowing Congress to Sell us out.

    January 16, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  6. akmac64

    They will refuse to take responsibility, but this is the direct result of the TP hijacking the legislative process for their own political purposes, not the good of the country as a whole.

    January 16, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  7. Biotechdev

    Don't forget that Obama campaigned as a "post-partisan"president. Can anyone really give specific examples of how mnay times he actually sat down with Congress to try and listent to ideasfrom both sides and show some leadership to bridge the gap? When he introduced his jobs bill – he went on ther oad in his bus to talk in the 2012 swing states, vilifying the GOP in the press. No meetings. No sit-downs. Only in Obama's Washington can you essentially blow-off the other party and refuse to even listen to their ideas, then blame them for being obstructionist.

    January 16, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  8. Oldnavybill

    11%? Who the heck are those people? I haven't met any of them and I have friends from the far left to the far right! I think someone is just kidding the pollsters.

    January 16, 2012 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  9. quacknduck

    Elected employees do not think they are doing anything wrong. Their view of the job is to get elected and once elected they are successful and then their job is to maintain, nurture and grow the issues that got them elected. As far as they are concerned everything is on track, including record campaign donations and their job performance is excellent.

    January 16, 2012 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  10. Hotness

    So the 11% that approve must be jurors from Florida and/or California.

    January 16, 2012 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  11. PaulC

    I think 11% is being very generous. If you think Congress is atrocious wait until Pres. Romney is sworn in and the Repugs takes total control.

    January 16, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  12. Ant

    Alright every single one of these comments is just like congress and the reason why they suck . One person blames the Dems the next person blames the republicans. They each can't let the other succeed because than the other party will get re elected. Do away with the two party system and let's vote the people in and NOT THE PARTY

    January 16, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  13. Chris

    Term limits will solve this problem. They need to stop running for reelection and focus on their current terms. That and no more consecutive terms. That way new blood is never running against an incumbent who would almost certainly have greater name recognition.

    January 16, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  14. fretlessbass

    @ Deborah in Georgia... it's not that they're lazy, which they are, but they're getting more kickbacks for voting the way they do now than ever before.

    I don't know what portion of the population constitutes that 11% must be extended family or something...

    January 16, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  15. nytw

    This poll is completely worthless. It doesn't matter how many people say Congress is doing a lousy job because the majority of voters are going to vote to re-elect their representative and their senators because they are for cutting government waste. It is the other guy that brings home the bacon and causes giant deficits running up the debt. My member of congress only does what is good for the country.

    January 16, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  16. Steve in MA

    I am voting anti-incumbent this year, except for the presidential election–I live in MA so I am voting anti-Romney. If you elect him you deserve him. Everyone else in congress deserves to be thrown out of office. They are disgusting, evil people.

    January 16, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  17. Lamarr Bennett

    is this Obama fault again?

    January 16, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  18. pogojo

    For the first 2 yrs of Obama the dems had all three, they blasted through bad policy, so in 2010 the repubs won the house to stop the crazy policies, yes congress has been deadlocked since the repubs got in there, its what they were put there to do. If congress was doing so well the first two years of Obama then why did the repubs win in 2010?

    January 16, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  19. sparky

    ha HA!! and WHO has control in congress???


    January 16, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  20. TonyInNYC

    I guess that means I'm one of the 89%.

    January 16, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  21. davetharave

    The 2 sides hate each other too much to work together, it has become a total ideological struggle.

    January 16, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  22. Theresa

    The thing is: does Congress care? Will they change? Doubtful.

    January 16, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  23. Observer

    In the last election, Republicans campaigned about how bad the ratings were for Congress and said they'd change it. These statistics show they did.

    January 16, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  24. Santa

    Who are these 11% that have a favorable opinion of Congress? I have yet to meet one of their kind...

    January 16, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  25. akmac64

    We need representatives who are loyal to their country, not their political party, their rich contributors, or some bogus pledge to a private individual.

    January 16, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
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