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. willie floyd

    My way of fighting this do nothing congress may seem strange to some, but it's the best I've come up with so far. I'm in SC-a pitifully Rep. mess. I always vote for Dems-to no avail. So I am sending my money to Eliz. Warren-Mass. So far she has a darn good chance to unseat Brown. If I learn of another Dem. somewhere who is running against a Rep. I will do the same.


    January 16, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  2. Bill Moore

    What is scary is that there are 11% of the folks out there stupid enough to think that they are doing OK???

    January 16, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  3. Solo

    We have people in office who care nothing about the average american person, therefore they don't represent what the people truly need. There hasn't been a poor politician in ages. We are being represented by people who represent their own financial interests and until this changes the common american man will continue to suffer, Rich protect rich, poor suffer because oif rich greed. It's pretty straight forward. We are protecting rich american financial interests in every war we participate in. No poor people want to die for nothing (unless they are uneducated house sheeple).

    January 16, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  4. Waterystool

    The 11% that approve of congress are suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury.

    January 16, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  5. Mark

    With the Obama admin in office, nothing happening in Congress is a very good thing. Remember, not so long ago, the citizens of the US gave too much power to the Dems. they could have done anything they wanted. ANYTHING. They couldnt agree among themselves and the only thing they could agree on is to force US citizens to buy something the majority did not want to buy, and add 3 billion dollars a year from now till doomsday or grand jury judgement for welfare medical coverage.

    Untill Obama is out of office, stalemate in a very good thing in congress. They are getting a low rating because the entitlement crowd isnt getting what they want. What they want is going to cost the rest of us more.

    January 16, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  6. dms

    GOP/Tea party out... Liberals, progressives, independents, democrats in. I'll put my money and vote where my mouth is.

    January 16, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  7. alfranken

    Newt = former house speaker
    Ron Paul= congressman
    Santorum = former senator
    If only 11% support congress than 100% of the 11% must be those extremists on the far right
    fuzzy math but it seems to be true.

    January 16, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  8. DC Observer

    Attention all Sheep

    Will all the sheep in America – on both sides – please repeat these words in order to be saved from slaughter.


    January 16, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  9. Chris

    No wonder our nation is falling apart at the seams. When the voting population has such a low favorable opinion of their elected officials and yet continues to RE-ELECT them, something is definitely wrong! The very same individuals we elect to actually DO SOMETHING about the issues affecting us all spend their time on irrelevant issues such as abortion (decided years ago with Roe v Wade and is essentially a private matter), the definition of marriage, etc when the real issues of the economy, the housing/mortgage crisis, jobs (and lack thereof), health costs, etc are tearing our country apart. Of course, the whole point of getting elected in the first place is to continue being re-elected for years and ensuring yourself of potentially unlimited income. I am all in favor of publicly funded elections where everyone has the same amount of money to use and then the best person can win. I also believe once an elected official leaves office they should NOT be allowed to become lobbyists and continue to influence others. Our nation is truly governed by the elite rich as no one else can afford the costs of running for public office. If things continue on as they have been, I truly fear for the future of our nation.

    January 16, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  10. sameeker

    Why would people be upset? We have the best congress money can buy. The 11% must be those corporations that the Supreme Court calls "people"

    January 16, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  11. RAMBLE

    Obviously the Dems strategy. What should the GOP do when faced with socialist legislation? Yet, the Dems blame them???????

    January 16, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    People are upset about how Washington is not doing it job, but wll re-elect 80% of those same people they are upsetwith...

    January 16, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  13. Joa

    Obama like to divide congress instead of pulling both sides together. So he always have somebody to blame for his failures. Even when he and the dems had congress the numbers was down. Do we really want him and dems to be in control again? Passing things that he thinks is for our own good like the healthcare bill?

    We need new blood need ob both sides in congress that not corrupted and run by the rich.

    January 16, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  14. SA Wallick

    Strange how everyone seems to know this but them. Pink slips from president on down!!!! Clean the house.

    January 16, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  15. HDUB

    I wonder if they took sarcasm in account for the 11% of approval.

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

    How many of these pathetic "DO NOTHING" congress people (mostly GOP!) are going to be re-elected in 2012?

    January 16, 2012 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  17. DC Observer

    Let's examine the facts - The democrats controlled both the House and the Senate for Bush's last two years in office and Obama's first two years in office. They had a clear majority in Congress. And look where we are -- it is the dems who have runied this nation - Obama has had his chance – and he blew it -- spedning over a year on Obamacare – which is a financial disaster – and ringing up $5 trillion in new debt -- Time to give up his socialistic views and his class warfare. Time for fiscal responsibility – a blanced budget amendment – social security reform – immigration reform – tax refrom – and Term Limits for Congress

    January 16, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  18. Mike

    I total agree with DC Observer ........ TERM LIMITS FOR CONGRESS

    January 16, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  19. alfranken

    Newt, Paul, and Santorum were or still are in congress and are extreme. So that must mean that 100% of the 11% are the extreme right that are out of touch with main stream America

    January 16, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  20. Just A Commonguy

    Obama's presidential rating should be the lowest of any sitting president...he has singlehandedly run this country in the ground with his "change" and once his one term reign is over, we can try to salvage what is left of America, if he hasn't sold us all of to his Muslim brothers!

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

    When people talk of the 1% – do they realize that 85% of Congress on the Democratic side are all millionaires?

    January 16, 2012 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  22. juice

    In another words, the approval rating for OURSELVES hit all time low. Take a wild guess who voted them into office?

    January 16, 2012 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  23. J R Brown

    If it weren't so sad, it'd be hysterical...liberals think the unhappiness with Congress is all about "the tea party". Uh, hello...half of Congress is Democrats as well as the White House. There was no bipartisanship when the Democrats held the Supermajority and then the simple majority in Congress and the Tea Party candidates were elected to STOP them from furthering their coffer raiding spending binge. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid acted like dictators...they shoved their agendas down the throats of not only the GOP members of Congress but the people the represented as well. People don't forget when they get the short straw...the Democrats literally locked the GOP out of the legislative process for a year.

    For all the whining the liberals did about Bush being a little dictator, when they were given the chance to live up to their campaign promises they not only didn't take the high road...they carved a new low road out of untilled soil. They made Bush's administration look like the warm up act for hijacking the government coffers.

    Oh, and for the record...they didn't give us universal health care. All they did was create a medical industrial complex for funneling bribes, kickbacks and payoffs that we get to subsidize.

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

    2012 is Voter's Revenge!!!

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

    I think if Congress were to Officially hit the low approval rating of 30% or less, there should be a change in Congress. I'm talking about people being fired and replaced.

    January 16, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
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