Poll: Disapproval of Congress at historic high
November 12th, 2013
05:11 PM ET
9 years ago

Poll: Disapproval of Congress at historic high

Washington (CNN) – If you thought American's approval of Congress had hit rock bottom weeks ago, you were wrong.

According to a Gallup poll released on Tuesday, only 9% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing. It's the lowest congressional approval rating in the 39 years Gallup has asked the question.

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"The government shutdown in October clearly didn't help Congress' image, and it appears that the impact of that incident may linger, given the record-low approval this month," Gallup CEO Frank Newport wrote. "This no doubt reflects the rancorous partisanship and bickering that characterized the shutdown - the top reasons given by those who disapprove of Congress."

Earlier this year, Americans indicated the two top reasons they disapproved of Congress was the incessant gridlock and partisan bickering, as well as the fact that the legislative body is "not getting anything done" and "not making decisions."

Although Congress' approval rating hit a new low on Tuesday, the fall was not that great.

Congressional approval has recently fluctuated from 13% in 2011 to 21% at the end of 2012, and then down to 11% just a few weeks ago.

The previous low for congressional approval, according to Gallup, was 10%–a number registered twice in 2012.

And despite the fact that last year's average 15% approval rating for Congress was the lowest yearly average Gallup has recorded, the polling agency said Tuesday that 2013 will likely break new ground – with an average 14% approval rating for Congress.

That would be the lowest yearly average Gallup has recorded.

"Having a divided Congress - with Republicans controlling the House and Democrats controlling the Senate - means there are complaints among partisans on both sides, reflected in similarly low congressional approval ratings among Republicans and Democrats," Newport wrote.

Disdain for Washington is also bipartisan. Republicans give Congress a 9% approval rating, compared to 8% among independents and 10% among Democrats.

Gallup conducted its 1,039-person telephone poll from November 7-10. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

Filed under: Congress • Polls
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. John832

    The funny thing is how this will translate into the majority of the incumbents winning re-election.

    November 12, 2013 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  2. Steve Hamilton

    I love the right wing radical reaction; "OK, our numbers stink, but so do the president's and our bad numbers are all due to the MSM". Hey radicals, here's an idea, try reading what the Wall street Journal has to say.

    November 12, 2013 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  3. Paul

    Republicans have hitched their wagon to the tea baggers. They are ruining this country and don't care. They have blocked jobs programs, help for poor people, tied up the house and senate so nothing gets done. Need to be voted out before it is too late.

    November 12, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  4. oneSTARman

    What happens when Poll Numbers for Congress go into Negative Numbers?
    As John BOehNER is the SQUARE ROOT of ONE of the Houses of Congress
    That would make him IMAGINARY

    November 12, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  5. IQ173

    This Country would benefit greatly if we could just get these losers to stop sending our TAX DOLLARS OVERSEAS and instead put the money back into America and it's CITIZENS who need it the most right now, we owe China so much money right now because of these self-serving prricks it will take 4 generations to pay it off and that is if we stop sending money to other countries last month....I am sick of all of them and the IDIOTS who defend them,,,you should all be ashamed of yourselves,,,,,,

    November 12, 2013 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  6. Larry38363

    Once again. It's time to make changes to the election process with open primaries; term limits; changes in salary and benefits based on the median salary for the election state; the end of Lobbyists and definitely the end of retired or ousted politicians becoming Lobbyists; ALL government employees must be on ACA; Social Security will be the only Retirement account and ALL will pay regardless of their salary; and, pensions would no longer be available based on the maximum of 4 or 12 years in office. Second, the entire Party system must end; The House would have to discuss and vote any bill presented whether the majority agreed or not; filibusters would be abolished; and, acts and laws will always pass with a simple majority.

    November 12, 2013 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  7. dave

    to you folks claiming that this is selective bashing of congress while ignoring Obama's numbers – that story is RIGHT ABOVE THIS ONE in the headlines. sheesh... (full disclosure – my approval rating for the entire governet is zero, so I have no more dogs in this fight!)

    November 12, 2013 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  8. davecu

    So where do we get presidential candidates from?
    We should know better by now.

    November 12, 2013 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  9. Hooper

    One rung lower than whale dung, yet they keep their jobs. Anyone else or any other group of people would have been replaced. Why not these idiots?

    November 12, 2013 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  10. Larry L

    Where on Earth would you go to find anybody who approves of our Congress? I can only assume the 9% is Tea Party radicals who actually want America to fail. If that's your goal our Congress would be performing quite well.

    November 12, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  11. T

    .....I distrust Congress MORE than Obama............

    November 12, 2013 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  12. Larry L

    @Jonathon Powelly

    It doesn't matter. The majority of entrenched politicians will be reelected.
    You're absolutely correct. The one law that could fix that problem is one outlawing ALL contributions from lobbyists to political campaigns. They shouldn't be allowed anything – no trips, free samples, dinners, and certainly not cash contributions. It's called "bribery" in any other scenario.

    November 12, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  13. Mark

    Their every effort is to obstruct and destroy the president with a double edge sword they swing around blindly. They have done nothing for the American people except show us how ignorant they are who they serve.

    November 12, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  14. harryo666

    congress is mostly made up slimy shady lawyers who only cared about fleecing when they practiced law and now that they are in congress they only care about their salary, expense account and pension. we need to stop electing lawyers to congress and start electing a broad cross section of people from all walks of life that work for a living like managers, small business owners, nurses , doctors, plumbers, secretaries, etc etc etc. and we need term limits !! These people have made a life sitting on their fat fannies and lining their bank accounts caring little for the average citizen!

    November 12, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  15. Organic1

    9% seems about twice the actual figure.

    November 12, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  16. moaldee

    looks like a lot of paid obama trolls out tonight..

    November 12, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  17. Stevie D

    The GOP are the real terrorists. They really don't care about the debt, abortion, jobs, gay marriage etc. They only care about the rich getting richer and richer.

    November 12, 2013 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  18. Stevie D

    We need a third party... A new third party.

    November 12, 2013 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  19. John

    The only thing that makes Obama look good is ??????????. I guess nothing can help the incompetent one. Oh before you big O supporters start raving, I am not a Tea Party supporter (I think they are crazy), but I am a registered Democrat who apologizes for voting for Obama once.

    November 12, 2013 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  20. Homey


    National Clown Association sues Tea Party Clowns – claim they're giving clowns a bad name.


    Tea Party unveils new party logo: "TP – We're On a Roll".

    November 12, 2013 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  21. Stevie D

    It's all going according to their plan.

    November 12, 2013 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  22. rochecoach

    Pffft, congress could hit an approval rating of 0%, and people will still vote in everybody they already voted for last year, because politics is more about siding with your political party than it is choosing effective leaders.

    November 12, 2013 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  23. Norma Vessels

    How many times does it take for the Republicans in the House to knock down a Bill that would help us. How many times does it take the Republicans in the House to stall and not even bring a vote up, to make you all realize it is the Republicans in the House that need to be voted out ... that most of the Democrats are trying to do the right thing!

    November 12, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  24. ladies first

    yes the countries got its problens ROME WASN'T BUILT IN A DAY

    November 12, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  25. Name Tom

    I'm conservative and I hate the Tea Party. I'm independent and think the party system leads to a broken gov. Obama is probably the worst President I can remember (and I voted for him the first time). Sorry!!

    November 12, 2013 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
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