By: Jeffrey M. Jones
June 17, 2011
PRINCETON, NJ -- Seventeen percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, down seven percentage points from May's 24% approval rating, but similar to where it was in March and April. Congress' approval rating has been below 25% since January 2010.
The June 9-12 update on Congress was conducted in the midst of the scandal involving U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner. However, the drop since May more likely reflects the end of the rally in support for the government after the death of Osama bin Laden rather than a reaction to the Weiner scandal. The bin Laden news preceded increases in approval ratings for President Obama and Congress as well as an uptick in Americans' satisfaction with the way things are going in the United States, but all three measures are back down in June.
The 17% now approving of Congress is just four points higher than the all-time low of 13% Gallup measured in December. Since Gallup began assessing congressional job approval in 1974, there have been only three ratings lower than 17%. All of these -- plus two other 17% ratings -- have been recorded in the past three years, underscoring the recent negative turn in Americans' views of Congress.
ImplicationsCongress' approval ratings remain historically low, and in recent years, Americans' dim view of Congress has contributed to the significant turnover in its membership after the 2006, 2008, and 2010 elections. Unless conditions in the United States improve and Americans become more charitable in their ratings of Congress, the 2012 elections may result in another shake-up in Congress' membership, although with divided control of the legislative branch, it is not clear which party would be hurt more. The irony is that even as Congress' membership has turned over a lot in recent years, its standing as an institution in the eyes of the public has not improved. Complete Report with Charts
Too bad Gallup did not include
grandchildren in their polling results