Congress remains deeply unpopular, poll finds

March 13, 2012

Congress remains deeply unpopular with the American public, but Democrats continue to fare better than Republicans, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Despite weeks of fiery debate on Capitol Hill regarding reproductive rights, however, Republican women appear to be backing their party in stronger numbers than in previous months.


About one-third of Americans approve of the way congressional Democrats are doing their jobs, compared to a 23-percent approval rating for Republicans. Though the numbers are poor for both parties, support for Democrats is higher across most ranges — age, education level, income level, religion and political preference. The GOP runs about evenly with Democrats among non-college-educated whites and slightly ahead of them among white evangelical Protestants, according to the poll.

The poll found Democrats score better than Republicans among women, 39 percent to 26 percent, respectively. But after earning clearly negative ratings from women at the start of the year, 53 percent of Republican women now approve of GOP lawmakers.


View Photo Gallery: A new Post-ABC poll shows Congress’s approval at nearly an all-time low. You’d be surprised at some of the things in history that have been more popular than the current Congress.

Congressional Republicans historically have earned lower approval ratings from women. Male Republicans continue to tilt negative on their party’s congressional leadership.


Democrats are significantly more approving of their own party’s performance in Congress than are Republicans. Sixty-five percent of Democrats approve of congressional Democrats, while fewer than half of Republicans, 48 percent, approve of GOP lawmakers. Fifty-two percent of self-identified liberals approve of congressional Democrats; just 37 percent of conservatives approve of the GOP, as do 36 percent of tea party supporters, the poll said.


The overall numbers have shifted little since January.

The telephone poll was conducted March 7-10, among a random national sample of 1,003 adults. Results of the full poll have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points. Read the full results and other findings from our most recent poll at http://wapo.st/zCwA8K .

Polling director Jon Cohen, polling manager Peyton Craighill and polling analyst Scott Clement contributed to this report.

Follow Ed O’Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

Follow The Post Polling Unit on Twitter: @PostPolls

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Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.
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