The Washington Post

Congressional approval is up. But barely.


(Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg)

The good news for lawmakers: Congressional approval is up 7 points in the last four months. The bad news: Their approval rating is just 17 percent.

New numbers from Gallup released Monday show Americans’ approval of Congress this month is up from 15 percent in May, and even with the numbers they scored in April. Congressional approval hit a Gallup all-time low of 10 percent in February.

Disapproval of Congress is at 79 percent, the same as last month, and just 7 points below their record 86 percent disapproval ratings from February and December.

Congressional job approval rankings in Gallup surveys have been low for years, hitting 18 percent in the summer of 2007 and 14 percent in July 2008. It climbed to 39 percent in March 2009, but then plummeted and has remained below 20 percent ever since.

Across party lines, the love for Congress is lacking. Just 20 percent of Democrats approve of lawmakers, compared to 16 percent of independents and 17 percent of Republicans, Gallup said. Historically, when one party controls both houses, those who identify with that party are generally significantly more positive than those who identify with the other party.

Polling by The Washington Post and ABC News reflects similar trends. The last time we asked about congressional approval in March, congressional Democrats scored a 34 percent approval rating and congressional Republicans earned just 23 percent. The March poll found that Democrats are significantly more approving of their own party’s performance than are Republicans.

Low approval for Congress is exactly why President Obama continues to push lawmakers to approve his economic plans — even if the request continues to fall on tin ears. Though the president’s approval ratings have sputtered in recent months, he scored a 47 percent approval rating in Gallup and Washington Post polls conducted last month — 30 points higher than Congress.

For its congressional poll, Gallup interviewed 1,004 adults between June 7 and June 10. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.


View Photo Gallery: A new Gallup poll shows Congress’s approval rating is at 17 percent. You’d be surprised at some of the things in history that have been more popular than the current Congress.

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Follow Ed O’Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

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