Seventeen percent of adults polled by Gallup approve of the job Congress is doing. That’s down from 18 percent in March, 23 percent in February and 20 percent in January. It’s also just four points above December’s approval rating of 13 percent, which marked the lowest rating ever since Gallup began measuring congressional approval in 1974.
One factor that may have had an impact on the poll’s results was its timing. The survey was conducted April 7-11 – just as Congress and the White House were racing to reach a deal on averting a government shutdown at midnight on April 8.
In addition to being near its all-time low, Congress’s 17-percent rating in the latest poll is lower than the approval rating for any other Congress in the April after a House election. In the April after the historic 1994 midterms, 37 percent of those polled by Gallup approved of the job Congress was doing; in the April after the 2006 midterms, 33 percent of respondents approved.
The latest Gallup survey shows that Democrats are slightly more satisfied with the job Congress is doing than Republicans and independents are; among Democrats, 21 percent approve of Congress, while 15 percent of Republicans and independents approve.
A Washington Post-ABC News poll earlier this week painted a slightly less bleak picture: 34 percent of those polled approve of the job congressional Republicans are doing, while 36 percent approve of the job Democrats are doing in Congress.
House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) approval rating has increased from 39 percent in January to 43 percent in April as more respondents have developed opinions about him, but his disapproval rating has increased more drastically, from 27 percent to 40 percent.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) approval rating in the Post poll is lower than Boehner’s, with 33 percent approving and 49 percent disapproving.
The approval ratings for Congress and its leaders don’t look to go up anytime soon, with a contentious debt-limit fight on the horizon and the upcoming deficit-reduction talks between congressional leaders and the White House on May 5, about which members of both parties have already expressed skepticism.
The Gallup poll, which surveyed 1,077 national adults, had a margin of error of four percentage points.