At 13%, Congressional Approval Rating Matches Record Low
According to a recent Gallup poll, Congressional approval - at just 13% - has reached an all-time low. Records of such widespread disapproval surfaced two other times in Gallup history, and they are not so long ago: December and August of 2010.
Behind the recent rock-bottom ratings is subpar approval from all three party groups. Republicans' and independents' approval of Congress in 2011 has consistently been below 25%, and more often below 20%. After averaging 24% from January through July, Democrats' approval fell sharply in August, to 15%, and has remained lower than that since.
Currently, Republicans' and Democrats' approval of Congress is identical, at 14%, similar to the 13% among independents.
Older Americans are even less favorable toward Congress than the public at large. Eight percent of those 55 and older approved of Congress in October, similar to their single-digit ratings of Congress since July. Approval is not much higher among middle-aged adults, but rises to 21% among those 18 to 34. Young adults have been more supportive of Congress this year than older age groups, similar to their relatively high approval of President Barack Obama. This is consistent with previous Gallup research showing a long-term inverse relationship between congressional approval and age.
These age patterns may be even more pronounced today than historically, and could be relevant to congressional race outcomes if they hold through next year's elections, because older Americans are typically more likely to vote.
Thus far in 2011, Congress is on track to register its lowest annual average approval rating for any year since Gallup began measuring congressional approval in 1974. The existing lows are 18% recorded in 1992 (based on one measure that year) and 19% recorded in each of three years: 1979 (based on one measure), 2008 (based on monthly ratings), and 2010 (based on monthly ratings).
If there is any good news here, it is that the majority Americans are not happy with the filibustering and hostage-taking ridiculousness in Congress. Hopefully, as Gallup suggested, poll results will reflect dissatisfaction and officials who better represent their constituents will take charge to create vital change.