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It’s official: Congress hits all-time low in the polls

November 13, 2013 by NCC Staff


Amid weeks of reports about slumping polling data, the last major polling group that didn’t say Congress was at an all-time low in popularity confirms what we all know: Congress is in a slump.

Joint_Session_of_Congress-450x300The Gallup organization is the granddaddy of political pollsters, and even during the government shutdown, its approval ratings for the House and Senate stayed at about their historic low of 10 percent. That number was hit twice during 2012.

But in data released on Tuesday, only 9 percent of Americans approved of Congress in a Gallup survey taken last week. It is the first time that the Gallup congressional approval rating has hit single digits in the 39 years that Gallup has been asking the question.

And in a rare act of consensus, folks of all political stripes seem to agree with their opinions of Capitol Hill.

“Public displeasure with Congress is equally rampant across political groups, with Republicans (9%), independents (8%), and Democrats (10%) giving the institution similarly low approval ratings,” said Gallup.

Gallup is one of the last polling groups to show an all-time low popularity rating for Congress since the shutdown and debt ceiling crisis hit the headlines.

In September, CNN said its congressional approval rating hit 10 percent in a poll that dates back decades. Another poll from Harris Interactive put the approval rating at 7 percent.

An October poll from the Associated Press and GFK put the congressional approval rating at a rock-bottom 5 percent.

The Washington Post/ABC News poll in October had the approval rating of 12 percent, the lowest in that poll during the past 25 years.

And a late October survey from CBS News and the New York Times put the congressional approval rating at 9 percent—the lowest number in that poll since the question was first asked in 1977.

Other polling firms have equally dismal numbers for Congress. Rasmussen Reports has the approval rating at 7 percent, as of early November, which is the lowest number in the seven years the group has asked that question.

And in a late October NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 63 percent of voters said they want to replace their own member of Congress, the highest percentage on record since that question was first asked in 1992.

In a similar trend, in a Pew survey about 74 percent of Americans wanted to see most members of Congress defeated if they ran for re-election. That is a record in the survey for data gathered back to 1990 about midterm elections. (The previous record was 57 percent in 1996.)

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