Poll: Americans’ approval of Congress up to 18 percent, still historically low

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 (UPI) — Approval ratings for the U.S. Congress inched up 5 percentage points since July, but still remains among the lowest in recent years at 18 percent, a new Gallup poll found.

The rating, measured in a Gallup poll from Aug. 3 to Aug. 7, ties with the highest measured in 2016 so far. Since February 2010, approval ratings for Congress have been below 20 percent in most of Gallup’s monthly measures. The improvement coincides with a 10 percent increase in the percentage of adults who say they are satisfied with the direction of the country

“The increase in Congress’ job approval this month is a modestly positive sign for the institution, but 18 percent is still historically low,” Gallup’s Justin McCarthy said. “In addition to being the least-trusted branch of government, the legislative branch’s approval rating has not seen any lasting improvements in recent years.”

In the past 15 years, Americans’ approval of Congress has largely mirrored the overall outlook in the country. On just a few occasions, such as after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, prior to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq and in the first couple of months of President Barack Obama‘s tenure, approval ratings for Congress surpassed the satisfaction rate with the United States by more than 10 points.

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“Early in 2012, Americans’ satisfaction with the direction of the U.S. improved while their approval of Congress did not,” McCarthy said. “Since then, the two metrics have continued to run in parallel, but satisfaction has consistently outpaced Congress’ job approval by as much as 17 percentage points. This more negative attitude toward Congress mirrors other indicators showing that Americans are at or near record lows in their confidence in the executive and judicial branches and the federal government in general.”

Overall, Republicans remain least approving of the institution, at 13 percent. About 20 percent of independents and 19 percent of Democrats approve of the job Congress is doing, the poll found.

The results of the poll are based on telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,032 adults, aged 18 and older, living in the United States. The margin of sampling error is 4 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.



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