Political Animal


January 02, 2012 3:25 PM Congress’ ‘unimaginably low’ approval rating

By Steve Benen

As regular readers may know, I place very little stock in Rasmussen polls, but given yesterday’s discussion about whether we’re seeing the worst Congress in American history, I found this amusing.

A new Rasmussen report of likely voters has Congress’ approval rating (people believing they are doing an “excellent” or “good” job) at an unimaginably low 5%, with 68% of those responding thinking that Congress is doing a “poor” job. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee went on Fox and Friends Monday morning, and noted that it places Congress, “just barely above a pedophile.”

It also reminded me of this chart that made the rounds once Congress’ approval rating slipped to single digits several months ago.

It’s certainly understandable that voters were frustrated going into the 2010 midterms, and hoped conditions would improve just as soon as they elected dozens of unhinged, right-wing Republican lawmakers. But since that time, every major pollster has seen Congress’ approval rating drop to levels unseen since the dawn of modern polling.

It’s a case of buyers’ remorse on a rather grand scale.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


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  • k l m on January 02, 2012 3:33 PM:

    I am troubled that polling is for 'congress' and not for each party. This perpetuation of the myth that 'both sides are equally culpable in the crisis of government functioning by the polling agencies just allows the GOP to escape the responsibility of their idiotic antics.

    I feel the same way about polling on 'the direction of the country'. Which direction are they talking about? The slide to right? Or that scary 'socialism'? If they would break these question up...or ask respondents specific questions about the direction they're worried about, we might have some real opinion and data to work with.

  • PTate in MN on January 02, 2012 3:39 PM:

    I hope that "buyer's remorse" translates into rejection of all conservative politicians and their damaging policies for at least a generation.

  • Danp on January 02, 2012 3:47 PM:

    I am troubled that polling is for 'congress' and not for each party.

    We're talking Rasmussen here. The questions are intended to feed the argument that government is bad. This makes the "less government" slogan more appealing.

  • c u n d gulag on January 02, 2012 4:00 PM:

    "It’s a case of buyers’ remorse on a rather grand scale."

    No, Steve, it's not.

    It's the fault of Liberal over-reach, and a ruthless, and at the same time, cowardly Kenyan Communist President, who won't compromise with the nice Republicans the REAL, heartland American Conservatives voted into office.

    And if this Congress is a failure - say it with me, boys and girls - IT'S BECAUSE IT'S NOT CONSERVATIVE ENOUGH!

    This has been today's edition of 'Republican Talking Points" for 1/2/2012.


  • beb on January 02, 2012 4:13 PM:

    What's depressing isn't that Congress' approval rating is only 5%. (WTF? How can there be even 5% of Americans who think Congress isn't sucking) it's that this is the Republican parties entirely and only plan for winning the Presidential election next November - to deny President Obama an kind of legislative victory. They plan to run the economy into the dig which they will then claim that Obama dug. It's going to be a long, loathsome twelve months to the next Congress, which we can only hope will be more responsible towards actually governing.

  • Alex Chaffee on January 02, 2012 7:56 PM:

    It's only buyer's remorse if they each disapprove of the congressman they voted for. Is there any polling to support that? Or does everyone blame congress in general, or the other side, or even make the connection at all between voting and governance?

  • horse feathers on January 02, 2012 8:13 PM:

    This damning C-SPAN clip of Congressional Republicans should be seen by all Americans


  • Snarki, child of Loki on January 02, 2012 8:55 PM:

    Breaking out the approval rating by party isn't going to help all *that* much; plenty of dems are pissed at dem Reps for not punching the fucktard GOP reps in the neck.

    And I'm sure there are plenty of fucktard GOP Teabaggers that are pissed at their Reps for not being bigger fucktards. So it goes.

    Clearly, we could replace a bunch of 'em with Paris Hilton and come out ahead.

  • David Martin on January 03, 2012 2:51 AM:

    I don't think my 2nd-term Tea Party congressman will even face a credible opponent, so it really doesn't matter whether he's popular.

  • ottercliff on January 03, 2012 10:23 AM:

    I can't imagine what Congress has accomplished this year that would give them almost twice the approval rating of Fidel Castro.

  • Bob Wilson on January 07, 2012 10:29 AM:

    I called my congressman's office yesterday (Kevin Yoder - KS) and talked to a staffer about my disgust at the ongoing obstruction by the Republicans of any progress and we got talking about the payroll tax extension. He insisted (lied) that only the extension, pay-fors, doc fix, and Keystone pipeline were in it. I reminded him that there were several poison pills in it and he insisted again (lied) that I was mistaken. I went back to my computer, looked it up, called back, and told him he was wrong (lied) when he said that. I don't know about anyone else, but I am sick and tired of the Republicans acting like they can say anything (lie) and get away with it.