Job Ratings for Congress Remain at Historic Lows
In the past month, President Obama has seen his re-election chances get slightly better and his approval ratings have gone up. The mood of the country has also become more optimistic. But, for all this, one thing remains the same – Congress’ job approval is still at historic lows. Just 7% of Americans give the overall job Congress is doing positive ratings while 93% give them negative ratings. Last month 6% of U.S. adults gave Congress positive ratings while 94% gave Congress negative marks. Interestingly, the last time their job rating was over 10% positive was in June of last year and the last time it was over 20% was in August of 2009.
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,056 adults surveyed online between February 6 and 13, 2012 by Harris Interactive .
It is slightly better for individual members of Congress. When asked how they would rate the overall job their Member of Congress is doing, one-quarter of Americans (23%) give their Representative positive ratings, but almost two-thirds (64%) give them negative ratings while just over one in ten (13%) say they are not familiar enough with their Member of Congress to rate them. Three in ten Republicans (29%) rate their Member of Congress positively compared to one-quarter of Democrats (25%) and one in five Independents (19%).
Looking ahead to November, right now the question of who will control Congress’ two houses is a good one. If the election for Congress were being held today, 38% of registered voters would vote for the Democratic candidate and 35% would vote for the Republican candidate; 6% would vote for another candidate and one in five (20%) are not sure. Last month, it was a tie as 38% of registered voters said they would vote for the Democratic candidate and the same number said they would vote for the Republican candidate.
By party, each one holds on to their partisan supporters. Just over four in five Democrats (84%) would vote for the Democratic candidate and just over four in five Republicans (85%) would vote for the Republican candidate. Independents are definitely divided at this point. Just over one-quarter (28%) would vote for the Republican candidate, one-quarter (25%) would vote for the Democratic candidate, just over one in ten (13%) would vote for another candidate and one-third (34%) are not sure who they would vote for at this time.
Members of Congress are probably happy a lot of the focus is on the presidential race at this point in time. That way, their consistent string of historically low approval ratings is not the main political focus. But, that will change as the election nears. With the constant partisan in-fighting on Capitol Hill as well as general sense this is the most do-nothing Congress in years, November is shaping up to have the potential to bring a large number of surprises and upsets as people don’t even approve of the job their Member of Congress is doing.