Congressional approval rating sinks to new low

The latest Gallup poll shows that a record-high 8 out of 10 Americans disapprove of the way Congress is handling the nation’s affairs.

The survey, conducted between Sept. 8 – 11, also reveals that a majority of Americans have “little or no confidence” in the legislative branch of government and the federal government to address the country’s problems. The high disapproval ratings are not surprising given the intense political fighting that brought the government to the brink of shutdown three times during the past year.

“Americans’ various ratings of political leadership in Washington add up to a profoundly negative review of government – something that would seem unhealthy for the country to endure for an extended period,” according to the Gallup poll analysis. “Nevertheless, with another budget showdown looking inevitable and a contentious presidential election getting underway, it appears the ratings reviewed here could get worse before they improve.”

A separate Gallup survey indicated that 51% of Americans think it’s more important for political leaders to compromise to get things done than to stick to their political ideology. However, 69% of Tea Party supporters disapprove of compromise.

Gallup Poll Key Findings

  • 82% of Americans disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job.
  • 69% say they have little or no confidence in the legislative branch of government, an all-time high and up from 63% in 2010.
  • 57% have little or no confidence in the federal government to solve domestic problems, exceeding the previous high of 53% recorded in 2010 and well exceeding the 43% who have little or no confidence in the government to solve international problems.
  • 53% have little or no confidence in the men and women who seek or hold elected office.
  • Americans believe, on average, that the federal government wastes 51 cents of every tax dollar, similar to a year ago, but up significantly from the 46 cents a decade ago and from an average 43 cents three decades ago
  • 49% of Americans believe the federal government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. In 2003, less than a third (30%) believed this.


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