Congressional Job Approval Plummets To 11%

Congress Approval

Not surprisingly, public approval of Congress has fallen away in the wake of the ongoing shutdown crisis:

PRINCETON, NJ — As Congress’ inability to agree on compromises that would reopen the partially shut-down government and raise the looming debt ceiling continues, Americans give Congress an 11% job approval rating, down eight percentage points from last month and one point above the worst rating in Gallup history.

The drop in Congress’ approval rating is fueled in large part by Democrats’ declining approval of Congress — from 20% in September to 5% in October. Approval ratings among Republicans and independents have also fallen, but by much smaller margins. The big drop in Democrats’ approval of Congress most certainly reflects Democrats’ negative views of the Republican-controlled House, in which leadership has publicly demanded that the president and Democrats in Congress agree to changes in the Affordable Care Act as a condition for passing a continuing resolution or a budget. Overall, however, approval of Congress is very low across all partisan groups.

And yet, as always, the public seems to be somewhat schizophrenic:

While Congress as a whole gets dismal job approval ratings, Americans are significantly more charitable when it comes to the member of Congress representing their particular district. Americans now give their own representative a 44% approval rating, which is not an extremely high rating on an absolute basis, but is certainly high compared with Congress’ overall 11% rating in the same survey.

Americans’ ratings of their own representative is little changed from Gallup’s last measurement in May, when 46% approved. However, fewer Americans approve and more disapprove of their own member of Congress than what Gallup has found in the past, and the percentages who approve and disapprove are now essentially equal. Typically, Americans have been much more likely to approve than disapprove of their own representative.

Which, of course, is why incumbents continue to get reelected at such astoundingly high rates.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Public Opinion Polls, Quick Takes, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.


  1. al-Ameda says:

    I’m not at all surprised that the composite approval numbers are that low – Republicans polled downgrade because they dislike what congressional Democrats are doing, and Democrats polled downgrade it because what congressional Republicans are doing.

    It shows that only 11% are willing to express a positive, that is, even Republican voters who like what their crew is doing are only willing to express the negative – not about their guy, but about the other guy.