Congressional approval falls to lowest point in history

Giuseppe Macri | Tech Editor

Congress earned its lowest approval rating ever recorded by Gallup, according to a poll released Thursday, placing the nation’s highest lawmaking institution last in a list of 16.

Congressional approval fell to 10 percent in 2013, down from its 2012 record setting 13 percent. Congress placed last in a list of institutions including the presidency, church or organized religion, the military, big business and Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), which claimed second-to-last.

Gallup respondents were told, “I am going to read you a list of institutions in American society. Please tell me how much confidence you, yourself, have in each one — a great deal, quite a lot, some, or very little?”

The military ranked first on the list at 76 percent, one point higher than the previous year, while the presidency was one point lower than 2012 at 36 percent in the fifth spot. Fifty-two percent of Americans said they have little or no confidence in Congress.

This will be Congress’ fourth year in a row of occupying the bottom spot. The 2013 rating marks the lowest rating ever given to any institution by Gallup in 40 years. Gallup began polling the question in 1973; the same year Congress received its record highest rating at 42 percent.

Over the course of 2012, the 112th Congress received an average approval rating of 15 percent according to Gallup polling, bottoming out at 13 percent at its lowest point.

Gallup noted in 2012 that, “overall, Americans have been significantly more likely to disapprove than approve of Congress over the decades.”

In a December 2012 survey on honesty and ethical standards across 22 professions, members of Congress ranked 21, with 54 percent of Americans ranking them as having “low or very low” ethical standards — beating only car salesman with an 8 percent approval rating.

According to the same survey, a mere one in 10 Americans believed members of Congress to have “very high or high” ethical standards. As of January 2013, Congress maintains a disapproval rating of 81 percent.

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