It’s not just Obama: Americans also disapprove of Congress

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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The United States Congress’ approval rating has fallen to a historic low, according to a Gallup poll released Tuesday.

Just 13 percent of Americans say they approve of the job Congress is doing, while 84 percent say they disapprove. That ties Congress’ lowest approval rating ever, achieved in December of 2010, when a lame-duck session was battling over the budget and a government shutdown seemed imminent.

Independents have the lowest opinion of Congress, with just 9 percent saying they approve of the job federal lawmakers are doing. That figure is 17 percent among Republicans and 15 percent among Democrats. (RELATED: Obama’s approval rating reaches lowest point of his presidency)

This is Gallup’s first polling on congressional approval since the debt ceiling debate ended, Standard & Poor’s downgraded the U.S. credit rating, and the past week’s stock market roller coaster. Yet Gallup noted an earlier poll conducted with USA Today from August 4 through August 7, which found that only 21 percent said most members of Congress ought to be reelected, another record low.

Other polls have seen similar results. A Fox News poll from August 7 through August 9 found just 10 percent approval for Congress, and a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll from August 1 found that just 14 percent approved of the job Congress was doing.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill aren’t alone. President Obama’s job approval rating has also seen record lows in the past week. On Sunday, his approval rating dropped to the lowest point of his presidency, just 39 percent, based on Gallup’s three-day rolling average.

These numbers seem to suggest disenchantment with government as a whole. In light of the USA Today/Gallup poll from last week, USA Today’s Susan Page suggested that the disinclination to reelect both sitting members of Congress and the president could make 2012 a “wave election.”

The Gallup poll is based on telephone interviews with 1,008 adults nationwide from August 8 through August 11, and has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.