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8% Think Congress Is Doing A Good or Excellent Job

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Voters continue to give Congress rock-bottom ratings, and very few think members of Congress get reelected because they are good at their job.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just eight percent (8%) of Likely U.S. Voters rate the job Congress is doing as good or excellent. Sixty-six percent (66%) think Congress is doing a poor job. That’s unchanged from last month but still an improvement from November when 75% said Congress was going a poor job, the legislators' highest negative in seven years of regular surveying.   (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Members of Congress routinely get reelected, but only eight percent (8%) think that is because they do a good job representing their constituents. Two-thirds (66%) believe it’s because election rules are rigged to benefit incumbents. Twenty-six percent (26%) are not sure why Congress members almost always get reelected. These sentiments are consistent with earlier surveys.

Similarly, 59% of voters believe most members of Congress are willing to sell their vote for cash or campaign contributions. Just 14% do not. Twenty-seven percent (27%) are not sure.

Fifty-six percent (56%) think it’s at least somewhat likely that their own representative in Congress has sold their vote, including 27% who say it’s Very Likely. Twenty-four percent (24%) consider it unlikely that their representative has sold his or her vote, but that includes just five percent (5%) who say it’s Not At All Likely. One-in-five (20%) are not sure.

Twenty-seven percent (27%) thinks the representative from their district is more liberal than they are, but just as many (27%) think they are more conservative. Thirty-three percent (33%) think their representative is about the sam ideologically, as they are. Thirteen percent (13%) aren't sure. 

Attitudes on all three of these questions have changed little over the past year.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on February 16-17, 2014 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology

Because of Democratic opposition to spending cuts, Congress last week passed a “clean” bill to raise the federal debt ceiling without spending cuts attached. But 57% of voters think the best approach for dealing with the debt ceiling issue is to only raise it as part of a deal that includes significant spending cuts.

Democrats rate Congress' performance even more negatively than Republicans and unaffiliated voters do. 

Seventy-six percent (76%) of Mainstream voters think members of Congress are usually elected because the election rules are rigged, but just 30% of the Political Class agree. Only 17% of Political Class voters think most members are willing to sell their vote, a belief held by 68% of those in the Mainstream. 

Forty percent (40%) of Republicans think their representative is more liberal than they are, while 41% of Democrats think they’re more conservative. Among unaffiliated voters, 32% say more liberal, 22% more conservative.

Most voters who think most Congress members are willing to sell their vote also think it’s likely their own representative has done so.

A new report says that for the first time more than half the members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are millionaires, but 70% of voters think it is bad for the country that most members of Congress are this wealthy.

President Obama made it clear in his State of the Union speech last month that he is prepared to take independent executive action if he can’t get Congress to work with him on some major issues, but voters strongly believe it’s better for the president to work with Congress than to go it alone

Singer Clay Aiken, who got his start on the “American Idol” TV program, made headlines last week when he announced he is running for Congress in North Carolina, but very few consider a candidate’s celebrity a deciding factor to their vote.  

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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