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Following Shutdown, Attitudes Toward Congress Haven’t Changed

Thursday, January 31, 2019

In the aftermath of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, voters’ views on Congress hold steady, but they’re slightly less likely to see the benefit of working with the president in most cases.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 22% of Likely U.S. Voters rate the way Congress is doing its job as good or excellent, including only eight percent (8%) who give members of Congress an excellent rating. Forty-eight percent (48%) give Congress poor marks. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

These ratings show virtually no change from just before the midterm elections, but are up from just 15% in July. However, recent findings are still below the 25% measured in February 2017 just after Congress switched to GOP control, which was the highest level measured since May 2007. Historically, this number has ranged in the single digits to low teens in regular surveys since November 2006.

Twenty-seven percent (27%) of Democrats give the now Democratic-led Congress a good or excellent review, up from 18% who said the same of the GOP-lead Congress just before midterms. Twenty-two percent (22%) of unaffiliated voters agree, up slightly from 19% in the previous survey, while just 15% of Republicans now think Congress is doing a good or excellent job, down from 33% in October when the GOP still held majority control.

Forty-nine percent (49%) of voters say it’s better for the country if Congress works with Trump most of the time, down slightly from 52% in October. Forty percent (40%) think it’s better if Congress opposes the president most of the time. Eleven percent (11%) are not sure. The number who think the two sides shouldn’t come together has been on the rise from 29% in January 2017.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on January 28-29, 2019 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.

With the new session of Congress under way, voters aren’t optimistic that things will get any better, but they are growing more convinced that Congress should follow President Trump’s lead.

A November survey found that an overwhelming majority (68%) say it is more important for the new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives to focus on policy areas where it can work with the president and his fellow Republicans.

Most Republicans (78%) continue to believe Trump and Congress should work together, while most Democrats (61%) still think they shouldn’t. But while 62% of unaffiliated voters thought in 2017 that Trump and Congress should get along, only 47% of those voters feel that way now. Thirty-eight percent (38%) of unaffiliateds think Congress should oppose Trump most of the time.

Women rate the current Congress slightly better than men do, but roughly half of both men and women agree it’s better for the country if Congress works with Trump most of the time.

The younger the voter, the more they like Congress, but those under 40 are the least likely to say they should work with the president most of the time.

Black voters like Congress more than white and other minority voters do, but most black voters think it’s better for them to oppose Trump most of the time. Most white and other minority voters think it’s better to work with Trump.

Voters who Strongly Disapprove of Trump like the current Congress much more than those that Strongly Approve of the president. Not surprisingly, while 97% of strong supporters think it’s better for Congress to work with the president most of the time, 76% who Strongly Disapprove think it’s better to oppose him.

Those who rate Congress poorly are the most likely to say it’s better for the country to work with Trump most of the time.

Most Republicans are still unhappy with their congressional representatives and are less convinced of the need for Trump to work with other GOP officials.

Democrats strongly identify with their congressional representatives, while Republicans still line up more with Trump than with GOP members of Congress.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is once again the most powerful Democrat in Washington, D.C., but voters prefer that Trump lead the way.

Most agreed that Trump is calling the shots prior to November’s midterm elections, but voters said that was all going to change after Democrats won the House.

The 50-50 nation marches on. Half the voters in the country don’t like Pelosi, the highest-ranking Democrat in Washington, D.C., but just as many disapprove of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Congress’ top Republican.

At the end of the day, though, most voters continue to believe it’s incumbent on Congressional representatives to pass good legislation and are slightly more confident than earlier this year that Capitol Hill will address the nation’s most serious problems.

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

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