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Voters Give Thumbs Down to GOP-Led Congress

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Voters including members of their own party aren’t pleased with the Republicans’ control of both chambers of Congress this past year.

Just 10% of Likely U.S. Voters think Congress’ performance is better now that both the House of Representatives and the Senate are run by the GOP. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 47% think congressional performance is worse, while 37% rate it as about the same as it has been in the past. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

It’s understandable that 70% of Democrats think Congress is doing a worse job, but 22% of Republicans and a plurality (46%) of voters not affiliated with either major party agree. Only 19% of GOP voters think the Republican-controlled Congress is doing a better job than when Democrats controlled at least one of the chambers.

Just nine percent (9%) of all voters think Congress is doing a good or excellent job, while 59% rate its performance as poor. When Republicans took full control of both houses in January, positive reviews for Congress inched up to double digits for the first time in over two years and hit a recent high of 16% in February.  The percentage of voters giving the legislators poor marks dropped into the 50s earlier this year after generally running in the 60s and 70s since mid-2011.

Republicans have generally been as critical of Congress this year as Democrats and unaffiliated voters are. Many GOP voters were outraged when Congress just before Christmas approved a $1.1 trillion budget that the Obama White House says funds all their priorities.

This unhappiness with Congress is manifesting itself in support among Republican voters for outsider presidential candidates like Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on December 22-23, 2015 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.

Most Republicans have been saying in surveys for years that their representatives in Washington, D.C. are out of touch with the party’s base.  Democrats, by contrast, are much happier with their elected representation.

But 50% of all voters still believe it is fair to say that neither party in Congress is the party of the American people.

Women are more critical of Congress than men are. Those under 40 are even less likely than their elders to think Congress is doing a better job now that the GOP is in full control.

Ideological conservatives are much happier with the Republican-led Congress than moderates and liberals are.

Among voters who support Hillary Clinton in a matchup with Trump, 79% feel Congress is doing a worse job now. Most voters (54%) who support Trump view the current Congress’ performance as about the same as those in the past; 22% of these voters say it’s doing better now, while just as many (21%) think it’s doing worse.

Just 26% of all voters think their own representative in Congress is the best possible person for the job, and only 33% believe their representative deserves reelection.

Most believe their own representatives have sold their vote and think congressional elections are rigged to benefit the incumbent.

However, with Obama’s daily job approval ratings remaining in the mid- to high negative teens, it is not surprising that most voters continue to feel the government should only do what the president and Congress agree on.

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

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