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Congressional Performance

As Election Nears, Faith in Congress Is Up

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

As voters get ready to head to the polls in the upcoming elections, voters are much more confident in Congress these days on the heels of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation than they have been in more than a year.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 24% of Likely U.S. Voters rate the way Congress is doing its job as good or excellent, including only seven percent (7%) who give members of Congress an excellent rating. Forty-six percent (46%) give Congress poor marks. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 

But, post-Kavanaugh, the number of voters who now give Congress a positive rating is up from just 15% in July.  However, the most recent finding is just below the 25% measured in February 2017, 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.

Fifty-four percent (54%) of all voters say they are more likely to vote in the upcoming midterm elections because of the controversy surrounding President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. Sixty-two percent (62%) of Republicans are more likely to vote because of the Kavanaugh controversy, compared to 54% of Democrats, and Republicans are angrier about the treatment of Kavanaugh

Thirty-three percent (33%) of Republicans now give the GOP-led Congress a good or excellent review, a view shared by just 18% of Democrats and 19% of voters not affiliated with either major party.

Fifty-two percent (52%) of voters say it’s better for the country if Congress works with Trump most of the time. Thirty-eight percent (38%) think it’s better if Congress opposes the president most of the time. Eleven percent (11%) are not sure.

These findings show little change from February. However, the number who think the two sides shouldn’t come together is up from 29% in January 2017.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on October 11 and 14, 2018 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 (81%) continue to believe Trump and Congress should work together, while most Democrats (65%) 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-two percent (32%) of unaffiliateds think Congress should oppose Trump most of the time.

Younger adults have more faith in Congress than their elders. The older the voter, the more likely they are to believe that it’s better for the United States if Congress and Trump work together.

Men (55%) are slightly more likely than women (49%) to think Congress and Trump should come together for the benefit of the nation.

Trump supporters are much more inclined to give Congress positive marks. They’re also more likely to believe Congress and the president should work together most of the time.

With less than a month to Election Day, the Generic Congressional Ballot is now dead even.

Voters think the upcoming midterm elections are more about Trump than individual candidates and issues, but they don’t think a Democratic win necessarily means Trump should change course. 

Nearly half of voters (46%) believe Trump is setting the agenda in Washington, D.C., these days. Only 11% and 10% feel that way about the GOP-led Congress and the Democratic opposition, respectively.

Voters don’t think Congress cares about them and is more interested in pleasing the media.

Few voters believe the average member of Congress shares their ideological views. But Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say they think like the representatives in their own party.

Most of all voters remain convinced that they work harder than Congress, but they’re less sure when it comes to Trump.

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

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