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Congressional Performance

Congress Still Ranks Low in the Public's Eyes

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Congress never comes close to ranking on Americans’ list of favorites, and this month is no different.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just nine percent (9%) of Likely U.S. Voters think Congress is doing a good or excellent job, unchanged from September,  which was the worst positive rating since the arrival of the new Republican-led Congress in January. Fifty-nine percent (59%) now think Congress is doing a poor job, down from September but generally in line with earlier surveys. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

When the new Congress arrived at the start of the year, 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. 

Interestingly, Republicans are just as critical of Congress as Democrats are.

Part of the problem is that only nine percent (9%) of all voters think the average member of Congress listens to the voters he or she represents the most. Seventy-seven percent (77%) think the average member listens mostly to party leaders in Congress. Just 13% are undecided. This is generally in line with sentiments over the past couple of years.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on November 30-December 1, 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

Fifty percent (50%) of voters still believe it is fair to say that neither party in Congress is the party of the American people

Men give Congress even harsher ratings than women do. Voters over 40 rate Congress worse than younger voters do.

Voters across the political spectrum rate Congress poorly and believe they listen to party leaders over those they represent. 

Blacks have a more positive opinion of Congress compared to whites and other minority voters.

Not surprisingly, those who give Congress positive marks are more likely to believe members of Congress listen to voters than those who rate Congress poorly. But most voters across the board still believe they listen to party leaders most.

Despite the disdain for Congress as a whole, voters are a bit more positive about their local representatives.  Still, most believe their own representatives have sold their vote and think congressional elections are rigged to benefit the incumbent.

Negative views of Congress aside, however, most voters continue to feel that 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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