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Congressional Performance

Voters Like Congress More Than They Have in Years

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Voters show more faith in Congress today than they ever did during the Obama administration.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 25% of Likely U.S. Voters think Congress is doing a good or excellent job. That’s up significantly from 11% in July  and the most confidence voters have shown in Congress since 2007

Just 49% now think Congress is doing a poor job, down from 57% in July and the lowest level of pessimism since March 2011. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Prior to this survey, the number who gave Congress positive marks hadn’t broken the 20% mark since May of 2009. 

When the last new Republican-led Congress arrived in January of 2015, positive reviews inched up to double digits for the first time in over two years and hit a recent high of 16% the following month. The percentage of voters giving the legislators poor marks dropped into the 50s during the early months of 2015 after generally running in the 60s and 70s since mid-2011.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on February 23-24, 2017 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

Just weeks into the new Congress, Republicans are a lot less critical of their congressional representatives, while Democrats are less enthusiastic about theirs.

Last July, just 12% of both Republicans and Democrats gave the Congress positive marks. Now 43% of GOP voters rate Congress' performance as good or excellent, compared to only 16% of Democrats. Among unaffiliated voters, positives are up only slightly from 10% last year to 16% now.

Voters under 40 are much less critical of the new Congress than their elders are. Seventy-four percent (74%) of black voters think Congress is doing a poor job, compared to 43% of white voters and 54% of other minorities. 

Lower-income voters are more critical of Congress than those who earn more.

Forty-five percent (45%) of voters who Strongly Approve of the job President Trump is doing think Congress is doing a good or excellent job. Eighty percent (80%) of those who Strongly Disapprove of the president's job performance rate Congress’s performance as poor. 

At the first of the year, Republicans were more likely to identify with soon-to-be-President Trump than with the GOP Congress.

Voters aren’t sure if the new Congress will be an improvement on the last one, but most want it to cooperate with Trump as much as possible

Prior to Trump’s inauguration, voters were evenly divided over whether or not Trump and the new Republican-controlled Congress can work together to do what’s best for the American people

Most voters still agree the federal government should only do the things Congress and the president agree on.

More voters than ever (74%) agree with Trump's call for term limits for all members of Congress.

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

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