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Congressional Performance

Better for Congress to Block Bad Laws or Pass Good New Ones?

Monday, June 08, 2015

Congress’ performance ratings remain down in the dumps, but voters are slightly more likely these days to think Congress should be a little tougher on new legislation.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 12% of Likely U.S. Voters rate the job Congress does as good or excellent. That’s little changed from last month but up slightly from eight percent (8%) a year ago. Most voters (58%) continue to think Congress is doing a poor job. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Positive reviews for Congress inched up to double digits in January 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 has generally run in the 60s and 70s since mid-2011.

Republicans are slightly less critical since the GOP took control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives in January. Forty-seven percent (47%) of Republicans still think Congress is doing a poor job, but that compares to 65% of Democrats and 62% of voters not affiliated with either major party.

Just over half (51%) of all voters still believe it is more important for Congress to pass good legislation as opposed to preventing bad legislation from becoming law, but that’s down six points from January and is the lowest level of support in nearly two years. Forty-one percent (41%) disagree and think it’s more important for Congress to stop bad laws from being enacted. That’s up from 37% at the beginning of the year and only the second time this finding has crept into the 40s since early 2012.

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The national survey of 952 Likely Voters was conducted on June 4 and 7, 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.

A federal court is currently wrestling with the first-ever lawsuit by the full House of Representatives against a sitting president that asks whether President Obama can change Obamacare without Congress’ approval.

Men and those 40 and over are more critical of Congress’ performance than women and younger voters are.

Blacks and other minority voters give Congress better marks than whites do.

Sixty-one percent (61%) of Democrats feel it is more important for Congress to pass good legislation. Republicans by a 50% to 45% margin think it’s more important to stop bad legislation instead. Unaffiliated voters are almost evenly divided.

Voters who believe it is important to pass good legislation are more critical of the current Congress than are those who put the emphasis on stopping bad laws.

Even though they have been reelected several times, the top congressional leaders - John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell - remain an unpopular choice among voters nationwide.

Only 24% of GOP voters believe Republicans in Congress have done a good job representing their party’s values. By comparison, 46% of Democrats say their members of Congress have done a good job representing Democratic values over the past several years.

Voters agree that the president and the Republican-led Congress are problems for the presidential candidates of their respective political parties.

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

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