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Congressional Performance

6% Rate Congress’s Performance as Good or Excellent

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Congress earns its lowest performance ratings in months, while fewer voters than ever think members of Congress actually listen to them.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just six percent (6%) of Likely U.S. Voters think Congress is doing a good or excellent job, its lowest positives since last June. Sixty-three percent (63%) rate Congress' job performance poorly. Still, that's down 12 points from an eight-year high of 75% last November amidst the troubled rollout of the new national health care law. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

The number giving Congress good or excellent marks has been in single digits most months since April 2011. 

The poor ratings could be explained in part by the belief by just seven percent (7%) of voters think that the average congressman listens most to those he or she represents, the lowest level of confidence to date. Eighty-two percent (82%) think the average representative listens most to party leaders in Congress.

More voters than ever (70%) also think that, no matter how bad things are, Congress can always find a way to make them worse. Only 15%, fewer than ever, disagree, but just as many (15%) are not sure.

Only 14% think Congress has passed any legislation that will significantly improve life in America, while 65% say it hasn't. Twenty-one percent (21%) are undecided. The majority of voters have felt Congress has not passed any significant legislation since polling began on the question back in 2006.

Fifty-two percent (52%) think passing good legislation is a more important role for Congress than preventing bad legislation from becoming law. Thirty-nine percent (39%) rate stopping bad legislation as a more important job. That, too, is consistent with voter attitudes for the past couple years.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on April 15-16, 2014 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

Seventy-two percent (72%) of voters say it would be better for the country if most members of the current Congress were defeated this November. Just 11% think most incumbents almost always get reelected because they do a good job representing their constituents. Sixty-six percent (66%) say they get reelected because elections are rigged to benefit them.

Men are more critical of the current Congress than women are, but men are also more likely to believe the average member of Congress listens to the voters he or she represents.

Most voters across all party lines rate Congress poorly, though Democrats are slightly less critical than Republicans and unaffiliated voters are.

Sixty-two percent (62%) of Democrats think it's more important for Congress to pass good legislation than to stop bad laws from being enacted. Republicans and unaffiliated voters are evenly divided on this question.

Voters who are members of a labor union give Congress slightly better ratings than those who are not. Gun owners are more critical of the current Congress than non-gun owners are.

Congress remains the number one political complaint for voters unhappy with the overall direction of the country. 

Just 22% think their representative is the best person for the job, and only 29% believe he or she deserves reelection.

Most Republican voters continue to believe their congressional representatives are out of touch with the party's base, while most Democrats remain happy with the representation they have in Washington, D.C. 

Members of Congress are paid $174,000 per year, and 63% think they are overpaid. 

Only 16% think most members of Congress pay all the taxes they owe.  

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

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