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Tuesday, January 05, 2016

What America Thinks: Voters Diss Congress, Obama

As we start a new year, voters aren’t really happy with those who are running the country right now, although political party, not surprisingly, makes a big difference. So what does America think going into Election 2016?

Just nine percent (9%) of all Likely Voters give the current Congress positive ratings for their performance. That figure had trended slightly upwards following the Republican takeover of both the Senate and the House following the 2014 elections, but now it’s back to the levels seen when each political party controlled one chamber. Just 10% think now that Congress is entirely GOP-run, it’s gotten better. Nearly half think it’s worse. Republicans are nearly as unhappy with Congress as Democrats and unaffiliated voters are.

Voters in general are more critical of President Obama, too. His daily job approval ratings continue to run in the mid- to high negative teens, but now 45% rate his leadership as poor. That’s the highest level of criticism in his seven years as president. Just 40% give Obama good or excellent marks for leadership, but he still benefits from a high level of support among voters in his own party.

Party affiliation is critical when we ask voters whether the president and the GOP-led Congress are too confrontational or too cooperative with each other. Most Democrats think Obama’s leadership skills are just right, but few Republicans or unaffiliated voters agree. However, Democrats overwhelmingly believe Congress is too confrontational, a view shared by a plurality of unaffiliateds. GOP voters, on the other hand, are more likely to think Congress is too cooperative with the president.

This helps explain why most Democratic voters are likely to stay the course with Obama’s first Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as their presidential nominee, while Republicans are looking outside the GOP establishment for their candidate.

For Rasmussen Reports, I’m Alex Boyer. Remember, if it’s in the news, it’s in our polls.