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6% Think Congress Is Doing A Good or Excellent Job

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

As Congress heads off on a five-week recess, voters continue to express a very low opinion of the legislators they elect.

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, while 63% rate its performance as poor. (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. Congress' negatives spiked to a high of 75% last November during the disastrous rollout of the new health care law.

Fifty-three percent (53%) think passing good legislation is a more important role for Congress than preventing bad legislation from becoming law. Thirty-eight percent (38%) rate stopping bad legislation as a more important job.

But only nine percent (9%) now think Congress has passed any legislation that will significantly improve life in America. Sixty-nine percent (69%) say it hasn't. Twenty-two percent (22%) are undecided. The majority of voters have felt Congress has not passed any significant legislation since polling began on the question back in 2006.

Seventy-nine percent (79%) of voters feel most members of Congress listen to political party leaders more than the people they represent. Just 11% think he average congressman listens most to his or her constituents.

Most voters (68%) think that, no matter how bad things are, Congress can always find a way to make them worse. Only 17% disagree, but nearly as many (15%) are not sure. 

Like the performance question, voters' views on these other questions have changed little over the past three years.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on July 29-30, 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

Fewer voters than ever (25%) think their local representative deserves reelection. But 70% think most incumbents get reelected anyway because election rules are rigged in their favor.

It probably doesn't help either that 83% don't think most Americans are informed voters.

Men are more critical of the current Congress than women are. Women are more likely to say Congress has passed legislation that has significantly improved life in America.

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

Sixty-seven percent (67%) of Democrats and unaffiliateds by a narrower 50% to 40% margin believe the more important role for Congress is to pass good legislation. Fifty-three percent (53%) of GOP voters think it is more important for Congress to prevent bad laws from being enacted. 

But most voters in all three groups agree most members of Congress listen more to party leaders than their constituents and that Congress can always make a bad situation worse. They all agree, too, that Congress hasn't passed any significant legislation lately.

Still, most voters agree with Republicans in Congress that the president does not have the right to change laws without Congress’ approval.

Republicans have jumped out to a four-point lead over Democrats on the latest Generic Congressional Ballot after trailing for most weeks this year.

Most Republican voters continue to believe that their representatives in Congress have lost touch with the party’s base over the last several years, while most Democrats believe their Congress members have done a good job representing what their party stands for.

Voters trust Republicans on issues regarding the economy, government spending, immigration, national security, the war in Afghanistan, immigration, taxes, job creation, government spending, gun control and issues affecting small businesses. Democrats are trusted more on health care, energy policy, government ethics and corruption, Social Security, education and the environment.

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

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