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70% Give Congress Poor Rating

It’s hard to believe it could get any worse, but negative reviews for Congress are at their highest level in nearly two years.

Nine percent (9%) of Likely Voters rate the way Congress is doing its job as good or excellent, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Seventy percent (70%) of voters say Congress is doing a poor job. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

While positive ratings for Congress have been in the single-digits for most of the year, the negative finding is up eight points from last month and is the highest measured since January 2012.

While 74% of Democrats and voters not affiliated with either major political party say Congress is doing a poor job, 62% of Republicans agree. Fifteen percent (15%) of Republicans now give the legislature positive ratings, up from seven percent (7%) a month ago.

Politically liberal voters are more critical of Congress than conservative voters are.

As the federal government shutdown enters its fourth day, (50%) of all voters view the agenda of Republicans in Congress as extreme, while 46% say the same of the Democratic congressional agenda. Thirty-three percent (33%) identify the GOP agenda as mainstream. Forty-one percent (41%) see the Democratic congressional agenda as mainstream.

Fifty-five percent (55%) of voters believe passing good legislation is a more important role for Congress than preventing bad legislation from becoming law. This finding has ranged from 47% to 61% since 2010. Thirty-seven percent (37%) say preventing bad legislation is Congress’ most important role, also generally in line with past surveying. 

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The national survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on October 2-3, 2013 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 13% of voters say Congress has passed legislation in the past year that will significantly improve life in America, while 66% say Congress has passed no such legislation. Another 21% are undecided. These findings, too, are similar to past surveys.

In fact, 65% of voters agree that no matter how bad things are, Congress can always make them worse. Twenty percent (20%) disagree with that sentiment, while 15% are undecided. Voters have felt this way for several years.

Just 12% believe the average congressman listens to the voters he or she represents the most. Three out of four (74%) believe the average legislator listens most to party leaders in Congress. Still, that’s the lowest level measured since February 2011.

Only 23% think their representative in Congress is the best possible person for the job, and nearly twice as many (44%) disagree. Thirty-three percent (33%) believe their local representative deserves reelection. But 38% do not think their member of Congress deserves another term.

Sixty-five percent (65%) of Republican voters think Republicans in Congress have lost touch with GOP voters from throughout the nation over the last several years.  Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Democrats, on the other hand, believe Democrats in Congress have done a good job of representing their party's values.

There is little differences in opinion between government employees and private sector workers when it comes to criticism of Congress.

Black voters are more likely than whites and other minority voters to believe Congress has passed legislation to improve life in America. Black voters also feel more strongly that Congress’ more important role is passing good legislation rather than preventing bad legislation.

Democrats have extended their lead over Republicans on the Generic Congressional Ballot.

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

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The national survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on October 2-3, 2013 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.

Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information.

We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence, we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a daily update newsletter and various media outlets across the country.

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To learn more about our methodology, click here.