If it's in the News, it's in our Polls. Public opinion polling since 2003.


Congress Still Ranks Low in the Public's Eyes

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Congress never comes close to ranking on Americans’ list of favorites, and this month is no different.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just nine percent (9%) of Likely U.S. Voters think Congress is doing a good or excellent job, unchanged from September, which was the worst positive rating since the arrival of the new Republican-led Congress in January. Fifty-nine percent (59%) now think Congress is doing a poor job, down from September but generally in line with earlier surveys. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

When the new Congress arrived at the start of the year, positive reviews for Congress inched up to double digits 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 dropped into the 50s earlier this year after generally running in the 60s and 70s since mid-2011. 

Interestingly, Republicans are just as critical of Congress as Democrats are.

Part of the problem is that only nine percent (9%) of all voters think the average member of Congress listens to the voters he or she represents the most. Seventy-seven percent (77%) think the average member listens mostly to party leaders in Congress. Just 13% are undecided. This is generally in line with sentiments over the past couple of years.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on November 30-December 1, 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

Fifty percent (50%) of voters still believe it is fair to say that neither party in Congress is the party of the American people

Men give Congress even harsher ratings than women do. Voters over 40 rate Congress worse than younger voters do.

Voters across the political spectrum rate Congress poorly and believe they listen to party leaders over those they represent. 

Blacks have a more positive opinion of Congress compared to whites and other minority voters.

Not surprisingly, those who give Congress positive marks are more likely to believe members of Congress listen to voters than those who rate Congress poorly. But most voters across the board still believe they listen to party leaders most.

Despite the disdain for Congress as a whole, voters are a bit more positive about their local representatives. Still, most believe their own representatives have sold their vote and think congressional elections are rigged to benefit the incumbent.

Negative views of Congress aside, however, most voters continue to feel that the government should only do what the president and Congress agree on. 

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

Please sign up for the Rasmussen Reports daily e-mail update (it’s free) or follow us on Twitter or Facebook. Let us keep you up to date with the latest public opinion news.

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.

Some information, including the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll and commentaries are available for free to the general public. Subscriptions are available for $4.95 a month or 34.95 a year that provide subscribers with exclusive access to more than 20 stories per week on upcoming elections, consumer confidence, and issues that affect us all. For those who are really into the numbers, Platinum Members can review demographic crosstabs and a full history of our data.

To learn more about our methodology, click here.