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Voters Don’t Think Congress Will Fix the Big Problems

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Most voters continue to believe the Republican-led Congress is doing a poor job, perhaps in part because they lack faith that lawmakers will do anything about the biggest issues facing the country.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that just 15% of Likely U.S. Voters now think Congress is doing a good or excellent job. That’s up just slightly from 13% in November and ties July’s finding, but is significantly lower than the 11-year high of 25% reached a year ago. Fifty-four percent (54%) now think Congress is doing a poor job, virtually unchanged from the previous survey. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

By comparison, under the Obama administration, Congress received positive marks ranging from six percent (6%) to 16% for their performance. In that same period, the percentage of voters who gave the legislators poor marks ran from a low of 52% in February 2015 to a high of 75% in November 2013.

But just 31% think it’s even somewhat likely that Congress will seriously address the most important problems facing our nation, including just six percent (6%) who say it’s Very Likely. Most voters (68%) do not think it‘s likely Congress will address the big problems, including 28% who say it’s Not At All Likely.

From late 2006 and 2010, when Rasmussen Reports last regularly asked this question, between 33% and 62% of voters had confidence that Congress would seriously address the most important problems in the country. When it was last asked in June 2010, 42% said it was likely.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on February 13-14, 2018 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

With midterms on the horizon, voters now seem to want a shift in Congressional leadership. If the elections for Congress were held today, 45% of voters would vote for the Democratic candidate, while 37% would vote for the Republican.

Twenty-three percent (23%) of Republicans think Congress is doing a good or excellent job, a view shared by just nine percent (9%) of Democrats and 14% of voters not affiliated with either major political party. Most Democrats (62%) and unaffiliateds (58%) think Congress is doing a poor job. Just 42% of GOP voters agree.

Republicans are much more convinced than Democrats and unaffiliateds that Congress will seriously address the most important problems facing our nation, though more than half of GOP voters still think it’s unlikely.

Twenty-two percent (22%) of voters who Strongly Approve of President Trump think his Republican-led Congress is doing a good or excellent job, a view shared by just four percent (4%) who Strongly Disapprove of the president.

Eighty-eight percent (88%) who Strongly Disapprove of Trump think it’s unlikely Congress will address the major issues in the nation, while those who Strongly Approve are evenly divided.

The more likely voters are to think Congress will address the big problems, the higher marks they give Congress overall.

Congress just passed a bipartisan budget with billions of dollars in new defense and domestic spending. The president has proposed a new budget that would spend even more, projecting deficits long into the future. Most voters think a balanced budget is a better way to go economically, but they don’t foresee that happening anytime soon.

The federal government was shut down for five-and-a-half hours earlier this month before Congress reached the budget deal loaded with additional spending, but voters would rather see a shutdown until Congress can cut spending.

Seventy-one percent (71%) believe that the opposition between Trump and Democrats in Congress over most major issues is driven mostly by partisan politics. At the same time, just over half (51%) still say it is better for the country if Congress works with Trump most of the time.

Forty-three percent (43%) of all voters think it’s at least somewhat likely that Democrats in Congress will be able to stop or significantly change legislation sought by the president. But Democrats (14%) are only slightly more likely than Republicans (8%) and unaffiliated voters (8%) to think Democrats in Congress are Very Likely to succeed in blocking or significantly changing legislation sought by Trump.

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

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