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Voters Lack Faith in Congress

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

After reaching its highest level in a decade, voter confidence in members of Congress is back down. 

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 15% of Likely U.S. Voters rate the way Congress is doing its job as good or excellent. Fifty-six percent (56%) feel Congress is doing a poor job. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

In February, 25% of voters gave Congress positive marks, the highest level of optimism measured since November 2006. Prior to the previous survey, that figure had ranged from five percent (5%) to 23%. The percentage of voters who gave the legislators poor marks has ranged from 35% to 75% since 2006.

In the latest survey, a majority of voters (54%) think passing good legislation is a more important role for Congress than preventing bad legislation from becoming law. Thirty-nine percent (39%) feel the opposite is true.

These findings have generally remained consistent since October 2012. For a good chunk of 2011, however, voters were more evenly divided on this question.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on June 28-29, 2017 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

Twenty-two percent (22%) of Republicans give Congress a good or excellent rating, compared to 11% of Democrats and 12% of voters not affiliated with either major political party.

Younger voters view Congress more favorably than their elders.

Twenty-six percent (26%) of voters who Strongly Approve of the job President Donald Trump is doing give Congress positive marks. Only three percent (3%) of voters who Strongly Disapprove of Trump’s job performance feel the same.

A majority of Republicans (62%) and unaffiliated voters (53%) think it’s more important for Congress to pass good legislation than to prevent bad legislation from becoming law. Democrats are evenly divided on this question, with 48% saying it’s more important for them to pass good legislation and 45% saying it’s more important for legislators to prevent bad legislation from becoming law.

Some Democrats are saying it’s time for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to go, arguing that losses in this year’s special congressional elections show that their party needs new, younger leadership. Most Democrats agree.

But most of all voters have unfavorable opinions of the top Congressional leaders in both parties.

Just 11% of Democrats said in late April that their party’s efforts to oppose President Trump during his first 100 days in office were successful.

Voters still think members of Congress aren’t above selling their vote, although they’re less likely to believe that their own local representative has.

Voters are not likely to say the average congressional representative shares their views. They’re not even convinced their own representative does.

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

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To learn more about our methodology, click here.