Photograph by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images.
A new poll out this week suggests that Congress' approval rating continues to inch up from its all-time low four months ago, when a paltry 1 in 10 Americans thought lawmakers were doing a good job.
The new Gallup poll pegs Congress' latest job approval at 17 percent, a slight uptick from May's 15 percent rating, and seven points higher than February's low.
While lawmakers have seen their approval rating climb by 70 percent in a matter of months, let's remember when you're at virtual rock bottom there isn't much room to continue to fall. Seventy-nine percent of respondents said they disapprove of the job Congress is doing, a number that would be staggering if it weren't for the 86 percent of Americans who held that same view earlier this year. As Gallup editor-in-chief Frank Newport put it, "few would argue that it is an optimal state of affairs."
Congress' approval ratings have been in a funk for years now, and June’s results continue the pattern. Numbers first started to really slip in the summer of 2007 when they reached 18 percent, and slumped further the following year to 14 percent. In March 2009, riding the high after President Obama took office, congressional approval climbed all the way to 39 percent, only to plummet back down below 20 percent shortly thereafter. They have hovered in the teens ever since.
Although Obama’s ratings haven’t been exactly rosy of late, the White House is sitting considerably higher than the Hill. In May, Obama’s approval was at 47 percent. The disparity in approval ratings may be precisely why the White House keeps pushing Congress on his economic plans, the Washington Post postulates.
Generally, disapproval of Congress is a bipartisan affair, though Democrats were slightly more forgiving this time around. The Gallup poll found 20 percent of self-identified Democrats approving of the job Congress is currently doing, compared with 17 percent of Republicans and 16 percent of independents who said the same.