Only 13 percent of Americans approve of Congress

One-third want to see GOP in charge, another third want to see Democrats, final third says it doesn't matter
Associated Press
Aug 6, 2014

JENNIFER AGIESTA, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress has checked out, and the American people have noticed.

Three-quarters of Americans doubt the federal government will address the important problems facing the country this year, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.

All told, only 28 percent of Americans think the nation is heading in the right direction, the lowest level in August of an election year since 2008. It's about on par with 2006, when Democrats took control of the U.S. House amid a backlash to the Iraq war.

This time around, it's not clear whether either party will benefit from the disaffection.

One-third say they hope the Republicans take control of Congress outright this fall — which the GOP can accomplish with a net gain of six seats in the U.S. Senate while holding the U.S. House. The same share want to see Democrats lead Congress — a far less likely possibility.

The final third? They say it just doesn't matter who takes control of Congress.

Overall, just 13 percent of Americans approve of the way Congress overall is handling its job.

There are some signs in the new poll that Republicans have gained ground as the height of the campaign approaches. In May, they trailed Democrats a bit on who ought to control Congress. Partisans are about equally likely to say they'd like to see their own in charge of Congress after November 4, with about three-quarters in each party saying they hope their side winds up in control. Democrats are a bit less apt to say they want their own party to win than they were in May, 74 percent in the new poll compared with 80 percent then.

And the GOP now holds narrow advantages over Democrats on handling an array of top issues, including the economy, immigration and the federal budget.

But neither party is trusted much to manage the federal government, with 27 percent having faith in the GOP to 24 percent in Democrats. More people, 31 percent, say they trust neither party to run the federal government.

Fewer people have confidence in the federal government's ability to make progress on the important problems and issues facing the country in 2014 than at the start of the year, with 74 percent saying they have little or no confidence. That's a slight change from the 70 percent who said so in a December AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey. That shift in confidence stems from a small drop-off among Democrats. While 56 percent lacked confidence in December, 62 percent say the same now.

Overall, few express faith in those currently on Capitol Hill. Just 36 percent say they'd like to see their own member of Congress re-elected, 62 percent say they want someone else to win this November. So far, just three House incumbents have been ousted in primaries this year, and none in the Senate. The Congressional approval rating, 13 percent in the new poll, lags behind President Barack Obama's 40 percent.

Though the economy pushed the nation's "right direction" figures to historic lows in the fall of 2008, that does not seem to be the culprit in the new poll. About a third (35 percent) say the economy is in good shape, about the same as in May, and 58 percent say the economy has stayed about the same in the past month.

The decline in optimism about the country's path in the new poll seems to mirror those in October 2013 and August 2011, when congressional inaction led to the threat of a government shutdown in 2011 and a partial one in 2013. Among Democrats, the share saying the nation is heading in the right direction dipped 11 points since May, to 49 percent, while among independents, it's down slightly to 23 percent. Among Republicans, the 9 percent saying the country is heading the right way is similar to May. The October 2013 and August 2011 declines in right direction were also driven by sharp drops among Democrats and independents.

Among those who say they are highly likely to vote this fall, just 8 percent say they approve of the way Congress is handling its job, though 43 percent would like to see their member of Congress re-elected, a bit higher than among all adults. Republicans have an edge among this group as the party more preferred to control Congress, 43 percent to 34 percent, with 23 percent saying it doesn't matter.

The AP-GfK Poll was conducted July 24-28, 2014, using KnowledgePanel, GfK's probability-based online panel designed to be representative of the U.S. population. It involved online interviews with 1,044 adults and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points for all respondents. It is larger for subgroups.

Respondents were first selected randomly using phone or mail survey methods and were later interviewed online. People selected for KnowledgePanel who didn't otherwise have access to the Internet were provided with the ability to access the Internet at no cost to them.

 

Comments

Donegan

Quit re-electing the same two parties who have created these messes expecting them to fix them you will only get greater messes to deal with down the road.
Those who put their party before their country are a major factor in this countries decline.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

May I offer two suggestions to help address this?

= = =

An Amendment to Establish Term Limits for Members of Congress

SECTION 1: No person may serve more than twelve years as a member of Congress, whether such service is exclusively in the House or the Senate or combined in both Houses.

SECTION 2: Upon ratification of this Article, any incumbent member of Congress whose term exceeds the twelve-year limit shall complete the current term, but thereafter shall be ineligible for further service as a member of Congress.

An Amendment to Restore the Senate

SECTION 1: The Seventeenth Amendment is hereby repealed. All Senators shall be chosen by their state legislatures as prescribed by Article 1.

SECTION 2: This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as a part of the Constitution.

SECTION 3: When vacancies occur in the representation of any State in the Senate for more than ninety days the governor of the State shall appoint an individual to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the term.

SECTION 4: A Senator may be removed from office by a two-thirds vote of the state legislature.

= = =

Congressional Incumbency Rates: https://www.opensecrets.org/bigp...

Check that out if you want to see one source of the problems we as a constituency face with a bitter, rancorous Congress that can't move past parties.

Check out the tenure of the Congress for additional support: http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/07/po...

These are the reasons why we face many of the problems we do. It would be nice if Congress could take care of itself, however it can't seem to do so. So that always leaves...

Article V

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.

http://conventionofstates.com/

It's up to us to do what is necessary because Congress cannot. This isn't an anti-American, rabble-rousing plea. This isn't an unreasonable call for a utopia that will never come. It is a realization that you and I each, cumulatively, are empowered to do something about the problems that face us. It's time to do so now because who else will? When?

In the campaign slogan of our current President taken from the pages of Alice Walker's book "We are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For".

ladydye_5

I can't believe the percentage is as high as that! LOL

Wjones44

Hey Westerhold: Are you going to run a story on the Border Patrol Agent who was recently murdered by two ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS in front of his children, his wife, and his parents?

sugar

That's the headline? Ha! Read the entire poll.

grumpy

That people don't like Congress is the only thing that the headline can be about... the rest would reflect badly on the current administration... and we can't have that. The Congress has had ratings between 10% and 15 % for years, but that is the only thing they can use for the headline...

knowitall

We definitely need a change. Let's try a democratic congress, republican senate and republican president. Switcharoo!

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

With due respect, knowitall, change would be more like the House represents the people instead of whichever party has 51%+, a Senate that is made of representatives of the States and not whichever party has 51%+, and a President who does his job as an Executor of the law instead of partisan law-tweaker who browbeats corporations and opponents. In my opinion, of course.

deertracker

Hey HZ! I am curious to know your opinion about these large corps. moving over seas, relinquishing their U.S. citizenship to avoid taxes but still want all the benefits of being an American corp.

The Big Dog's back

hz has the corps warming up a seat for him. ROFLMAO!

Donegan

Weird how the morons on the left approved of congress when it was filled with those on the left, Can we all say "Hypocrisy" together?

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Do you know something I don't? I mean if you know I'm getting a job at some major firm that's great news! Especially for you since I'd be one of those rare "caring corporatists" that puts public outreach and community interaction above squeezing every dime out of things.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

With the United States increasingly becoming less and less competitive in the world (http://youtu.be/bMwF_Si7T4I), it doesn't surprise me this is happening. Our current President isn't exactly promoting our companies and rather enjoys browbeating them. Our Congress, even with a stereotypically pro-corp Republican majority in the House are happy to fill each of their hands with wishes and excrement and fling both at each other - splattering us in the process like front-row Gallagher attendees.

So, companies are taking action where these clowns aren't. Who in Congress is calling for reform to attract companies back? Nobody, or at least nobody with any passion nor the ability to communicate just how it can be done. Look at Big Dog, he wants to tax them MORE!

If you want to cast blame you can look no further than D.C. and the two parties who care more about themselves than us as individuals and corporations. It's just taken for granted that in the increasingly-digital and mobile day and age that people just want to stay here because we're here.

Before I propose a solution, why don't we go back to the law which is causing this to happen (whether or not you consider it a problem). The Tax Reform Act of 1986 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax...). This bill enjoyed bipartisan sponsorship let alone votes. While I was only 5 at the time, in the research I did it appears that the 99th Congress was Democratically-led in the House under Tip O'Neil. As we all know tax bills originate in the House. From there it went to the Republican-majority Senate where it was then passed to President Reagan to sign.

It appears that at 882 pages (I'm sure that everyone read every single word just like other omnibus and health care laws about three times that size) this massive tax bill either had things not considered put/snuck inside, or it was a case of good intentions in a bill of goods sold to the public only to have massive ramifications on the back end. Other parallels come to mind and there are many, non-partisan ways to address those.

I'd suggest the Fair Tax. Why?

Because the FairTax is automatically border adjustable, the 17 percent competitive advantage, on average, of foreign producers is eliminated, immediately boosting U.S. competitiveness overseas. American companies doing business internationally are able to sell their goods at lower prices but at similar margins, and this brings jobs to America.

In addition, U.S. companies with investments or plants abroad bring home overseas profits without the penalty of paying income taxes, thus resulting in more U.S. capital investment.

And at last, imports and domestic production are on a level playing field. Exported goods are not subject to the Fair Tax, since they are not consumed in the U.S.; but imported goods sold in the U.S. are subject to the Fair Tax because these products are consumed domestically.

http://fairtax.org/faqs/

I'll be happy to discuss this more in length with you if you are ready for a truly progressive and modern tax approach! I'll also go more into the other topics above such as Congressional term limits, etc.

deertracker

Your opinion HZ!?? Can I get that? Do you think it is right for these corps. to do this? I know all about tax rates and all that but what about relinquishing their citizenship? Seems un-American to me.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Communists seemed un-American. $17,000,000,000,000 in national debt seems un-American. Bank abuse of customers on its own or driven by law seems un-American. Sending our military to every conflict across the globe seems un-American.

What is "American"? Fords, aircraft carriers, and stuff like this (http://imgur.com/gallery/pKPrRN5)?

AMERICAN law doesn't forbid such things from being done. The AMERICAN Congress and the President don't seem to be interested in helping AMERICA be competitive with the rest of the world. Our AMERICAN President, who does as much as he thinks he can within what he thinks is the law, is calling out companies for doing actually legal things within the boundaries they can?

It's a Munchkin calling out a Munchkin. Both the President and these companies are guilty of the Munchkin Fallacy which states simply, "I can because the rules don't say I can't."

More accurately, one commits the Munchkin Fallacy when you interpret a rule based on something that is not said (or the fact that it is not said), and claiming it to be RAW (rules as written).

You want my opinion? I don't like it but not for the 'MURRICA reasons you seem to invoke. I don't like it because it is indicative of deeper problems in our government and a blatant example of hypocrisy. I'm not content to stop at a symptom when I can go for the disease itself.

EDIT: Sorry if I seem snarky but this stuff really gets to me. Not you personally, deer, but the topic/argument of everyone wetting their pants over this when it isn't even what the true "problem" is as well as presuming what is "American" and what isn't.

The Big Dog's back

Oh, put me in coach, I'm ready to play today
Put me in coach, I'm ready to play today
Look at me, I can be a 1% er.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Yes you can, I'm glad you realize that. Seems you've done a nice 180. Congrats! Or...was this purposely supposed to have nothing to do with what I was answering deer about and meant to be clownish distraction from the logic, citation, and overall presentation I put effort into making?

*honk-honk*

The Big Dog's back

hz is still getting ready to occupy that seat that the 1% is warming up for him.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Which 1% would that be and a seat where? The way you are talking is like you are somehow jealous of something that isn't even happening, while subtly broadcasting to other people that they should never hope to aspire to be more than what YOU think they should be. "That's very decent of you" is what I'd say if it weren't so petty and destructive. Yet you call me the child? Sheesh.

How about actually trying to encourage people for a change? To help individuals flourish and better themselves? To become educated and functional in today's world? Can you do that?

There you go again

Obama loves the division he has created between Dems and Repubs. It means he "has to issue Executive Orders". I mean we have a President who spews hatred between the two....then "wants" them to work together to pass laws. Pretty sly tactic there, Mr. President.

deertracker

How can you blame this on the President when at the same time he was celebrating his win the Cons were secretly meeting to make sure he was unsuccessful? They have been his nemesis before he slept one night in the White House. How many times is he suppose to turn the other cheek?

Donegan

How long do you plan on blaming Bush? Funny how that works. You blame one president for 6 years when Bush had a Dem congress for the last 2 years of his term when SHTF, But heaven help poor Obama who fails where Bush succeeded in his agenda.
Bush=idiot who bested the dem congress to ruin the nation
Obama= genius who's every idea gets spoiled by those nasty Repubs.
See how stupid that argument is? Probably not, You libs aren't all that bright.

deertracker

I have never credited Bush for anything he did not deserve credit for. You are just making noise and in the process you proved Dems worked with Bush. Thanks! Please explain exactly where Bush succeeded.

The Big Dog's back

Good thing bush had that Dem congress, otherwise we would have had the 2nd Great Depression instead of the Great Recession which had already been set in motion by the Repubs. We still be in a Depression if Repubs were in charge.

The Big Dog's back

The President spews hatred?

"Our goal is to make Obama a 1 term President". "You lie." "He wasn't born here." "He's a Muslim." "He's a Socialist." He's a Communist." "He hates America". "Sue him." "Impeach him."

Now who has created division? Who spews hatred? Oh yeah, when all else fails, blame it on the Black man.

freespeech1

He did lie!! Can you keep your doctor? NO! Can you keep your plan? NO! Can illegals get obamacare? YES!! So yeah he lied!!! And again your race baiting is ridiculous always crying blame the black man. Hes half white you tool.

freespeech1

Hmmm his own words, but such a grey area.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/bl...

deertracker

Do you read your own articles you want others to? You can keep your doctor, not the crap plan you were sold. Born here = citizen. Try this!

http://www.weeklystandard.com/bl...

Contango

What's so surprising?

The Founders designed our govt. to make socio-economic changes slowly.

Plus, systemically, bureaucracies are notoriously inefficient.

If one wants fast ubiquitous action that effects many aspects of your life, move to a country with a dictatorship or an authoritarian regime, e.g. N. Korea, Venezuela, Argentina, Cuba, et. al.

But the chances are that the Americans who are clamoring for rapid changes won't like it.

As one of my neighbors said:

God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, not a committee.

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