Even Republicans don't like Congress anymore
Posted August 3
It's no secret that Congress isn't exactly the most popular institution in American government. But now it's reaching new lows.
Congress sank to a 10% approval rating in a new Quinnipiac University poll released on Thursday, with roughly five in six Americans saying they disapprove of the country's legislative body. This compares to an 18% approval rating in March.
And if you're searching for the main reason behind the drop, look no further than Republican voters.
Back in January and March, more than one in three Republicans said they had positive views of Congress, which is controlled by the GOP in both chambers.
But now, that's plummeted to just 14% of Republican voters who give Congress a thumbs up.
The new numbers come after a high-profile effort to repeal and replace Obamacare barely squeaked through the House and failed in a dramatic late-night vote in the Senate.
Congress's overall 10% approval is the lowest for Congress in Quinnipiac's history of data back to 2003. Using Gallup data beyond that, it's the lowest for Congress in data back to 1974.
(Congress did reach a 9% approval rating in Gallup polling in November 2013 in the wake of a two-week government shutdown.)
And to make matters worse, Republicans were Congress's most supportive group. The low numbers stretch across every demographic division -- only 12% of nonwhites, 12% of people under 35 years old, 11% of men, 10% of people over 65 years old, 9% of women and 9% of whites approve.
Support for Congress among independents has also bottomed out, falling from 18% in January to just 8% now. Democrats have remained essentially stable in the single digits.
The poll does point to some reasons why: Four in five voters say they disapprove of the way the congressional GOP is handling health care -- including three in five Republican voters and three in four whites without a college degree.
Indeed, a whopping 92 percent of Republicans say the GOP should repeal some or all of Obamacare, but the latest attempt to do so went down in flames.
Quinnipiac's poll showed Trump's approval falling to its lowest level yet at 33% - still more than double the number who approve of Congress -- and bolstered by 76% of Republican voters.
Historical trends show that, even though broad majorities disapprove of Congress, more people do tend to support their own individual member of Congress. So the low disapproval numbers do not necessarily translate to any particular outcome at the ballot box. (The most recent Gallup numbers from 2014 show 54% of Americans approved of their own representative in Congress, even though Congress overall had just a 14% approval rating.)
The Quinnipiac University poll of 1,125 registered voters was conducted from July 27 to August 1. It has a margin of error of -3.4 percentage points among all voters and -7.1 points among Republican voters.