Congressional job approval bounces back to … 20%

posted at 10:12 am on January 12, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Ah, the blessing of low expectations:

Americans’ approval of the job Congress is doing rose in early January to 20%, after falling to a record-low 13% in mid-December and registering 17% in November. Support for Congress had been at or near 20% from about May of last year through October. …

Americans’ 13% approval of Congress last month was recorded shortly after President Obama and congressional Republican leaders came to agreement on a plan to extend tax cuts put in place under George W. Bush, but before Congress passed that plan and several other major bills. The record-low rating was mainly the result of a drop in approval among Democrats, who may have either disagreed with the compromise plan or been unhappy about the enhanced role Republicans were playing in the legislative process.

Republicans’ approval of Congress is up since December, and the 22% currently approving is the highest in nearly two years. Approval also improved among Democrats, from 16% to 24%. Still, Democrats’ approval remains significantly lower than what it was for most of 2010, clearly reflecting those partisans’ diminished approval now that Republicans have majority control of the 112th Congress. Independents’ approval today is similar to December and to their ratings all of last year.

What’s interesting about this is that Democrats and Republicans both have higher approval ratings for Congress after the midterms and even after the GOP takeover in the House.  If that’s because Democrats didn’t like the tax compromise in December, they have an odd way of showing it.  Their approval of Congress now is almost as high as it was in November.

For Republicans, their approval has indeed shot up 15 points, but that still only brings it to 22%.  Obviously, Republican voters are happy to control the House, but they’re withholding their enthusiasm until John Boehner and his caucus shows them something.  After what happened between 2001-6, no one can really blame us, either.   Meanwhile, independents are even more skeptical.  Their approval has not changed outside of the margin of error for an entire year.

Andrew Malcolm can feel the historical ennui enthusiasm:

Of course, Gallup’s finding of approval by only one out of five Americans is still pretty pathetic. Back in 2002 when GOP President George W. Bush became only the second president to increase his party’s congressional membership and control in a first midterm election, fully 55% of Americans approved of the job performance by the Republican Congress.

Democrats took control of both houses in 2007 in the 110th Congress; their job approval that session averaged 23%. In the ensuing 111th Congress, also under Pelosi and Reid, approval averaged 25%.

If the latest approval improvement continued at its impressive new-year rate, Congress would match Obama’s 48-49% job approval by March and be inching up on the 58% approval that Bush enjoyed on his 723d day in office. All that, of course, is silly to even contemplate.

Let’s just say that Boehner was right on Election Night — no one has anything to celebrate yet.  After a decade of broken promises from both parties, voters want to see some promises kept before cheering Congress.

Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air



Trackback URL


“The numbers went up because we kept our promise to extend the Bush tax cuts for everyone.”

-Liar Pelosi

Bishop on January 12, 2011 at 10:14 AM

Ed, speaking of polls, check out the one on raising the Debt Ceiling.

artist on January 12, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Since they really haven’t done anything yet, I will hold off on my judgement.

Badger40 on January 12, 2011 at 10:18 AM

I am happy about one thing that has happened, the estate tax thing.
I guess now the limit on the like 55% tax is 5 million & over, instead of 1 million, + some other things.
I have to tell you that is a relief bcs in agriculture, it is very easy to have stuff worth more than a million.
Our ranch, land equipment & livestock, are worth more than a mil.
But it doesn’t mean you have any money.
Many family farms & ranches have been utterly destroyed by this evil tax.

Badger40 on January 12, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Show me!

jake-the-goose on January 12, 2011 at 10:21 AM

the only way they can go is up.

ted c on January 12, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Congressional job approval bounces back to … 20%

Which means,the American Voters don’t want to see
Liberals,for at least,a 1000′ feet near the House!

canopfor on January 12, 2011 at 10:26 AM

Ed… any thoughts on the new AP and Reuters polls out today which show Obama at 53% and 50% for an approval rating?

Indy82 on January 12, 2011 at 10:29 AM

Well, you new guys don’t suck yet. That’s about all I can come up with at this early date.

search4truth on January 12, 2011 at 10:29 AM

Whereas before I was sure that Congress could suck a watermelon through a carbon nanotube, I now place their suckage at the golf ball/garden hose level.

GnuBreed on January 12, 2011 at 10:44 AM

Slightly OT but geez, between Mr. President wanting to spend more time traveling and starting his campaign early how is going to get anything done over the next two years?

Maybe that’s a good thing.

scalleywag on January 12, 2011 at 11:53 AM

Honeymoon for Congress? They expect a honeymoon? They’ll be lucky if they get the time of day until they show us the beef.


herself on January 13, 2011 at 3:27 AM