Most Hated Congress Ever

Disapproval rating is at an all-time high

This article is from the archive of our partner .

Lurking under our nation's beautiful Capitol dome is the most-hated Congress in history, with a 83 percent disapproval rating, according to Gallup's Jeffrey M. Jones. Only 13 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, the worst rating since Gallup began tracking the sentiment in 1974 and one percentage point worse than the previous low in July 2008 when gas prices were at record levels.

"In the past month, many of the supporters it had, largely Democrats, appear to have become frustrated with its work," Jones says. "That frustration seems to be taken out more on the Democratic congressional majority than on the president, whose approval rating has been relatively stable between 44% and 46% since the election among all Americans, and between 78% and 81% among Democrats."

Still, hating Congress is the norm in U.S. Notably, it appears the only time more people have approved of Congress than disapproved was in about 1986, which happens to be the year they overhauled the tax code. President Obama is currently contemplating his own such overhaul. Here are the reactions to the poll:

  • Republicans Shouldn't Get Too Excited, Joe Gandelman warns at The Moderate Voice. This isn't a sign of a mandate, according to at least one poll. "It in fact suggests that those who think that the 2010 elections were a mandate for the Republican party and conservativism are JUST as ideologically blinded as liberal Demcrats who continue to suggest that 2008 was a mandate for liberalism and the Democratic party itself, rather than the public firing the Republicans for perceived lousy leadership."
  • Drop Due Mostly to Disaffected Democrats, Hot Air's Ed Morrissey notes.
The question is what has triggered the plunge.  Was it Democratic anger at Barack Obama’s tax deal with the GOP, or anger over Democratic obstruction of it?  It could also be the failure of Harry Reid to get the last-minute push on Democratic agenda items, or the attempt to push a lot of wish list items instead of dealing rationally with the budget and tax rates.  The drop could also have resulted from the odd internecine battle between Democrats in Congress and the White House... One thing is certain: no one will be sorry to see this Congress finally grind to a halt.
  • People Always Hate Congress, Doug Mataconis writes at Outside the Beltway. "In some sense, of course, none of this is new. ... It was, after all, Mark Twain who said that 'It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.' ... Also, the idea that Americans hate Congress but love their Congressman has been a truism for decades, and the reason why, even in a 'change' year like 2010, 87% of House incumbents and 84% of Senate incumbents were re-elected."
  • But Not This MuchJames Joyner adds, also at Outside the Beltway. "There’s virtually no statement so absurd or outrageous you couldn’t get 13% of Americans to agree on. For example, far more than 13% believe President Obama is a secret Muslim.  So, this is getting pretty close to as low as Congress could conceivably poll."
  • It's the Spending  "One would have thought that after getting 'shellacked' at the polls this November, Congress would have gotten the message," writes The Heritage Foundation's Conn Carroll. "No luck. Majority Leader Harry Reid introduced a $1.27 trillion 1,924 page omnibus spending bill last night that contains 6,000 earmarks worth $8 billion. Oh, and all this has to be approved by midnight Saturday or the government shuts down."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.