U.S. approval of Congress has been falling since early 2017 and currently stands at a moribund 13%; the lowest levels since July 2016. In February 2017, just one month after Trump entered the Oval Office, Congressional approval stood at 28%; October’s reading of 13% is just slightly higher than the record low nine percent recorded in 2013.
The data comes from a poll conducted between October 5 and 11. During this period, Congress was consumed with repealing the Affordable Care Act; President Trump was also looking to pass his long-promised tax reform legislation.
Congressional approval may have slipped even further since the Gallup poll was conducted. Since then, Senate Republicans have been trying to draft a bipartisan plan to curb spiking insurance premiums. While momentum is growing, some Republicans are looking for changes that could derail Democratic backing. Then there’s President Trump, who may not even support the bill.
Typically, there is wide political discord when it comes to how Congress is operating, but it appears a growing number of Republicans are becoming disillusioned with Congress. Perhaps not surprisingly, just 14% of Democrats and 10% of independent American voters approve of the job Congress is doing. An almost equally low 18% of Republicans think Congress is doing a good job. Since last month, the number of disillusioned Republicans has held steady while a growing number of Democrats and independent voters have become less optimistic.
This is becoming a broad-based trend. Since February, Republican approval for Congress has crumbled from 50%. Why? Since Trump has become president, very little has actually happened in Washington and virtually none of Trump’s big campaign trail promises have come to fruition.
Since February, American voter confidence in those who identify as Independents has also waned. In February, 25% of independent voters approved of Congress. October’s 10% reading marks a new low for the year. Democrats, on the other hand, remain dissatisfied; the 14% reading in October is just marginally higher than the 2017 low of 10%.
For the most part, American voters do not have a lot of faith in Congress. In fact, the last time Congress received approval from a third of American voters was back in mid-2009, just shortly after Obama became President. That was also the year Democrats took control of the White House and both houses of Congress.
The same thing happened for the Republicans in early in 2017. Their approval rating soared but, as it did in 2009, eventually ebbed away. With the 2018 mid-term elections just around the corner, it is unlikely one party will have control of both houses of Congress; suggesting approval for Congress will fall even further.
“Congress Approval Lowest Since July 2016, at 13%,” Gallup, October 20, 2017.