Americans Don't Like New Congress Any Better Than The Last One


Since last year, Americans have grown increasingly positive about jobs, the direction of the country and even the president -- but they're not yet willing to extend the same goodwill to Congress.

Just 16 percent of Americans approve of Congress, according to a Gallup poll released Tuesday. That's up from a 9 percent low during the 2013 government shutdown, but virtually unchanged since the end of last year.

"Congress' poor track record notwithstanding, there is reason to believe this Congress will at least be rated more popularly going forward than the last two divided Congresses," Gallup's Andrew Dugan wrote. "Typically, elections that hand control of Congress to one party provide an initial uptick in support for the new Congress."

A new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds that most Americans think Congress is worse than it used to be, with a majority saying it is less civil and more divided than it was a decade ago.

A 52 percent majority of Americans say congressional debates are less civil than they were 10 years ago, and 58 percent say Congress is now more divided along party lines. Americans 45 and older were the most likely to say things had devolved.

Ironically, the woes of Congress are something partisan Americans can agree on: Democrats and Republicans were about equally likely to say Congress is worse today.

But while ratings for Congress remain low, Americans feel at least relatively warmer toward their own representatives. Twenty-six percent of Americans approve of the member representing their district, while another 26 percent disapprove and the remaining 47 percent are neutral or unsure.

Republicans were by far the most satisfied, giving their representatives a net +17 approval rating, compared to a net -8 among independents and a net +3 among Democrats.

Americans historically have been much more positive about their own representatives than about Congress as a whole, although the percentage who said they felt their own member should be re-elected dipped to a near-historic low in 2014.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted Jan. 6-8 among 1,000 U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.

The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov's nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here. More details on the poll's methodology are available here.

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