Entries in Approval Rating (9)


Congress' Approval At Record Low; Poll Finds Only bin Laden Less Popular

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- There is no question that Americans are frustrated with their elected officials, but the latest Gallup poll shows that frustration has reached a fever pitch, plummeting Congress to its lowest approval rating in history.

Just 10 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, fewer than at any previous point in Gallup's nearly 40 years of polling.

With an approval rating that low, it's hard to find anything that is actually less popular than Congress.

In the nearly half a century-long history of Gallup polling, the only people or institutions that have been more unpopular than the current Congress are Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and Mark Fuhrman, a detective in the O.J. Simpson murder trial, said Gallup's Editor in Chief Frank Newport.

The poll also found that the public disapproves of Washington's job performance by 86 percent, tying the high set last December.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Congress Hits a New Low in Approval, Poll Finds

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Hammered by bipartisan discontent with its partisan rancor, the U.S. Congress reconvenes on Tuesday with its lowest approval rating on record in polls dating back nearly 40 years -- ideal fodder for President Obama in the election year ahead.

Just 13 percent of Americans in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll approve of the way Congress is handling its job, while 84 percent disapprove -- its worst rating in poll results since 1974.  Moreover, 65 percent disapprove “strongly.”

Congress’ rating is a broad 35 points below Obama’s 48 percent approval, the biggest gap between approval of the president and Congress since 1990.  Obama, though, still has plenty of challenges of his own: In polling since 1940, just four previous presidents have started their re-election year with less than 50 percent approval.  Only one of them won -- Richard Nixon in 1972.

Nonetheless, the squabbling that’s riven Congress the past year gives Obama one clear strategy -- joining in the chorus of criticism of Congress, and the Republicans in Congress in particular.  Their 21 percent approval rating is a point from its record low, set just last month.

The Democrats in Congress, at 33 percent approval, do better than their GOP counterparts, and have gained six points from their low last month.  But they’ve moved in tandem with the Republicans: Both parties in Congress have lost 17 points in approval in the past three years.

Given the partisan and ideological nature of Congress’ wrangling, it’s striking how disapproval of the institution crosses the country’s political landscape.  This poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds that disapproval is equally high -- 84 to 86 percent -- among Democrats, Republicans and independents, and conservatives, moderates and liberals alike.

Indeed it peaks at both ends of the spectrum: Ninety-one percent of conservative Republicans disapprove of Congress, as do 90 percent of liberal Democrats -- one thing, at least, on which they agree.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Approval Rebounds As Congress Tanks

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Aided by comparison to the vastly unpopular Congress, Barack Obama has advanced to a 49 percent job approval rating in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll -- his best showing since spring, and one that, if it holds, that may put his re-election prospects back within reach.

The result continues an improving trend for the president amid some signs of economic gains. And it contrasts with both parties in Congress, embroiled in their latest game of political chicken. A mere 27 percent of Americans now approve of the Democrats in Congress, and just 20 percent approve of the Republicans -- both new lows in ABC/Post polling back to 1994.

Obama’s rating, while still (barely) under 50 percent, is up from his career-low 42 percent in October, and back at the level at which he could run competitively for a second term. George W. Bush had 47 percent approval as close as three months before he won re-election in 2004.

The question in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, is whether Obama’s rating merely reflects blowback against the machinations of Congress. Its latest budget brouhaha put a possible government shutdown back on the table until Saturday, and still threatens extension of the current payroll tax cut. As much as he might like to run against Congress, Obama’s actual opponent -- the eventual GOP nominee -- may be less of an easy mark.

As things stand, Obama’s regained a substantial (now 15-point) advantage over the Republicans in Congress in trust to protect the middle class, 50-35 percent, after seeing his edge on the issue shrink to four points last month. He’s also moved ahead in trust to handle taxes, 46-41 percent, after trailing in October; and runs about evenly in trust to handle the economy and job creation.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Super Fail: What Is More Popular than Congress?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- In what was the icing on Congress’ cake of partisan gridlock, the 12-member, debt-reduction supercommittee announced Monday that it failed to reach a deal to cut $1.2 trillion from the federal deficit in 10 years.

But this super fail might come as no surprise to the more than three-fourths of Americans who already disapprove of the job Congress is doing. With a lowest-in-history nine-percent approval rating, it’s hard to find anything these days that Americans are less supportive of than the U.S. Congress.

“It’s about as low as it gets,” said David Brady, a political science professor at Stanford University. “It’s the lowest I’ve ever seen it and I’ve been studying Congress for 45 years.”

In the nearly half-century-long history of Gallup polling, the only people or institutions that have been more unpopular than the current Congress are Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and Mark Fuhrman, a detective in the O.J. Simpson murder trial, said Gallup Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport.

“I think it is very significant that, in general, approval is so low for Congress,” Newport said. “It’s very, very important because it’s the fundamental nature of our democratic system and when people lose faith in the system, that’s not good at all.”

In polls for the past few months, the public had a higher opinion of everything from celebrity heiress Paris Hilton to going to war with Iran than it did of Congress.

Actor Charlie Sheen was more than twice as popular as Congress in an August Ipsos poll. And the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan received three times as much support as Congress in the latest ABC/Washington Post poll.

Even amid what was arguably the greatest presidential scandal in history, former President Nixon had more support than the current Congress with 24 percent of the public giving him the thumbs-up at the height of the Watergate scandal.

The banking industry also weathered scandal better than this Congress. In the midst of the 2008 banking crisis, 22 percent of respondents in a Gallup poll said they were still confident in U.S. banks.

According to the latest Gallup poll, President Obama’s approval rating is more than four times that of the legislature and America’s least popular governor, Florida’s Rick Scott, has almost triple as much support, according to a May Quinnipiac poll.

Brady said congressional approval generally ranks lower than that of the president or individual lawmakers because Congress is an institution and therefore doesn’t have a “personality” like an individual does.

But even though nine out of 10 voters do not support Congress, Brady said that wave of frustration is unlikely to translate into Americans’ voting their congressman out of office. Most incumbent lawmakers will have to work “extra hard” to win re-election, he said, but if history is any indication, more than 90 percent will win their seat back in 2012.

“What it means is it changes the game,” Brady said. “It could be that that low rating might mean there are 20 or 25 incumbents that don’t get re-elected or who resign, which is not insignificant, especially if you are one of the 25 that looses.”

But as the most recent rumors of congressional failure solidify, even a “supercommittee meltdown” might not drive the few dwindling supporters away from Congress.

“I’m not sure that it can go much lower,” Newport said. “Americans are already so discouraged about Congress that this will serve as another reinforcement of what they already believe.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Americans' Frustration over Economy, Government Remains High YORK) -- Americans are steamed, and the economy’s providing the heat: The ABC News Frustration Index stands at 72 on its scale of 0 to 100, one of its highest readings on record.

The index, based on presidential approval, ratings of the economy, dissatisfaction with the government and anti-incumbent sentiment, matches its level in September 2010, shortly before the Republican Party seized the reins of economic discontent to take control of the House of Representatives and score major inroads in the Senate.

The public has not mellowed since, particularly among those most stressed economically or least enamored with the Obama administration.

The index, drawn from the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, soars to 85 among Americans who say their economic situation has worsened since Barack Obama took office, 83 among those who rate the economy as “poor,” 82 among those most worried about their standard of living and 81 among people who most fear they won’t have adequate resources for retirement.

Politically, it’s 86 among Republicans (their highest in data since June 2010), 78 among conservatives and 78 again among strong supporters of the Tea Party political movement.  It peaks at 87 and 88, respectively, among people who prefer Herman Cain or Mitt Romney to Obama in the 2012 presidential election, versus the mid-50s among Obama supporters.

But frustration isn’t limited to those partisan groups.  The index is 74 among registered voters (another high since June 2010) and independents alike.  It’s even 61 among liberals, up from a cooler 52 in fall 2010, and 56 among Democrats, compared with a recent low of 50 in June.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Summer of Discontent Slams Ratings of Obama, Republicans

The White House/Pete Souza(NEW YORK) -- More than half of Americans now disapprove of President Obama’s job performance, six in 10 rate his work on the economy and job creation negatively, and more than one in three say they’ve become worse off financially under his presidency -- a high in ABC News/Washington Post polls since Ronald Reagan trademarked the question a generation ago.

Those results and others underscore the depths of this summer of economic discontent.  With unemployment stubbornly over 9 percent, 77 percent of Americans say the country is headed seriously off on the wrong track, up 17 points this year to the most since the end of George W. Bush’s presidency.

In a further sign of the deep hazards to Obama, Americans by a 2-1 margin -- 34 percent to 17 percent -- now say his administration’s efforts have done more to harm rather than help the nation’s economy.  The number who say his economic program has improved the economy has plummeted by half since January, and 47 percent say it’s had no effect.

Obama has scheduled a major address on the employment situation Thursday evening before a joint session of Congress.  And he’ll be facing a tough public audience: In this poll, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates, a record 62 percent disapprove of his work on the economy; as many disapprove of his work on job creation specifically; and by a 50 percent to 45 percent, slightly more describe themselves as pessimistic rather than optimistic about employment in the year ahead.

The intensity of the public’s sentiment on these issues is striking.  Nearly half -- 47 percent -- “strongly” disapprove of Obama’s performance on the economy, while just 15 percent strongly approve -- a record low.  It’s about the same on his handling of job creation and the federal budget deficit.  Overall, 38 percent strongly disapprove of his job performance, matching the record.  Twenty-one percent strongly approve.

Yet there’s company in the president’s misery.  Sixty-eight percent disapprove of the way the Republicans in Congress are doing their jobs, a point from the record high in ABC/Post data since 1994, and 15 points more than Obama’s 53 percent disapproval.  Notably, cutting through partisan predispositions, 33 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama and the Republicans in Congress alike.

Moreover, for all of Obama’s weak ratings, he still runs about evenly with the Republicans in Congress in trust to handle the economy, 42 percent vs. 39 percent; job creation, 40-40 percent; and the federal deficit, 39-42 percent.  Meanwhile record numbers, 16 or 17 percent, volunteer that they trust neither Obama nor the GOP to handle any of these.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Approval Hits All-Time Low in Gallup Poll

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama’s approval rating has sunk to 39 percent in the latest Gallup daily tracking poll, the lowest score of his presidency.

The survey, based on a three-day rolling average, also found that a majority of Americans -- 54 percent -- disapprove of Obama’s job handling, a new high.

Battered by several weeks of bad economic news and a bruising debate over the debt ceiling, Obama sets out on an official bus tour through Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois on Monday aimed at selling his plan for economic growth, reclaiming the media spotlight that has been dominated by Republicans, and building support among Midwest voters.

The destinations are no accident: recent state-by-state polling by Gallup found that Obama’s approval ratings in Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois are currently above the national average.

In Minnesota, 52 percent of voters approve of Obama’s job handling, while 49 percent approved in Iowa and 54 percent in Illinois, Gallup found. 

The national average for the first half of 2011 was 47 percent.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bin Laden Death Gives Obama Approval Rating Spike

Pool Photo(WASHINGTON) -- The death of Osama bin Laden has given President Obama's job approval rating a significant boost, but did nothing to temper Americans' concerns about his handling of the economy, a new Washington Post and Pew Research Center poll finds.

Fifty-six percent of Americans now say they approve of Obama's performance in office overall, according to the poll -- nine percentage points higher than an ABC News/Washington Post poll found last month, and the highest rating for Obama since 2009.

But on the economy, Obama's numbers remain low and unchanged -- only 40 percent approve of his economic strategy, the lowest rating of his presidency, according to the Post

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Approval Rating: Boost from Osama Bin Laden Death Likely

Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy(WASHINGTON) -- The death of Osama bin Laden is an enormous and immediate political victory for President Obama, who has faced periodic criticism for his handling of the fight against al Qaeda and struggles to resolve the conflict in Afghanistan.

While the immediate impact on the president's job approval rating is yet to be known, experts say, the killing of bin Laden -- one of candidate Obama's top campaign promises in 2008 -- will likely lead to a boost in his poll numbers and added credibility for Obama's foreign policy message on the campaign trail.

"It gives him a firewall on Afghanistan," said Stephen Hess, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a veteran of several presidential administrations.

To some extent, it "pulls the rug right out from under" the potential Republican presidential candidates who have criticized the president's strategy, Hess said, adding that many in the likely GOP field "are certainly not coming from a very strong position as foreign policy experts themselves."

In the most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, 49 percent of Americans last month said they disapproved of Obama's handling of the situation in Afghanistan -- an all-time low -- up 8 percentage points since the beginning of the year. Those numbers could begin to turn around, at least in the short term.

Immediately after the capture of Saddam Hussein in December 2003, then-President George W. Bush experienced a 10-point surge in U.S. approval of his handling of the war in Iraq, according to many polls. Bush's job approval rating gradually gained 6 points.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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