Congress’ 14% approval rating

The new CNN poll was conducted yesterday, the day after the debt-ceiling agreement was announced. Did congressional Republicans come out of the process with a policy win? Yes. Did they come with an improved public standing? Not so much.

For example, take Congress’ approval rating.

Do you approve or disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job?

Approve: 14%
Disapprove: 84%

Poking around the internals (pdf) of the poll, there’s a chart showing Congressional approval ratings from previous CNN, Gallup, and USA Today polls, going back more than 30 years. I don’t see any point in which Congress’ approval rating was even close to 14%.

This Congress isn’t just unpopular, it’s breaking new ground in levels of unpopularity.

Now, I suspect some on the right might suggest Congress is widely hated, but there’s no reason to assume that’s a reflection on Republicans or their agenda. It’s a fair point. Democrats are ostensibly in the majority in the Senate, after all.

But the GOP probably shouldn’t push this spin too hard. For example, while President Obama isn’t exactly soaring with a 45% approval rating, his level of public support is currently more than triple that of Congress.

There was also this question:

Next, please tell me whether you approve or disapprove of the way each of the following has handled the negotiations over the debt ceiling in Washington over the past few days.

President Obama
Approve 46%, Disapprove 53%

Congressional Democrats
Approve 35%, Disapprove 63%

Congressional Republicans
Approve 30%, Disapprove 68%

No one’s popular, but the GOP is feeling the brunt of the public backlash.

As for the debt agreement itself, public attitudes are all over the place. On the one hand, most respondents in the CNN poll disapprove of the deal and don’t like the fact that it includes no new revenues. On the other hand, most also believe the deal will help the economy, and believe neither Republicans nor President Obama made too many concessions.