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Americans Don’t Like Congress, New Poll Says

Americans have no problem expressing their opinions on Congress, the president, and the health of the nation in a poll released Wednesday by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind.

Protester outside the U.S. Capitol
Protester outside the U.S. Capitol (Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images)

Just eight percent of U.S. citizens like the job Congress is doing and barely and the majority (58 percent) feels the country is headed in the wrong direction.

Barely a third give President Barack Obama a positive rating.  A year ago, in December 2012, almost half of the respondents evaluated Obama’s leadership positively, and in April of this year that number remained virtually unchanged at 46 percent.

“The recently proposed bipartisan budget deal was not enough to redeem the president and Congress in the eyes of Americans,” said Krista Jenkins, professor of political science and director of PublicMind. “Neither branch can claim a connection with those they represent, although the abysmal numbers for Congress make the president’s 34 percent job approval look positively cheery.”

When it comes to Congress, dislike of elected officials is seen across-the-board. Democrats (84 percent), Independents (75 percent), and Republicans (84 percent), men (85 percent) and women (80 percent), whites (86 percent) and people of color (73 percent) all agree that disapproval reigns when considering the job performance of Congress.

“Disliking Congress appears to be the one political thing that Americans can agree on right now,” said Jenkins. “The public clearly believes Congress is capable of more. Working together to address problems is seen as a necessary ingredient to fulfilling its institutional role in our democracy.”

The poll of 1,002 Americans aged 18 and older was conducted by telephone with both landline and cell phones from Dec. 9 through Dec. 15, 2013, and has a margin of error of +/ 3.1 percentage points.

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