Congressional approval rating reaches new low

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Though the country remains evenly split on its assessment of the President, there is little disagreement with regard to the Congress.  Just 9% of Americans approve of the way Congress is handling its job, according to a recent poll by CBS News and The New York Times, an historic low demonstrating deep discontent with the Democratic and Republican parties.

Asked whether they approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President, respondents to the poll were evenly split overall, with 46% saying they approve and 46% saying they disapprove.  Predictably, the responses of Democrats and Republicans were basically mirror images of one another. 85% of Republicans disapproved of the President’s job performance, while 78% of Democrats approved.

Independents, on the other hand, more closely approximated the breakdown of the sample as a whole, though they leaned toward disapproval. 42% of Indepenents stated they approve of the job the President is doing, while 47% disapproved.

Querying respondents as to whether they approve or disapprove of the way the Congress is handling its job, the survey found a broad nonpartisan consensus that something is deeply wrong with the federal legislature, in which the House is controlled by Republicans and the Senate by Democrats. Overall, 84% of respondents said they disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job, compared to just 9% who said they approve.  This breakdown was consistent across partisan lines: 83% of Republicans, 83% of Democrats and 85% of Independents voiced disapproval of Congress.

Few Americans have any trust in the federal government to do the right thing on any given matter.  Only 10% of those surveyed said they trust the government in Washington DC to do what is right all or most of the time, while 89% stated that the federal government can be trusted to do what is right only sometimes or never.

Independents were most likely to never trust the government in Washington DC to do the right thing.  17% of Independents said the federal government can never be trusted to do what is right, compared to 14% of Republicans and 6% of Democrats.

Independents were, understandably, most likely to be skeptical of both Republican and Democratic party economic proposals.  60% of Independents said they do not think the President has a clear plan to create jobs, and 75% said the same of Republicans in Congress.  Like the majority of Americans, Independent respondents to the survey supported investments in infrastructure, and tax cuts and reduced regulations for small businesses.  They opposed tax cuts for large corporations.

The poll of 1650 adults nationwide was conducted by telephone from October 19-24, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3%.

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