Who Won The Debate? Not Congress: Disapproval up to 66%

August 08, 2011, 5:00 PM GMT+0

The long debate over raising the debt ceiling produced few winners in public favor; the latest Economist/YouGov Poll finds little change in Presidential approval, and increasing dissatisfaction with Congress.

In fact, Congressional disapproval is up to 66% this week. Only 8% approve, down from 13% only a week ago. And just about matching the low recorded right after the 2010 Congressional election, which changed party control of the House of Representatives.

Americans have held Congress in low esteem for a while. They see little effort at compromise, something — at least this week — most Americans want to see. In fact, in this week’s poll, 62% said they wanted their representative to compromise in order to get things done, the highest figure so far in Economist/YouGov Polls. Most Democrats and Independents favor compromise. While a majority of Republicans (53%) say they want their representative to stick to principles even at the risk of not getting things done, this week 47% of Republicans support compromise. This represents an increase in Republican support for compromise compared to recent weeks. 

But Americans continue to find little compromise in Congress. They see both parties in Congress as spending more time opposing the other party than in offering constructive alternatives, with Republicans more likely to be seen as opposing. And Americans’ views on this are not much different this week than they were before the debt ceiling agreement appeared in reach. 

Opinions of individual Congressional leaders have changed little in the last week. More Americans have unfavorable views of Republican leaders Boehner, McConnell and Cantor and Democratic leaders Pelosi and Reid than have favorable views of each.

As for President Obama, there has been little change in his approval rating for weeks. In this poll, 42% approve, 51% disapprove. 

He still receives strong support from Democrats. 75% of them approve of how he is handling his job. 74% of Democrats say they want him to be the Democratic nominee again in 2012, while 10% favor someone else. 

Full datasets for Economist/YouGov polls can be found here.

Photo source: Press Association

Explore more data & articles