More Than Half The Country Thinks Congress Accomplished Less Than Usual This Year

December 26, 2011, 6:00 PM GMT+0

Congressional approval ratings have been in single digits for several months, several times recording an all-time low of 7% approval. While in this week’s Economist/YouGov Poll (Week of 12/17/2011) Congress may appear to have gained some (with an approval rating that has crept up to 11%), Americans still don’t like what they see in Washington.

Two out of three Americans disapprove of Congress’s performance. No party group or region is happy. And when asked to evaluate this Congress’s accomplishments against those of previous Congresses, more than half the country thinks this legislature is doing even less than usual.

Just 4% say this Congress has accomplished more than usual.

Partisan bickering may have been particularly intense this year, and even at the end of the term, Congress is having a difficult time determining how exactly to extend the payroll tax cut that, unless legislation is passed, will expire January 1. 

But the negative assessment is generally bi-partisan. About half of Republicans and two out of three Democrats say this Congress has done less than usual. 

One indication of why most Americans dislike Congress and what it has done this year is that liberals and conservatives each think that Congress’s legislation has come at their ideological expense. 53% of self-identified liberals think Congress has passed mostly conservative legislation; 41% of conservatives say Congress has passed mostly liberal laws. 

Photo source: Press Association

Economist/YouGov poll archives can found here.

Explore more data & articles