Congressional Approval Drops To 5%

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

CBS News – A mere 5 percent of voters think most members of Congress have done a good enough job to deserve re-election, according to a CBS News Poll released Wednesday.

While this number has been low historically, 5 percent is the lowest ever recorded in CBS News polls; nearly nine in 10 say it’s time to give new people a chance.

And voters are only slightly happier with their own congressional representative. Just 29 percent (a record low) think their own House member deserves re-election, and 62 percent think it’s time for someone new. In past midterm election years, more voters have supported their own representative’s re-election.

Conversely, despite registering consistently low numbers, Congress rarely sees mass turnover. Since 1994, the House has seen a re-election rate of at least 90 percent, except in 2010 when there was an 85 percent re-election rate, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Less than six months until this year’s midterm elections, and voters now are not especially enthusiastic about voting; more than four in 10 are less enthusiastic about voting this year compared to previous congressional elections. There is also a partisan enthusiasm gap: 44 percent of Republicans say they are more enthusiastic about voting this year, compared to 36 percent of Democrats. Independents’ level of enthusiasm is similar to that of Democrats.

Looking ahead to November, Republicans and Democrats are nearly even in the generic national vote for the House of Representatives, which asks registered voters whether they would cast their vote for the Democrat or Republican in their own district. National polls, however, are not perfect predictors of congressional elections, since the state of the race in each individual district varies. Still, Republicans currently control the House and a draw on the generic ballot could put them in position to keep control.

Just 26 percent of voters are paying a lot of attention to the 2014 campaign so far. Those who are paying the most attention and are the most enthusiastic are planning to cast their vote for a Republican candidate this fall.


Along with diminished enthusiasm, there is also a sense of disillusionment among the American public. Forty-five percent of Americans — a record high in CBS News polls — now say they agree with the statement “It makes no real difference which party controls Congress, things go on just as they did before.” Still, a slim majority thinks it matters which party controls Congress.

Ratings of Congress remain overwhelmingly negative. Eighty percent of Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing, while just 12 percent approve. At this point in the 2010 election cycle, Congress’ approval rating was 15 percent, not much different than it is today.

The country’s two major political parties are not viewed positively either, although the Democratic Party is viewed more favorably than the Republican Party. Views of the GOP are similar to what they were at this point during the 2010 election campaign (33 percent favorable in 2010 and now), while opinions of the Democratic party are slightly improved (37 percent favorable in 2010, 43 percent now).

Tea Party: Losing Support?

The tea party was an important factor in the 2010 elections, but there’s evidence in the poll that their support may be waning. Today, just 15 percent of Americans say they are supporters of the tea party movement – the lowest since CBS News began asking about the tea party in February 2010.

The movement may be losing some of its core constituency — Republicans. Thirty-two percent of self-identified Republicans now consider themselves supporters of the tea party – down 10 points from February and a decline of 23 points from July 2010, the summer before the Republican Party took control of the House of Representatives. The percentage of Republicans who identify as tea party supporters is now among the lowest in CBS News polls.




Nationally, 23 percent of Republicans say a candidate’s affiliation with the tea party would make them more likely to back that candidate, while 13 percent say it would make them less likely. It wouldn’t make much difference to most Republicans.

Perhaps not surprisingly, conservative Republicans are more inclined to say they would back a candidate who was affiliated with the tea party, but even more than half of that group says it wouldn’t make a difference.

Most Republicans overall (as well as most conservative Republicans) think the tea party has either the right amount of influence on their party (38 percent) or too little influence (29 percent).

Americans overall have held net negative views of the tea party movement for the past few years, and they continue to do so in this poll. Favorable views have dipped since February, and are now similar to what they were just after the government shutdown last fall. Fourteen percent have a favorable view of the tea party while 31 percent have an unfavorable view.

As has been the case, Republicans have a more favorable view of the tea party movement than either Democrats or independents.

Issues and the Parties

Voters choose the economy (39 percent) as the issue that will be most important in deciding their vote for Congress this November, ahead of health care (22 percent), the federal budget deficit (11 percent) and the environment (9 percent). Fewer voters say taxes (7 percent) immigration (6 percent), and foreign policy (3 percent) will be most important.

While the economy is the dominant issue for voters of all political persuasions, 27 percent of Republicans pick health care as the issue that will matter most, compared to 18 percent of Democrats who choose it. The environment and immigration are more important to Democrats than to Republicans.

The poll also asked which party would be more likely to do a better job on these issues. The Republican Party has an advantage on the economy, the deficit, foreign policy and taxes. The Democratic Party leads on health care, and has a large lead on the environment. The parties are even on immigration.




The Democratic Party has the lead on empathy. More see the Democrats as the party that cares about their needs and problems, and will help ensure all Americans have a fair chance to get ahead (46 to 36 percent). The parties are more closely matched on moral values.

Money and Politics

Americans express some cynicism when it comes to participating in the electoral process. Three in four think wealthy Americans have a better chance than others of influencing the election process. Only 23 percent say all Americans have an equal chance to do so.

Perhaps for this reason, most Americans (71 percent) continue to think individual contributions to political campaigns should be limited. Majorities of all partisan stripes would like to see campaign contributions limited, but Democrats and independents are more likely to hold that view than Republicans.

Along the same lines, most Americans (76 percent) say that spending by outside groups on political advertising should be limited.


  • Elaphas

    And what about Obama, the ringleader of these clowns? What ahout the absolute shameful, pathetic job he has done? Oh but no, the liberal messiah has done no wrong. I mean he doesn’t know what’s going on, does he? How can he be blamed? I mean, he didn’t know about the healthcare insurance website debacle but really got mad, then he really got mad about the VA scandal, and got mad about everything else before that, since, and still yet to come. We can’t blame him; he’s trying to fix it all. NO HE IS NOT. HE IS THE REASON for all this debauchery. Scandal after scandal after scandal, this pretender has fooled the masses into believing others are causing the country’s problems. Others are causing the IRS scandal, Benghazi scandal, Fast and Furious scandal, VA scandal, and on and on and on. There are over TWO DOZEN scandals now and counting. People – WAKE UP!!! This crook is the ringleader. He is not holding anyone accountable. He is not concerned about any of this. HE IS INTENTIONALLY TRYING TO DESTROY THIS COUNTRY. Quit believing what the liberal media is telling you. They are his lapdogs, his biggest defenders. They do not care about you. Stop being fooled and WAKE UP BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!!!

    • Peace Maker

      You are wrong, so very wrong.

      You have no facts, you have no statistics. Just wild accusations with no backup. Who is polluting your brain?

      Now, just for experimental sake, turn off your television, as well as your radio, and read the news. The Limbaugh’s, Hannity’s, Fox News are entertainment programming, not factual. for one week get some real unbiased news at actual news sites. Not commentary but real news sites. Try it. Just experience a new way of thinking without being influenced by other people. Thank you and I hope you give it a chance.

      Best Regards.

  • JR

    The Fox News your watching, that is all they talk about is how bad of a job Obama has done and how low his approval ratings are. They forget to mention that congress approval ratings are even lower, a congress that is partly controlled by the republicans. So don’t get mad if some other news network or poll brings this to light. The president whether they are republican or democrat can do so much. He doesn’t have complete control or authority to do just whatever he wants. His hands are often tied if congress does not go along with what he wants. So if you want to blame anybody blame them all. We vote these congressman in office to represent the people and all they do is come out millionaires. There is more millionaires in congress now then any other time in history, a time when every one else is struggling. If you want to blame somebody blame them for taking money and passing laws for big corporations and wealthy to protect their money. Then they want to side tract you from the real issues and say they’re trying to take away your guns and violate your constitutional rights. While they’re doing that they’re stuffing their pockets while your just happy to be carrying around a gun. Give me a break. Now we have this new attorney general who is going to try and pass a stand your ground law and sue the federal government. Yea that will make things better. This poll just shows how dumb people can be sometimes. With an all time low in approval ratings congress still has a 90 percent reelection, and I guarantee you most everybody will vote for their same congressman. Even though we elect these individuals into office to come to some sort of compromise with the other party and they can’t even do that. For Obama care to have been passed the first time it needed some republicans votes, which it got. Then the republicans tried to tie that in with the federal budget that shut down the government for god knows whatever ever reason. I guess to try and make the democrats look bad. That’s the kind of thing that makes congress look bad. If the republicans didn’t want it they should not have voted it in in the first place. Now we have these tea party candidates. That’s a joke, along with Ted Cruz, a Canadian trying to be a Texan. If you want blame anyone for how our government and country has turned out start looking at your self and how you vote. Don’t vote for someone just because their from a certain party and say I’m gun packing, conservative Christian. There is real issues that need to be addressed besides you shoot guns on Saturday and go to church on Sunday.

  • Arnold Fudpucker

    Term limits at the federal level is the answer. All politicians, regardless of party, need to be flushed out periodically in order to keep the stench down.

      • Arnold Fudpucker

        That can be addressed with a few prohibition laws against it. Besides term limits will help curtail lobbyists. Right now the lobbyist know who to go after since they figure the crook will be there a long time. If the faces get changed on a regular basis it will be tougher for the lobbyist to zero in on one of them for any great length of time. In effect we limit the lobbyist by limiting the political puke.

  • Peace Maker

    Just today the news related the Congress voted to continue the War on Terror in Afghanistan. Is that not the most ridiculous thing ever? What could the Congressmen and women be thinking? The longest war in American history? Are defense contractors paying our Congressional employees to keep the war going? I always say ‘follow the money’.

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.