Poll: Congress has 20 per­cent ap­proval rat­ing

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY SALLY PER­SONS

Congress’s brief surge in pop­u­lar­ity didn’t last long.

Af­ter leap­ing to 28 per­cent ap­proval in Fe­bru­ary, Capitol Hill has sunk back to 20 per­cent in the lat­est Gallup sur­vey as vot­ers quickly soured on law­mak­ers.

The big­gest change has been among self-iden­ti­fied Repub­li­cans who gave Congress a 50-per­cent ap­proval rat­ing af­ter Pres­i­dent Trump’s in­au­gu­ra­tion, but have now dropped to 31 per­cent af­ter watch­ing their party bun­gle the Oba­macare re­peal and fail to notch any other big leg­isla­tive wins.

“To see a drop so quickly of [Repub­li­can ap­proval] within their own party is not nor­mal,” said Jeff Hor­witt, se­nior vice pres­i­dent at Hart Re­search, which does polling for Demo­cratic groups as well as me­dia out­lets.

He said if Repub­li­cans can­not fol­low through on a high-pro­file cam­paign prom­ise such as re­peal­ing Oba­macare, they’ll lose even more ground.

Matt Dallek, as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor at Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton Univer­sity’s Grad­u­ate School of Po­lit­i­cal Man­age­ment, said it’s “hard to see how the num­bers go up if Congress is not able to en­act Trump’s agenda.”

He said Democrats will have a built-in neg­a­tive view of the GOP-led Congress, so if Repub­li­cans want to change things they’ll have to con­vince their own vot­ers, and in­de­pen­dents, that they’re mak­ing progress.

Repub­li­can poll­ster Ed Goeas, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Tar­rance Group, said there may not be a rea­son to care about low ap­proval.

“Con­gres­sional ap­proval num­bers have been rock bot­tom for over a decade,” said Mr. Goeas, ad­ding that it hasn’t “seen any move­ment at all.”

Mr. Goeas also said Congress’ num­bers aren’t tied to pass­ing bills, but rather to get­ting big things done. Un­til vot­ers see Wash­ing­ton solv­ing their prob­lems, nei­ther Congress nor the pres­i­dent will see much change in their num­bers.

“Trump and Wash­ing­ton as a whole are in the same po­si­tion,” said Mr. Goeas.

The over­all drop off is steeper than af­ter for­mer Pres­i­dent Obama’s first in­au­gu­ra­tion.

In 2009, Congress had a 19 per­cent ap­proval rat­ing be­fore Mr. Obama was in­au­gu­rated. With his ini­tial 68 per­cent ap­proval rat­ing upon en­ter­ing of­fice, Congress’ num­bers also shot up, reach­ing 39 per­cent within two months.

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