Poll: 30 percent of Americans say they approve of the job Congress is doing

The Capitol is seen from the East Front Plaza during sunset on Wednesday, January 5, 2022.
Greg Nash

Only 30 percent of Americans say they approve of the job Congress is doing, according to a new Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey released exclusively to The Hill on Monday. 

Twenty-one percent of respondents said they “somewhat approved” of the job lawmakers on Capitol Hill are doing, while 9 percent said they “strongly approved.” 

Meanwhile, another 60 percent said they disapproved of Congress, including 30 percent who said they “strongly disapproved” and another 30 percent who said they “somewhat disapproved.” Eleven percent of respondents said they were undecided. 

The latest congressional approval rating is on par with a previous low in October of last year, when only 31 percent of respondents said they approved of Congress. Last month, 32 percent of respondents said they approved of the legislative bodies. 

The findings come as Republicans and Democrats are in legislative deadlock on Capitol Hill.

President Biden and his Democratic allies in the Senate have been unable to pass major pieces of his agenda due to opposition from Republicans and some Democrats. Moderate Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) stalled Biden’s sweeping social spending package, known as the Build Back Better Act, late last year when he said he could not support the legislation in its current form. 

And last week, Manchin and fellow moderate Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) voted against a change in rules which would have let Democratic-drafted voting rights legislation bypass the Senate filibuster. 

While Biden and Democrats scored major legislative victories last year with the American Rescue Plan and the bipartisan infrastructure package, congressional Democrats are hoping that the party is able to pass more major pieces of legislation ahead of the midterms.

The same Harvard CAPS-Harris survey found Republican midterm candidates leading Democratic midterm candidates on the generic ballot, with 53 percent of respondents saying they would be more likely to support a GOP candidate and 47 percent saying they would be more likely to support a Democratic candidate. 

The poll also found that the Democratic Party currently has a 40 percent approval rating and a 60 percent disapproval rating, while the GOP has a 48 percent approval rating and a 52 percent disapproval rating. 

“The poll shows building momentum for the Republicans as [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi has an extremely negative image and Democrats are significantly behind the Republicans in favorability and generic ballot,” said Mark Penn, the co-director of the Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey. 

The Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey of 1,815 registered voters was conducted from Jan. 19-20. It is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and the Harris Poll. 

The survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval.  

Tags congressional approval rating Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll Joe Biden Joe Manchin Kyrsten Sinema Mark Penn

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