Poll: Disapproval of U.S. Congress hits new high

WASHINGTON Thu Aug 4, 2011 8:14pm EDT

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WASHINGTON Aug 4 (Reuters) - Disapproval of Congress rose to an all-time high after weeks of rancorous partisan battles over raising the U.S. debt ceiling took the country to the brink of default, according a New York Times/CBS News public opinion poll published on Thursday.

A record 82 percent of Americans now say they disapprove of the way Congress is doing its job, compared with 14 percent who approve, the poll found.

The disapproval rating for Congress was the highest in the 34 years the question has been asked in the poll and up from the previous high of 77 percent set in May 2010.

Congress approved a $2.1 trillion deficit-cutting plan just before an Aug 2. deadline for raising the U.S. borrowing authority. The deal to lift the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling was signed into law with just hours to spare before the government was due to run out of money to pay all its bills.

Seventy-two percent of the poll respondents disapproved of the way Republicans in Congress handled the debt ceiling negotiations, while 60 percent disapproved of the way Congressional Democrats acted to resolve the crisis.

Half of those polled said the debt ceiling agreement should have included increased tax revenue, which Republicans fought, as well as spending cuts. Forty-four percent said the agreement should have relied on spending cuts alone.

An overwhelming majority, 82 percent, said the debt ceiling fight was more about gaining political advantage than doing what is best for the country.

More than half said they think Republicans compromised too little while 34 percent said President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress did not compromise enough.

The responders were more evenly divided over how Obama handled the negotiations, with 47 percent disapproving and 46 expressing approval. Obama's overall job approval rating remained steady at 48 percent.

The nationwide telephone poll of 960 adults was conducted Aug. 2 and 3 among 960 adults throughout the United States and has a sampling error or plus or minus three percentage points (here). (Reporting by JoAnne Allen; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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Comments (8)
paulstewart wrote:
What I don’t get is why the ratings can be so low for so long and yet nothing changes. Why are Americans not figuring out you got to kick them out if they don’t work together? And that the person elected to serve them is just as bad as everyone else so turf them out too. They need a lesson taught to them that they are their to do America’s business first, local business second and personal stuff last. America’s politics has been rancid, misguided and down right fraudulent for far too long. It is up to voters to make the point. Clean the House clean the Senate. And don’t put in stupid Tea Party types. Put in smart, devoted Americans of all stripes and colours. And people who are widely read, open minded, sensible, and courageous. Not the losers there now.

Aug 04, 2011 9:14pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
remery wrote:
Lets cut the Lavish medical and retirement benefits of Washington and move forward with the Trials. Politicians represent their parties and not the People.

Aug 04, 2011 9:18pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Tahuaya wrote:
A little over ten years ago, the federal government had surpluses and had begun to pay down the national debt. There was even thought of paying the entire national debt off. Then Bush requested that Congress pass tax cuts and the surpluses went away. We then got into two wars and two recessions and the rest is history. The cuts should never had been passed and now they ought to be allowed to expire so that the country can again get back to paying down its debt.

The country needs to reduce spending but it also needs more revenue and the Republicans only want to cut spending. There isn’t any way to pay off $14 trillon in debt with just cuts in spending. Congress needs to get real about all of this.

Aug 04, 2011 9:53pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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