Speaker of the House John Boehner | J. Scott Applewhite~AP Photo
A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll has given Congress another reason to hang their heads in shame: a record-high 83 percent of the American public disapprove of the job they are doing. How far the mighty have fallen from September 1998, when 61 percent of the public approved of Congress.
Contempt for Congress has grown to such a degree that 57 percent would vote to replace every single member of Congress, including their own representative. It’s a sharp departure from conventional wisdom (supported by polling data) that most people find everyone ELSE’S representative to be the problem.
While it’s clear that most people aren’t satisfied with Congress, opinions on what to do about it are decidedly more split. When asked whether they prefer Congress to be controlled by Democrats or Republicans, responses were split down the middle, 44 percent going for each side. Despite the uncertainty, there is some indication that Republicans shoulder a larger share of the blame: 67 percent of respondents think Congressional Republicans emphasize a partisan approach and 56 percent think they are too inflexible in dealing with President Obama. 59 percent think Republicans talking about border security is just a tactic to block immigration reform.
The numbers don’t fare much better for President Obama. 45 percent approve of his job performance while 50 percent disapprove, his lowest level since November 2011. Likewise, 45 percent approve of his handling of the economy, up from his low of 37 percent in August 2011 but far from his peak of 56 percent in February 2009, just after his initial inauguration. Just 17 percent are optimistic about the president’s second term.
The poll was conducted July 17-21 and surveyed 1,000 adults. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.