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Congress ending 2011 with worst approval rating ever

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In his biography of American iconoclast Mark Twain, Albert Bigelow Paine quotes the noted author referring to the U.S. Congress in a less-than-congenial manner: “Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself,” he famously said.

No matter how much times have changed since Twain’s death in 1910, there’s one thing that remains a seeming constant in the U.S.: then and now, we hate our political class. But more than at any point in history, a new Gallup poll out this week shows more Americans today are dissatisfied with Congress than ever before.

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The governing body is now set to end 2011 with the lowest one-time approval rating in its history: 11 percent. Their annual average for 2011 came to a whopping 17 percent, which is also the lowest ever recorded.

Overall, Gallup found that the nation’s 112th Congress had an 86 percent disapproval rating by the end of December, 2011: yet another record-breaking statistic.

Independent voters were the most dissatisfied, Gallup found, holding Congress in such contempt that it earned just 7 percent approval. Republicans and Democrats were both similarly cynical, with just 14 percent of Democrats approving of Congress, and 12 percent of Republicans.

The numbers come at the end of a highly contentious year that saw the government nearly shut down twice when Republicans and Democrats failed to agree on a budget due to squabbles over tax rates for the wealthiest Americans. Most voters want to see top-tier tax rates increase as budgets for things like food stamps and unemployment insurance are cut, but most Republican lawmakers are opposed to that step.

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In a poll released last week, survey group Pew Research Center similarly found that a record percentage of Americans would like to see their own member of Congress lose their next reelection effort.

Two in three voters said that incumbents in general should not be reelected, but when it came specifically to their local representative, just 50 percent said they deserve another term. Overall, 33 percent said they did not.

Among independents, it’s even worse: 43 percent agreed their member should be fired, while just 37 percent said they deserve reelection.

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Fifty-five percent also agreed that “the political system can work fine, it’s the members that are the problem,” while just 32 percent felt like the system had broken down entirely.

Photo: Flickr user weeklydig.


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2012

Here are 7 wild, bizarre and pathetic moments from Trump’s ‘campaign launch’

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On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump held a rally that was billed as the official launch his re-election campaign — though he has never really stopped holding campaign rallies.

As expected, the president ranted, lied, and engaged in the raucous attacks that are central to his connection with Republican voters. Some of it was actually just sad, such as his continued obsession with Hillary Clinton.

Here are seven of the wildest, disturbing and pathetic moments from the rally:

1. He said Democrats "want to destroy our country as we know it."

Trump casually accuses Democrats of "want[ing] to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it." pic.twitter.com/4K79KlbEeR

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2012

British PM candidates clash over Brexit as Boris Johnson skips debate

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Candidates to become Britain's next prime minister clashed over Brexit strategy at their first debate on Sunday but the frontrunner, Boris Johnson, dodged the confrontation.

The 90-minute debate on Channel 4 featured the five remaining candidates and an empty podium for Johnson, the gaffe-prone former foreign secretary and former mayor of London.

In sometimes ill-tempered exchanges, four of the five candidates said they would seek to renegotiate the draft Brexit divorce deal agreed with Brussels even though EU leaders have repeatedly ruled this out.

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2012

Michael Cohen ordered back to Congress on March 6

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President Donald Trump's so-called "fixer" is being asked to return to Congress for more questioning on March 6.

Outside of the closed-door committee hearing Thursday, Cohen said that the House Intelligence Committee is seeking further information, according to Washington Examiner writer Byron York.

Michael Cohen finished closed-door testimony before House Intel Committee, says he's coming back for another session March 6. Again: No reason for secrecy. Transcripts should be released ASAP.

— Byron York (@ByronYork) February 28, 2019

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