CommunityElectionsFDL Main Blog

Bipartisan Agreement in Hating Congress

Congress’ job approval is still at an abysmal 12 percent with 82 percent of the country disapproving of its job performance, according to Gallup. While technically this is better than Congress’ all time low of just 10 percent reached back in August, a few points is really just a minor fluctuation.

What I do find interesting is why Congress’ approval rating is so low this year. Mainly it is because all partisan groups now equally disdain the body. Both the Democratic and the Republican base give Congress equal poor job approval numbers. From Gallup:

Congressional Job Approval Ratings, Among Republicans and Democrats

Obviously the state of the economy plays a big role, but who controls Congress is clearly important. Over the past two decades when Republican controlled Congress the Republican base’s opinion of Congress was higher. Similarly, for the brief period of time when Democrats gained full control of Congress, approval from the Democratic base shot up. Now that the two chambers of Congress are evenly divided and often fighting, support for Congress has tanked among all partisan groups.

I think that nicely counters the often stated claim that the American people want divided government. We currently have perfectly divided government, Americans of all strips roundly hate it. Divided government is not making some mythical center happy, it just disappoints everyone. Apparently what is worse than only one side getting their way is nothing getting done at all.

I would say this chart makes a very strong case for why most democracies should adopt a parliamentary system. When elections are actually decisive at least a large part of the electorate tends to be pleased with the resulting government.

Previous post

The Roundup for March 22, 2012

Next post

Judge Presiding Over Court Martial of Bradley Manning Urged to Make Proceedings More Transparent

Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at