Nearly Half of Americans Have ‘Very Unfavorable’ View of Congress Ahead of November Elections

By Adam Cassandra | August 9, 2010 | 6:38 PM EDT

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., accompanied by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. speaks to reporters outside the White House in Washington, Thursday, June 10, 2010, after they met with President Barack Obama regarding the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

( – With less than three months until the November midterm election, 72 percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of Congress, with 45 percent having a “very unfavorable” view, according to a recent Rasmussen poll
The national telephone survey of 1,000 adults found that just 23 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of members of Congress, with 72 percent of respondents having an unfavorable view of legislators, according to the poll findings released last week.
Only five percent had a “very favorable” impression of Congress, and almost half, 45 percent, had a “very unfavorable” view, the highest in the very unfavorable category.
Rasmussen Reports periodically conducts the survey asking Americans for their impressions of nine major professions: small businesses owners, people who start their own businesses, pastors and religious leaders, bankers, stockbrokers and financial analysts, lawyers, journalists, CEOs, and members of Congress.
Rasmussen conducted the survey between July 31 and Aug. 1, 2010. Last September, members of Congress surpassed CEOs as the most unfavorable profession.  

In similar surveys conducted in February and June of 2009, corporate CEOs were viewed least favorably by Americans, with members of Congress coming in next to last. Those surveys followed the Wall Street financial crisis and government bailouts for businesses deemed “too big to fail.”
“Since the health care debate began to heat up, members of Congress have fallen behind CEOs,” according to Rasmussen Reports.
CEOs now have a 59 percent unfavorable rating, with only 34 percent of Americans viewing CEOs favorably.
Journalists were the third most unfavorable profession, according to the survey, with 56 percent of Americans viewing reporters unfavorably. The survey found that most Republicans and independents have an unfavorable impression of journalists, while Democrats were evenly divided.
Small business owners and entrepreneurs topped the list as the most favorable professions at 89 percent each, including 61 percent who had a very favorable view of entrepreneurs.
Pastors and religious leaders had the highest, “very favorable” rating at 35 percent, with 74 percent viewing religious leaders as favorable overall. Those numbers are up slightly from the September 2009 survey.
Rounding out the middle rankings of favorable professions were bankers (47 percent), stockbrokers and financial analysts (44 percent), and lawyers (43 percent).
The margin of sampling error was plus or minus three percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.