Only 15 Percent of Republicans Approve of the Job Congress is Doing, Says Gallup

By Matt Cover | April 25, 2011 | 5:52 PM EDT

U.S. Capitol (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

( – Only 15 percent of Republicans approve of the job Congress is doing, according to a recent Gallup survey – down from a February high of 23 percent. The current figure is still several points above the all-time low of 5 percent  (for Republican members of Congress) from August 2010.

All told, Congress’ approval rating -- House and Senate -- fell to 17 percent in April, an all-time low point for this time of year when Congress generally enjoys relatively elevated approval ratings. The House of Representatives is filled with 242 Republicans and 193 Democrats. In the Senate, there are 51 Democrats and 2 Independents who caucus with them, and 47 Republicans.

For the new poll, only 15 percent of Republicans, 15 percent of independents, and 21 percent of Democrats approved of the way Congress is handling its job, driving the rate down slightly from March, when it was at 18 percent.

The low approval rating continues a trend of steadily declining approval ratings for Congress, despite the typical bump in ratings that follows the swearing in of a new Congress in January.

The 17 percent approval rating – from the Apr. 7-11 survey -- is slightly lower than its average 2010 approval rating of 19 percent, reflecting a continuing trend of poor congressional approval ratings.

Republicans’ approval of Congress had rebounded from their 2010 doldrums earlier this year, going from 7 percent in December 2010 to 22 percent in January before falling five points to their current low of 15 percent.

Gallup noted that prospects for Congress’ approval rating improving were low, as the legislature deals with politically unpopular issues, such as the debt ceiling and federal budget, and House Republicans continue to fight among themselves.

“The probability of a significant improvement in congressional approval in the months ahead is not high,” said Gallup.  “Congress is now engaged in a highly contentious battle over the federal budget, with a controversial vote on the federal debt ceiling forthcoming in the next several months.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid with President Barack Obama and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

“The Republican-controlled House often appears to be battling with itself, as conservative newly elected House members hold out for substantial cuts in government spending,” stated the polling firm.

Gallup also noted that the all-time lows in congressional approval tracked with Americans’ low confidence in the economy and low overall satisfaction.

“Additionally, Americans' economic confidence is as low as it has been since last summer, and satisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S. is at 19%,” reported Gallup.