Poll: America’s Confidence in Congress Hits New Low

July 22, 2010

(ChattahBox)—Public confidence in Congress has been declining, since President Obama’s election. Why? Mostly because of the scorched earth policy instituted by Republican lawmakers to block Obama’s progressive agenda, has transformed the Senate into a dysfunctional chamber, with a super-majority needed to pass the simplest of measures. Americans now view our legislative system as mired in gridlock, corrupted by special interests, and they are right. A new Gallup poll provides a breakdown of Americans’ confidence in 16 institutions, including Congress, banks, big business and the military. In a new, historic low, Congress is now dead last—with only 11 percent of the country having confidence in the legislative branch of government.

Congress’ standing was at a 17 percent approval rate in 2009, although still quite low, but just one year later, it has dropped precipitously:

“Gallup’s 2010 Confidence in Institutions poll finds Congress ranking dead last out of the 16 institutions rated this year. Eleven percent of Americans say they have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in Congress, down from 17% in 2009 and a percentage point lower than the previous low for Congress, recorded in 2008.”

And the trend is continuing, according to Gallup’s poll numbers:

“Underscoring Congress’ image problem, half of Americans now say they have “very little” or no confidence in Congress, up from 38% in 2009 — and the highest for any institution since Gallup first asked this question in 1973. Previous near-50% readings include 48% found for the presidency in 2008, and 49% for the criminal justice system in 1994.”

When millions of unemployed Americans have to suffer for weeks, after their benefits lapsed, due to the senate’s inability to act, and the specter of Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) literally saying “tough sh*t” to the unemployed, it’s no wonder Americans have so little faith in their representatives to act in their interests.

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons/Alexander Milan/Capitol building


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