Interpreting the Poll Results
Although approval of Congress has been low for the past year, it seems to be steadily declining, and the latest number of 10 percent is even lower than it was through the payroll tax debate, which saw much public criticism of Congress, and a drop from 15 percent approval in September 2011 to 11 percent by the end of December. Although January saw a slight recovery, at 13 percent, the approval rating has plunged back down to 10 percent in February. Since most media focus has been on the race for the GOP nomination, it is difficult to determine the cause of increasing discontent with Congress.
Congress’ Loss, Obama’s Gain?
The February poll was conducted two weeks after President Obama’s state of the union address, in which he called for a bill to ban insider trading by members of Congress. Some Republican members of Congress criticized the tone of Obama’s speech. Despite indicators of economic recovery, the public seems to be giving credit to the President, instead of Congress, as Gallup daily tracking has Obama’s approval rating on the rise, going from 45 percent to 46 percent the same week Congressional approval sunk 3 points.
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