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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Poll numbers released by NBC and the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday find congressional disapproval at an all-time high, and that voters are pessimistic and uncertain about the remainder of President Obama’s term.

The poll shows Congress has become so unpopular that a staggering 83 percent of Americans disapprove of Congress’ job performance; 57 percent of American voters would like to replace every member of Congress, according to the poll. The poll also shows Obama’s overall approval rating dropped three points to 45 percent, although it’s within the poll’s margin of error. A 45 percent approval rating for Obama is the lowest the president’s approval rating has been since the 2011 debt-ceiling debacle. The decline mirrors the results of several other polls that have been released this week.

President Obama has lost support in demographic groups that previously supported him at extremely high rates. Obama’s approval among African-Americans has dropped to 78 percent, according to the poll. Earlier this year, a far larger majority of African-Americans supported the president: 93 percent in April and 88 percent in June.

The poll, however, shows that the tactics employed by Republicans in Congress have become increasingly unpopular.

Although the president’s health care law remains unpopular (34 percent believe it’s a good idea), the poll shows a 51 percent majority believes Republicans in Congress should stop trying to block the law.

Republican attitudes in the immigration debate also did not poll well — 44 percent of those polled believe that if Congress does not come to an agreement on an immigration bill, congressional Republicans should be blamed, 21 percent believe President Obama would be to blame, and just 14 percent believe Democrats in Congress would be to blame. Furthermore, 59 percent believe Republicans who say immigration reform must wait until the border is secure do so to block reform.

Despite the unpopularity of congressional Republicans on these issues, the poll suggests neither party has a clear advantage in the upcoming 2014 midterm elections — 44 percent of voters would like to see a Democratic-led Congress, while an identical 44 percent would like to see a Republican majority. But, a look back to the 2010 midterm election may provide some clues to 2014.

Prior to the 2010 midterm elections, the Democratic-controlled Congress was almost twice as popular as Congress is today. Gallup poll figures show that even after Congress passed Obama’s health care legislation, their approval rating was at 23 percent in April 2010. With a 23 percent approval rating, Democrats were trounced in the 2010 midterms — Republicans gained more House seats in the 2010 midterms than any party had in the previous 50 years; for the first time since 1982, when exit polls first began measuring congressional support, Republicans won a majority of female voters.

With a record 83 percent of voters who disapprove of Congress’s job performance, it’s safe to say Congress could look drastically different after next year’s midterm elections.

Photo: Caroline’s eye via Flickr.com

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