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Unsurprisingly, a Washington Post-ABC News poll released Wednesday finds that Americans continue to disapprove of the way Congress is doing — or not doing — its job.

According to the poll, which surveyed registered voters across the nation, only 34 percent of respondents approve of congressional Democrats’ job performance. Just 11 percent approve “strongly.”

But if that number seems low, consider the meager 25 percent who said the same of Republicans — and the minuscule 6 percent that “strongly” approve of their performance.

A majority of voters are upset with lawmakers on Capitol Hill: Democrats receive a 60 percent disapproval rating from voters, and their GOP colleagues get an even worse 71 percent.

Despite the awful numbers, both parties’ images are slowly recovering after months of dysfunction. Last month, 64 percent of Americans disapproved of Democrats and 73 percent felt the same way about Republicans.

The disappointing news for Congress comes a month after the two feuding parties united in a temporary – and, for political purposes, necessary — front to pass Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget deal. As The Washington Post points out, however, the temporary solution has not been enough to restore either party’s image.

With tensions running high in Washington, the public is highly polarized, and more skeptical of lawmakers whose ideology does not align with their own. As the chart below shows, 88 percent of Democrats and 72 percent of Independents disapprove of congressional Republicans.

WAPO poll 3 - Democrats and Ind

On the other side, 88 percent of Republican voters and 67 percent of Independents disapprove of congressional Democrats.

WAPO poll 2-Republicans and Independents

Unless Congress overcomes the deep party splits that hinder lawmakers’ ability to work together to resolve issues relevant to the public – and in a more timely manner – its approval numbers are sure to continue to suffer.

The Washington Post-ABC News poll was conducted from January 8-12, and surveyed 1,011 Americans. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.

Charts via The Washington Post

Photo by duncan/ CC BY-NC 2.0

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

How bad was Tuesday night's debate? So bad that the above-the-fray Commission on Presidential Debates is planning on rule changes for the next debates.

"Last night's debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues," the CPD said in a statement. "The CPD will be carefully considering the changes that it will adopt and will announce those measures shortly."

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