Congress’ popularity bottoms out going into midterms

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Approval ratings for Congress have bottomed out, reaching the lowest level approaching a midterm election year in more than four decades, according to the latest Gallup polling.

As reported by Jonathan Topaz of POLITICO, only 16 percent of Americans approve of Congress and the job they are doing — the lowest numbers for a midterm year since 1974, the firm began measuring the question.

That is down from a high of 50 percent in 2002, and 21 percent in 2010.

The Gallup survey comes shortly after the surprising loss of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor — who many thought would easily win re-election in Virginia’s Seventh Congressional District — to underfunded Tea Party candidate Dave Brat.

Gallup also found low approval rating correlates with a higher rate of incumbent losses.

Topaz notes that the findings fall in line with a Gallup poll from May finding 22 percent of Americans said most of the members of Congress should be re-elected, another historic low rate.

The poll also found that Americans are still dissatisfied with the direction of the country. Twenty-three percent of respondents say they are satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S., up only one percent from 2010.

Forty-four percent of Americans say the most important problem in the U.S. is the economy.  Although lower than the 2010 numbers, it is least 15 points higher than 2006, 2002 and 1998.

Conducted June 5-8, the survey contacted 1,027 U.S. adults on landlines and cellphones. There is a margin for error of +/- 4 percentage points.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.