Well, Congress has done it. It’s hit its highest disapproval ratings since the New York Times/CBS News poll was created in 1977. In the wake of the debt debate, a full 82% of Americans are displeased with the legislative branch, with only 14% approval.
It’s not so much the deal that was struck on the debt ceiling increase, which Americans were split on: 46% actually approved of the deal versus 45%. It was the perceived motivations that have people upset. 82% of the poll’s respondents said that disagreements between parties on the debt ceiling debate were due to “gaining political advantage,” rather than “doing what’s best for the country,” which only 14% saw as the motivator for Congress. Those numbers perfectly mirrored the general Congressional ratings.
As was the case with other polling around the debt deal, some individual political leaders have taken a hit. In this case, House Speaker John Boehner’s disapproval rating went from 42% in April of this year to 57% now, while his national approval rating only went from 32% to 30%. President Obama saw a slight increase in his disapproval rating over that time as well, from 45% to the current 47%, but his approval went from 46% to 48%.
In the end, the poll really shows that Congress, having never really been that popular individually, is reaching new lows. The percentage of respondents to the poll that thought this is either “dissatisfied” or “angry” with Washington was 84.
The NYT/CBS poll used telephone interviews with adults from August 2-3 who were among the 960 adults nationwide first interviewed in two polls: an NYT/CBS survey conducted June 24-28 and another from July 15-17. It has a margin of error of plus or minus three percent.
Kyle is the Editor of TPM Media’s PollTracker. He graduated from Beloit College (WI) and began working in politics before getting an M.A. in magazine journalism from New York University, where he interned at TPM and the website of The New Yorker.