Poll: Americans despise Congress; dislike Obama

Gallup is out with a new poll concluding, yet again, that Americans are largely disgusted by Washington. According to Gallup, the approval ratings for both Congress and the president are at barrel-bottom lows that could indicate sweeping change in the midterm elections.

Gallup's new poll finds congressional job approval at 16%, the lowest in any midterm election year since Gallup began asking in 1974. Perhaps not surprisingly, the prior midterm low was 2010, when congressional approval was 21%.

The news for President Obama is not much better — his approval rating is 44%, which is the same place it was in 2010 when a Republican/Tea Party wave pushed Democrats out of the majority in the House. President George W. Bush had a 38% rating in 2006 and Congress was at 35% when Democrats back took control of the House for the first time in 12 years. Since nobody expects Republicans to lose control of the House, the numbers seem most ominous for Democrats in the Senate. Or, as Gallup explains:

The political environment in which the 2014 elections are being contested promises to be difficult for congressional incumbents, as public attitudes on key indicators that predict election outcomes are comparatively worse than in prior midterm election years. The likelihood of significant improvement in any of these indicators between now and the fall is fairly low; the dominant trend for congressional approval, presidential approval, and satisfaction is that the measures become more negative by the eve of the midterm elections than they were in January of the same year.

But it is not just Democrats who should be concerned. Gallup suggests that these numbers may have contributed to the stunning primary defeat last week of Majority Leader Eric Cantor.


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