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Snapshot: Approval of Congress Falls After Two Shutdowns

Snapshot: Approval of Congress Falls After Two Shutdowns

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressional approval is now 15%, down slightly from an uptick to 20% last month after Congress passed tax reform in December. Positivity quickly faded this month as the government shut down twice in three weeks because of impasses over the federal budget.


The latest findings are based on a Gallup poll conducted Feb. 1-10, after the first, three-day government shutdown Jan. 20-22, and during the second, hours-long shutdown on Feb. 9.

Background: One year ago, congressional approval was nearly double where it stands today. In 2017, after Donald Trump was inaugurated and Republicans took control of Congress, approval of Congress jumped from 19% to 28%. That sharp increase in approval largely resulted from a surge of positivity among rank-and-file Republicans. However, as 2017 wore on and Congress repeatedly failed to deliver on the promise to repeal and replace Obamacare, congressional approval eroded to 13% in early December.

Relative positivity from Republicans toward Congress faded quickly in the first two months of 2018. In early January 2018, after Congress passed tax reform, 37% of Republicans approved of Congress. Yet, following two subsequent government shutdowns, Republicans' approval of Congress fell to 24%. For their part, approval among Democrats, at 9%, was unchanged over the same period. Approval among independents dropped from 20% to 13%.

Looking ahead, Congress is now focused on the immigration debate and the midterm elections. Immigration reform, including deciding the fate of the "dreamers," young migrants who have lived in the U.S. illegally since they were children, is on this week's congressional agenda. The issue of immigration is a sharply polarizing one, and with all 435 House seats and 34 Senate seats up for election in November, members of Congress are eyeing their options carefully with the hope of improving their overall recently diminished standing with the American public.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Feb. 1-10, 2018, with a random sample of 1,044 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. For results based on the samples of Republicans, independents and Democrats, the margins of sampling error are between ± 6 and ±8 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 70% cellphone respondents and 30% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

View survey methodology, complete question responses and trends.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

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