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Approval of U.S. Congressional Republicans Tops Democrats
Politics

Approval of U.S. Congressional Republicans Tops Democrats

Approval of U.S. Congressional Republicans Tops Democrats

Story Highlights

  • Approval of congressional Republicans is up six points since October to 40%
  • Congressional Democrats' approval now 35% vs. October reading of 38%
  • Mitt Romney now viewed more favorably by Democrats than Republicans

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- More Americans approve of the job congressional Republicans are doing than of congressional Democrats' performance -- 40% vs. 35%. The rating for Republicans in Congress has risen six percentage points since late October, before the impeachment of President Donald Trump in the U.S. House of Representatives. Over the same period, congressional Democrats' approval rating has edged down three points and disapproval has climbed five points, from 57% to 62%.

Line graph. Americans’ approval of congressional Republicans and Democrats since 1999.

In general, congressional Democrats have historically had slightly higher job approval ratings than congressional Republicans. The average approval rating since 1999, when Gallup began periodically tracking both, is 41% for the Democrats in Congress and 35% for the Republicans in Congress. Yet, Republicans have edged out Democrats a number of times over the 21-year trend.

The latest readings for these measures, from a Feb. 17-28 poll, are Gallup's first since the Dec. 18 impeachment of Trump in the U.S. House of Representatives and his subsequent acquittal in the U.S. Senate on Feb. 5. The votes in the House and Senate broke largely along party lines, with only a few exceptions. This split is similarly reflected in rank-and-file partisans' approval ratings of Republicans and Democrats in Congress.

Although majorities of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, as well as Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, approve of the job their own party's members of Congress are doing, there is a significant difference between the two groups. Republicans' approval of congressional Republicans has jumped 13 points to 76% since October, but Democrats' 65% approval of congressional Democrats is virtually unchanged from October.

Republicans' and Republican leaners' more positive evaluations of their own party's congressional caucus are the major reason Republicans in Congress receive higher ratings than Democrats in Congress overall.

Partisans' Approval Ratings of Congressional Republicans and Democrats
Do you approve or disapprove of the way the [Republicans in Congress/Democrats in Congress] are handling their job?
October 2019 February 2020 Change
% Approve % Approve pct. pts.
Republicans in Congress
Republicans/Republican-leaning independents 63 76 +13
Democrats/Democratic-leaning independents 13 7 -6
Democrats in Congress
Republicans/Republican-leaning independents 8 6 -2
Democrats/Democratic-leaning independents 64 65 +1
GALLUP

Just as the public's assessments of congressional Republicans appear to have benefited from Trump's impeachment, so too has Trump. In January and February, the president's job approval rating rose to his personal best of 49%; it remains elevated from where it was before his impeachment. Likewise, Trump's favorability rating, which was 41% in October, reached 48% in January and is currently 46%, including 89% favorable among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.

McConnell's Favorability Rating Up After Impeachment

Just as job approval for President Trump and the Republicans in Congress has risen, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's image has also improved after impeachment. McConnell's favorability rating has increased by six points since October to 33% now, because of a 15-point jump to 62% among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. There has been no meaningful change in McConnell's unfavorable rating (48%) since October.

Although, on a relative basis, McConnell's favorability is not particularly high, it is his highest rating since Gallup's first reading in 2010, and it is well above his personal low of 18% in 2015, the year he became the majority leader.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's 39% favorability is roughly the same as it was in October, but her unfavorable rating has climbed -- from 50% in October to 55% now -- and nearly matches her highest unfavorable of 56% that came just before the 2010 midterm elections in which Republicans regained control of the House. She receives a 71% favorable rating from her party's base.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's current favorable, 31%, is in line with all of Gallup's readings for him since 2017, but his 46% unfavorable rating is his highest of five measurements (though similar to the 44% from June 2018). Fifty-eight percent of Democrats and Democratic leaners view him favorably. Although he was not included in the October 2019 Gallup poll, his latest favorability is roughly in line with a reading from January 2019.

Favorability Ratings of U.S. Congressional Leaders, Before and After Impeachment
% Favorable
Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Chuck Schumer
% %
February 2020
U.S. adults 33 39 31
Republicans/Republican-leaning independents 62 8 6
Democrats/Democratic-leaning independents 8 71 58
October 2019
U.S. adults 27 40 N/A
Republicans/Republican-leaning independents 47 8
Democrats/Democratic-leaning independents 11 67
GALLUP

Vice President Mike Pence's current 41% favorable rating is essentially unchanged from October. While Pence did not play a major role in the impeachment proceedings, Trump has since tasked him with overseeing the U.S. government's response to the coronavirus. As cases of the virus continue to multiply in the U.S. and the Trump administration's actions are scrutinized, Americans' views of Pence could change.

Romney Now Viewed Favorably by More Democrats Than Republicans

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney was the sole Republican to break with his party and vote to convict Trump on one of the two charges in the Senate impeachment trial. Although Romney's 39% favorability among U.S. adults is unchanged from a year ago, he is currently viewed more favorably among Democrats than he is among Republicans, a reversal of previous readings. A 56% majority of Democrats but just 23% of Republicans now hold favorable views of Romney. Compared with Gallup's prior reading of Romney in February 2019, his favorable rating is up 19 points among Democrats and down 22 points among Republicans. Romney's decision last week to back the Republicans' investigation of Hunter Biden's actions in Ukraine could quickly temper Democrats' opinion of him.

Line graph. Americans’ favorable ratings of Mitt Romney since November 2012, among all adults and partisans.

Implications

Republicans in Congress appear to have benefited from the impeachment of the president, as they are currently enjoying improved job approval ratings. Likewise, the favorable ratings of Republicans Trump and McConnell have risen after the impeachment. Meanwhile, the public's ratings of congressional Democrats and Democratic leaders are the same or slightly worse than before impeachment, given no change in favorability or approval but higher unfavorable and disapproval ratings.

In the coming months, as Americans' memories of the impeachment fade, their opinions of political leaders may change. The coronavirus outbreak and the Democratic presidential nominating contests have already largely superseded Trump's impeachment in the news.

View complete question responses and trends (PDF download).

Learn more about public opinion metrics that matter for the 2020 presidential election at Gallup's 2020 Presidential Election Center.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.


Gallup https://news.gallup.com/poll/287633/approval-congressional-republicans-tops-democrats.aspx
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