Polls: Congress, Obama Hit Record Low Disapproval Ratings

By: CBS News (Posted by Melissa Brunner)
By: CBS News (Posted by Melissa Brunner)
Congress

President Obama delivered the State of the Union address on Feb. 12, 2013 at the U.S. Capitol. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

(CBS) Both Congress and President Obama recorded their lowest approval ratings to date in two major public opinion surveys out Tuesday.

Congress' approval rating has fallen to nine percent in a new Gallup poll, the lowest it has been in the public opinion research firm's 39 years of asking the question. The previous low was 10 percent, reached twice in 2012.

The findings are similar to a CBS News poll taken just after the 16-day government shutdown in October, which found that 85 percent of Americans disapproved of the way Congress did its job, and just nine percent approve. The disapproval rating was the highest since CBS began asking the question in 1977, and they had only once before recorded a nine percent approval rating, two years earlier.

A new Quinnipiac University poll found that American voters disapprove of Mr. Obama by a margin of 54 percent to 39 percent, which is the lowest approval rating he has had since becoming president. The lowest approval rating before today was a 55 percent to 39 percent 41 percent approval rating in October 2011. Even women - a group Mr. Obama won by 12 percentage points in the 2012 election -- now disapprove of his performance, 51 percent to 40 percent.

"Like all new presidents, President Barack Obama had a honeymoon with American voters, with approval ratings in the high 50s. As the marriage wore on, he kept his job approval scores in the respectable, though not overwhelming, 40s. Today, for the first time it appears that 40 percent floor is cracking," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Perhaps most troubling for the president is Quinnipiac's finding that his honesty and trustworthiness numbers are upside down. Fifty-two percent to 44 percent say the president is not honest and trustworthy. Previously, his lowest mark on honesty was 49 percent (with 47 percent saying he was not honest) in May.

The Affordable Care Act does not fare particularly well either. Voters oppose the law by a margin of 55 percent to 39 percent, and just 19 percent of Americans predict that the quality of care they and their families receive will improve in the next year because of Obamacare. Forty-three percent predicted their care would get worse, and 33 percent said the law would have no effect.

Voters are also evenly split on the question of whether Mr. Obama "knowingly deceived" the public when he promised people could keep their existing health care coverage if they liked it.Forty-six percent said he did; 47 percent said he did not. There is broad support of 73 percent for extending the March 31, 2014 deadline to sign up for insurance without facing a penalty.

The only policy issue on which he got more positive than negative ratings was on his handling of terrorism: 52 percent approved and 42 percent did not. On all other issues - foreign policy, immigration, the federal budget, health care and the economy - his approval ratings were between 32 and 38 percent, and respondents said by slight margins that they trusted Republicans in Congress to handle those issues better than the president.

The Gallup survey of Congress found equally low approval ratings among all three political parties. Republicans approved at a nine percent rate, independents at eight percent and Democrats at 10 percent. The approval rating among Democrats had gone all the way up to 20 percent in September, but that number shot down to five percent during the shutdown in October.

Congress is on track to have the lowest-ever yearly average approval rating. For the first 11 months, that number was 14 percent - one point lower than last year's 15 percent.

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