A Gallup survey released Thursday shows continued dissatisfaction with Congress. Just 19 percent of Americans approve of the way lawmakers in Washington are doing their jobs. Although this is a two percentage-point improvement over last year’s reading and five points better than Congress’ all-time low of 14 percent in 2014, it’s still abysmal. As a point of reference, Congress’ highest approval rating came in 2001, hitting a yearly average of 56 percent as the public rallied behind government in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Also of note, with the GOP now controlling all branches of government, Republican respondents’ approval of Congress jumped to 28 percent in 2017 from 15 percent last year, while Democrats’ approval declined to 13 percent from 19 percent over the same period. Independents’ attitudes were unchanged.
An Erosion of Trust: It’s unimaginable these days, but in the late 1950s and early ’60s, three out of four Americans said they trusted the government in Washington “always” or “most of the time.” Then came Vietnam, Watergate, and the Iranian hostage crisis. By the time Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, the number of people trusting government “most/always” had dropped from three out of four to one out of four. As the data from this Pew Research survey demonstrates, despite a recovery during the economic boom under Bill Clinton and hitting 49 percent in the aftermath of 9/11, trust in government has declined precipitously. It’s been under 20 percent, on average, for the last four years.
[Source: Real Clear Politics]