The 9%: Congress’s Approval Rating Hits the Single Digits

Suddenly 10% isn't looking so shabby

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Protesters gather in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, October 9, 2013.

On Tuesday, Gallup announced that Congress had reached a new low, winning the approval of just 9% of the American public. This breaks Congress’s record nadir from last year, when the amount of Americans who thought lawmakers were doing a good job dipped to 10%.

Gallup has been asking Americans how they feel about how Congress is handling its work for 39 years, and the average approval rating since 1974 is 33%. Affirmation hit its high in 2001, following the Sept. 11 attacks, at 56%. As to why approval ratings now equal the number of letters in Harry Reid’s name, pollsters said that “Americans’ views of Congress have not recovered” from the government shutdown. Even with all the media focus on Obamacare snafus, they note, lawmakers couldn’t sneak out of the doghouse.

Journalists quickly got quipping about the results on Twitter, suggesting that blood relatives and staff are now “peeling away” and that liking Congress is the trendy new contrarian position.

It should also be noted that a movement of 1 percentage point, while suggestive, does not in itself indicate a conclusive shift. The poll talked to 1,039 adults across the country and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

MORE: TIME POLL: Americans Believe Country Heading In Wrong Direction