Capital Briefs

Congressional job approval lowest in Gallup history

As midterm election season approaches, races for incumbents may prove difficult since congressional job approval is only at 16 percent. This is the lowest number Gallup has seen since it started measuring the number in 1974.

According to Gallup:

In years when congressional job approval is low, there tends to be greater turnover in House membership. The prior low job approval rating in a midterm election year was 21% in 2010, a year in which 15% of House incumbents seeking re-election were defeated. In 1994, when 22% approved of Congress, 10% of incumbents lost. By comparison, just 4% of incumbents lost in 2002, when Congress enjoyed a 50% approval rating.

This pattern is already evident given House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s shocking defeat in his Virginia primary election.

In addition, Americans are very unhappy with the country’s direction. Only 23 percent of Americans are satisfied with the way things are currently going in the U.S. In 2010, the number was 22 percent, and in 1982, 24 percent. Both years saw a large turnover in congressional membership.

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