The lack of assurance Americans have in Congress has fallen to an unparalleled low. A recent Gallup poll reveals that only 10% of Americans have an appreciable amount of confidence in Congress, a three percent drop from last year. Among those institutions that receive a greater amount of trust are big business, banks, and the White House. Further, this is the lowest confidence rating ever given to an institution since Gallup began recording American confidence in U.S. institutions.
Moreover, people from both parties, Democrats and Republicans, are unsatisfied with Congress. Democrats, since 2009, have gradually become weary of Congress, and now, only a mere two percent more Democrats, as compared to Republicans, have considerable confidence in our legislators. This downward trend for Democrats can be most attributed to their loss of control in both houses of Congress.
What’s even more is that Congress has been a displeasure for years now. The last time 30% or more of Americans had sizable faith in Congress was in 1991. Since then, Congress’s confidence rating has fluctuated considerably, reaching 18% in 1994, increasing to 29% in 2003, and eventually plummeting to where it is now.
Another recent poll from Gallup shows that partisan deadlock is the number one reason why Americans are upset with Congress. Congress’s inefficiency follows behind in a close second. Indeed, Americans are exasperated with Democrat-Republican quarrelling as well as with Congress’s tendency to postpone matters and, therefore, resolve them at what seems like a snail’s pace.
However, I am saddened to say, Congress’s confidence rating will not improve anytime soon. With an immigration bill that is sure to encounter many partisan impediments, a push for gun control legislation that is predicted to arrive this winter, and a ticking debt ceiling said to collapse sometime in October or November, compromise seems like a forlorn plea. So much so that absolute statements over debt ceiling negotiations and tax policies have already begun to fly.
The newly appointed Treasury Secretary sent a letter just last month to members in Congress, asserting that the White House will not “negotiate over the debt limit.” Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress have already begun drawing up conditions for raising the debt ceiling, one such involving a repeal of Obamacare. In other terms, Congress will keep doing the exact things the people hold them in contempt over. Americans can expect the usual: bickering, inconclusiveness, and political ploys. Did I mention bickering?
The recent drop in Congress’s confidence rating finds itself at a record low with no signs of recovery in the near. Without some miracle (or that elusive thing we call compromise) expect Congress’s confidence rating to either stay at or dip even lower than 10%.
Written By: Naman Patel