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Stunning new Gallup Poll finds 13% of Americans still approve of Congress

December 15, 2010 |  2:42 am

Capitol Dome

 A fresh Gallup Poll released this morning reveals that somehow 13% of Americans still approve of the job being done by Congress.

The new Gallup survey did not identify those people, understandably.

However, even though it is a surprisingly high number given the work not done there in recent years, the 13% is a record low job approval for Congress since Gallup began compiling such data in 1974.

The same Dec. 10-12 survey finds a record high 83% of Americans disapprove of the job being done by the folks on Capitol Hill, also the worst recorded by Gallup in more than three decades.

The previous low approval of Congress was 14% in July of 2008.

Coincidentally, both record lows have occurred while Democrats controlled both houses of Congress.

According to Gallup's analysis, "Americans currently hold Congress in lower esteem for the job it is doing than at any point in the last 36 years. In the past month, many of the supporters it had, largely Democrats, appear to have become frustrated with its work. That frustration seems to be taken out more on the Democratic congressional majority..."

The sad new numbers occur just a month after voters vented their frustrations and wrath on incumbents, most of them Democrats, in midterm elections. Republicans gained six Senate seats and 63 House seats for the new Congress opening Jan. 4.

Gallup predicts an uptick in congressional approval come January, based on historical trends. When one or both houses change majority hands, as the House will, voters tend to give higher approval ratings to their own most recent electoral handiwork. 

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Manuel Balce Cene / Associated Press (lone worker vents hot air from Capitol).