A recent Gallup survey conducted November 4-7 showed that Americans' approval of Congress fell to 17%, down from 21% prior to the midterm elections. The approval rating dropped among Democrats, Republicans and independents, though the 29% of Democrats who approved of Congress was still far above the percentages for people with the two other party identifications, which checked in at 9% and 13%, respectively. This should not come as a surprise: according to Gallup, "Democrats have consistently given Congress higher ratings than either Republicans or independents since President Obama and the then-newly elected Congress took office in February 2009."
With history as a guide, it is expected that the congressional approval rating will see a jump as the Congress-with a new Republican majority in the House, and a Senate with diminished Democratic presence-is seated in January. Writes Gallup: "Historical patterns from 1994 and 2006 suggest that congressional approval will remain relatively stable at these low levels until January, when Republicans can be expected to become more positive as their party takes control of the House."
Although the survey results suggest a 4% drop in congressional approval since October, an approval rating of 17% is not much different from ratings of 18% in September and 19% in August. The highest approval rating in 2010 was 24%, which was recorded in January, while the lowest was 16%, in March. The lowest-ever congressional approval rating was 14% in July 2008.