(A version of this piece appeared in Wednesday’s The Point newsletter. Sign up for more!)
Congress is more popular than anytime since the early spring of 2020 — and its approval rating has jumped by 10 points since December!
Good news, right?
Well … the thing is that just 25% of the public approves of the job Congress is doing, according to the latest numbers from Gallup released at the end of January.
All that stuff I wrote above is still true — it is the most popular Congress has been since last spring, and the approval number did jump by double-digits between December and January.
But despite those gains, only 1 in 4 people actually approve of how Congress is doing its job. Which means a whole lot more people disapprove.
Still, for a body that is giving journalists and used-car salesmen a run for their money in terms of the low regard in which they are held, progress is progress!
So why is Congress faring better in the eyes of the public? Well, mostly because the Democrats being polled are much more likely to give the legislative branch the “thumbs up” now that they are totally in charge.
In December, just 11% of self-identified Democrats approved of the job Congress was doing. That number soared to 30% in the new poll. (Republican approval stayed flat at 17% between the two polls; independents’ approval jumped from 16% in December to 25% in January.
Which is natural! Partisans of one party are always going to give political institutions better ratings when their side is totally in charge.
The Point: The real question is whether 25% (or so) is the high-water mark for the 117th Congress. It just might be given that congressional approval has averaged just 30% since Gallup started asking the question in 1974.