New polling indicates approval for both parties in Congress has dropped since January, with the GOP suffering a larger dip in favorability. The survey data signals that while most in the U.S. have more confidence in how Republicans will handle terrorist threats and the economy, they give the edge on foreign policy and health care to their Democratic colleagues.
On April 17, a Pew Research Center poll found that only 47 percent of national adults approved of the Republican Party while 51 percent approved of the Democratic Party.
The survey found that 39 percent of respondents approve of President Donald Trump's job performance while only 29 percent approve of the House Speaker, Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Ryan's approval rating is lower than those of former House Speakers John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi and Newt Gingrich during the same time frame of their tenures.
Given the choice between the two parties on pressing issues, respondents believed that congressional Republicans would do a better job than their Democratic colleagues dealing with terrorism by 12 percentage points, gun policy by 5 points, the economy by 3 points and taxes by 1 point.
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Meanwhile, respondents believed that Democrats would better handle the environment by 31 percentage points, abortion rights by 20 points, health care by 19 points, education by 16 points, foreign policy by 13 points and immigration by 11 points.
Overall, 58 percent of respondents said the Democratic Party had good policy ideas while 49 percent said the same of the GOP. Only 49 percent of respondents believed that the Democrats had high ethical standards while 45 percent offered to same trust in Republicans.
Among Republican-leaning respondents, 55 percent said that GOP lawmakers in Congress are not obligated to support Trump's policies while 43 percent believe that they should defer to his agenda.
Only 46 percent of overall respondents were confident that Trump could work effectively with Congress while 60 percent were skeptical, a drop in 14 points since December 2016.
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Approval for Congress has been anemic for the past decade. Monthly polling has found that only 24 percent of national adults approved of Congress while 67 percent disapproved in March. Approval for the legislative branch had peaked in October 2011 with 84 percent.
Aggregating the last five national surveys released between March 5 through April 11, Real Clear Politics found that Congress had an average approval rating of 17 percent while an average 66.8 percent of respondents disapproved of both the House and the Senate.