Thursday, February 16, 2012

Why is Congress so unpopular?

According to Real Clear Politics the Congressional approval rating currently stands at just under 14%.  Some like to say approval ratings are related to how many bills are passed.  If this is true, statistics don't necessarily support it.

According to here is how many laws have been passed by each Congress since 1993:
  • 1993-4: 103rd congress = 1977 Bills
  • 1995-6: 104th Congress = 1817 Bills
  • 1997-8: 105th Congress = 1966 Bills
  • 1999-0: 106th Congress = 2229 Bills
  • 2001-2:  107th Congress = 1513 Bills
  • 2003-4:  108th Congress = 1659 Bills
  • 2005-6: 109th Congress = 1746 Bills
  • 2007-8: 110th Congress = 1922 Bills
  • 2008-9: 111th Congress = 8970 Bills
  • 2010-11:  112th Congress = 80 (According to
Approval ratings for the 111th Congress were no higher than 20%, while Congressional approval ratings during the entire year of 2011 dropped from 20% to as low as 11%, according to  

Also according to Gallup Congress has never been popular. The highest rating was 35% in 1974.  From 1979-92 the average approval rating was slightly less than 20%, according to  So now Congress passes only 80 laws and the approval rating drops to a record low.

So the 111th Congress passes a whopping 8,970 bills and it's popularity stays around the average 20 percent, and the 112th Congress passes only 80 bills.  An increase in bills passed doesn't effect the approval rating, yet a drop does.  So does this support the notion that people want Congress to do something -- i.e. pass bills.

It surely sounds that way.  I think most people see a problem and think:  "something has to be done."  Yet I hope they understand that with each new law one more freedom is taken away. 

I personally think it's better to do nothing than to do something stupid, which makes me wonder if the 112th Congress should have a slightly higher rating than the mere 11% it's currently getting from the American people.  

What do you think?

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