Unpopularity Of the Congress

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The United States Congress is the legislative body of the US as stipulated under Article 1,Section 1 of the US conclusion (Davidson, Oleszek, Lee, & Schickler, 2018). Hence, it is essential for the running of the federal government. Given the congress’s importance, it is, therefore, a matter of interest that it is so unpopular with an approval rating of only 10% in August 2017 according to CNN (Struyk, 2017). It begs the question: why is Congress so unpopular? Indeed the approval ratings keep changing according to the contemporary matters such as in the 10% case where the primary determinant was the repealing and replacement of the Obama care. However, the figures are always low hence the concern. The 115th Congress which is the current US Congress since 3rd January 2017, has continuously taken steps that didn’t please most of the Americans such as repealing of the Affordable Care Act and has also been surrounded with controversies such as Congress members being accused of sexual harassment.

The unpopularity seems to stem from various factors with the first one being the Media’s focus on scandals such as sexual and financial ones hence influencing public perception. Davidson et al., (2018) states that although local media can be an important tool for an incumbent to reach out to their constituent, national media such as CNN tend to focus on negative criticism. Party polarization also influences the way Congress members vote on issues rather than being influenced by their voters’ needs. This trend has also contributed to their unpopularity. Such polarization has caused rifts within the Republican Party with several Congress members refusing to vote along party lines (Abramson, 2017). It has also led to a conflict between the executive and the Congress. Actions such as Senate filibuster and kill nominations which can lead to government shutdown cause unpopularity. The recent government shut down which lasted between January 20th to 22nd after the Democrats and Republicans failed to agree (Shaw, Pappas & Richardson, 2018). Finally, many Americans view Congress members as being motivated by financial gains with campaigns being a very costly affair. Their high salaries also cause their unpopularity. Despite the unpopularity of the Congress, statistics show that there are high chances of the members being reelected (Davidson t al., 2018).


Abramson, A. (2017). These Are the 12 House Representatives Who Voted Against the Tax Bill. TIME. Accessed on 2018/2/27 from http://time.com/5072519/house-republicans-voted-against-tax-bill/

Davidson, R. H., Oleszek, W. J., Lee, F. E., & Schickler, E. (2018). Congress and its members. cq Press.

Shaw, A., Pappas, A., & Richardson, M. (2018) Government braces for shutdown as Senate fails to meet deadline for spending deal. FOX NEWS. Accessed on 2018/2/27 from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/01/20/government-braces-for-shutdown-as-senate-fails-to-meet-deadline-for-spending-deal.html

Struyk, R. (2017). Even Republicans don’t like Congress anymore. CNN. Accesses on 2018/2/27 from https://edition.cnn.com/2017/08/03/politics/republicans-congress-approval-drops/index.html


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