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Monmouth University Poll – National: Few See Improvements in DC

Fewer than 1-in-10 Americans feel that the working relationship between President Obama and Congress has improved since the Republican Party took control of both legislative chambers this year.  The national Monmouth University Poll also found that few are very hopeful this situation will change.  At the same time, public approval of both the president and Congress has barely budged over the past few months.

Just 8 percent of Americans think the working relationship between Pres. Obama and the new Congress is better than it was with the last Congress.  In fact, far more (41 percent) say the relationship has worsened.  Another 44 percent say the executive-legislative relationship is about the same as it was before the GOP gained control of the Senate as well as the House of Representatives. There are few partisan differences in this view.  Among Republicans, just 13 percent say the relationship has gotten better, 34 percent say it is worse, and 48 percent say it is the same.  Among Democrats, just 9 percent say it is better, 45 percent worse, and 41 percent the same.  Among independents, 5 percent say it is better, 42 percent worse, and 46 percent the same.

Less than half of the public is hopeful that the new Congress and Barack Obama will be able to work together, including just 17 percent of Americans who are very hopeful and 28 percent who are somewhat hopeful.  Another 23 percent of Americans are not too hopeful and 29 percent are not at all hopeful.  These results are practically unchanged from a poll taken one month after the GOP won control of the Senate in the 2014 midterms.

“The first few months of 2015 have seen an unprecedented level of rancor and gamesmanship between the two branches of government.  Perhaps it’s less surprising that optimism is so low than the fact that anyone is hopeful at all,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch.

Pres. Obama’s job rating with the American public currently stands at 42 percent approve to 48 percent disapprove.  This is virtually unchanged from the 43 percent to 48 percent rating he held in January.  Congress earns an even worse 21 percent approve to 67 percent disapprove job rating.  This is slightly, but not substantively, better than the 18 percent to 70 percent rating it held in January.  Currently, just 27 percent of Americans feel the country is heading in the right direction while 66 percent say it is on the wrong track.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from March 30 to April 2, 2015 with 1,005 adults in the United States.   This sample has a margin of error of + 3.1 percent.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch.

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