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U.S. Congress job approval surges to highest since 2009: Gallup

Xinhua, February 8, 2017 Adjust font size:

U.S. Congress' job approval jumped to 28 percent this month from 19 percent in January - the highest increase since January 2009, Gallup found in a poll released Tuesday.

The increase comes after U.S. President Donald Trump's inauguration gave Republicans control of the presidency and both houses of Congress, Gallup said.

Indeed, Americans have for the last several years had historically low regard for Congress, and many have viewed lawmakers as part of a Washington elite that is out of touch with the struggles of ordinary Americans.

The increase in congressional job approval in February is mainly the result of a surge in Republicans' approval, which more than doubled in the past month to 50 percent, the poll found.

Independents' approval increased slightly to 25 percent, and Democrats' approval dropped eight points to 11 percent, according to Gallup.

This mirrors the pattern seen in February 2009 after then President Barack Obama took office and gave Democrats control of Congress and the presidency. Democrats' approval rose from 18 percent to 43 percent between January and February of that year, while Republicans' approval fell by four points. Independents' approval rose from 17 percent to 29 percent, Gallup found.

The 115th Congress has not passed significant legislation in its first weeks in office, and it has not been involved in many highly publicized activities other than the Senate's vetting and confirming Trump's various Cabinet appointments, Gallup said.

Most of the news focus has been on Trump himself, including his rapid-fire series of executive orders and tweets responding to news media and those who disagree with him.

Trump also appears to be the catalyst for Americans -- specifically Republicans -- becoming more positive about Congress than at any point going back to the sixth year of the former president George W. Bush administration. In similar fashion, Obama appears to have been the catalyst for Democrats becoming more positive about Congress in 2009, Gallup said.

The key to the future may be the developing relationship between Congress and Trump. It is not clear whether Republican leaders in Congress will support all of Trump's initiatives, nor is it clear how fast Congress will act on Trump's promises that require new legislation, Gallup said. Enditem