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Chart shows congressional job approval ratings from 1974 to 2015. Starting around 30% in 1974, it rises slightly to 32% in 1975 before dipping to 25% in 1976. After the dip, it spikes again to35% in 1977, before falling again to 20% in 1979. It rises to 38% in 1981, then falls again in 1982 to 30 %. There is a slow increase to 41% in 1986, where it levels out until 1988, when it begins to drop until it reaches 30% in 1990. It rebounds slightly to 31% in 1991, but falls drastically to 20% in 1992. A sharp increase in 1993 to 25% leads to a steady increase of approval ratings until 200 when it reaches 50%. A drastic spike in 2001 shoots approval ratings up to 82%, and a sharp decline lands approval ratings back at 50% by 2003. It levels off for a year, before falling again to 28% in 2006. A small spike in 2007puts it at 35%, before it falls down to 20% in 2009. There is another small increase to 24% in 2010, then another decrease to 10% in 2013. The chart ends with the approval rating at 15% in 2015. At the bottom of the chart, a source is cited: “Gallup. “Congress and the Public.” September 13, 2015.”.
Congress’s job approval rating reached a high of 84 percent in October 2001 following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It has declined fairly steadily ever since, reaching a low of 9 percent in November 2013, just after the federal government shutdown in the previous month.

Nevertheless, all things being equal, citizens tend to rate Congress more highly when things get done and more poorly when things do not get done. For example, during the first half of President Obama’s first term, Congress’s approval rating reached a relative high of about 40 percent. Both houses were dominated by members of the president’s own party, and many people were eager for Congress to take action to end the deep recession and begin to repair the economy. Millions were suffering economically, out of work, or losing their jobs, and the idea that Congress was busy passing large stimulus packages, working on finance reform, and grilling unpopular bank CEOs and financial titans appealed to many. Approval began to fade as the Republican Party slowed the wheels of Congress during the tumultuous debates over Obamacare and reached a low of 9 percent following the federal government shutdown in October 2013.

One of the events that began the approval rating’s downward trend was Congress’s divisive debate over national deficits. A deficit is what results when Congress spends more than it has available. It then conducts additional deficit spending by increasing the national debt. Many modern economists contend that during periods of economic decline, the nation should run deficits, because additional government spending has a stimulative effect that can help restart a sluggish economy. Despite this benefit, voters rarely appreciate deficits. They see Congress as spending wastefully during a time when they themselves are cutting costs to get by.

The disconnect between the common public perception of running a deficit and its legitimate policy goals is frequently exploited for political advantage. For example, while running for the presidency in 2008, Barack Obama slammed the deficit spending of the George W. Bush presidency, saying it was “unpatriotic.” This sentiment echoed complaints Democrats had been issuing for years as a weapon against President Bush’s policies. Following the election of President Obama and the Democratic takeover of the Senate, the concern over deficit spending shifted parties, with Republicans championing a spendthrift policy as a way of resisting Democratic policies.


Some representatives follow the delegate model of representation, acting on the expressed wishes of their constituents, whereas others take a trustee model approach, acting on what they believe is in their constituents’ best interests. However, most representatives combine the two approaches and apply each as political circumstances demand. The standard method by which representatives have shown their fidelity to their constituents, namely “bringing home the bacon” of favorable budget allocations, has come to be interpreted as a form of corruption, or pork-barrel politics.

Representation can also be considered in other ways. Descriptive representation is the level at which Congress reflects the nation’s constituents in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and socioeconomic status. Collective representation is the extent to which the institutional body of Congress represents the population as a whole. Despite the incumbency advantage and high opinion many hold of their own legislators, Congress rarely earns an approval rating above 40 percent, and for a number of years the rating has been well below 20 percent.

Questions & Answers

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What's Political apathy
political parties can be defined as a group of people who share a common interest
political apathy it can be defined by act of not having Interest in any politics
political parties are organised group of citizens,acting as a political unit and through the use of their voting power trys to control the government.
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Government is the body with power to make and enforce laws to control a country, land,area people or organization.
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Source:  OpenStax, American government. OpenStax CNX. Dec 05, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11995/1.15
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