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Monmouth University Polling Institute

Few See Improvements in DC

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Obama, Congress ratings are static

West Long Branch, NJ – 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% 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%) say the relationship has worsened.  Another 44% 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% say the relationship has gotten better, 34% say it is worse, and 48% say it is the same.  Among Democrats, just 9% say it is better, 45% worse, and 41% the same.  Among independents, 5% say it is better, 42% worse, and 46% 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% of Americans who are very hopeful and 28% who are somewhat hopeful.  Another 23% of Americans are not too hopeful and 29% 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, NJ.

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

The questions referred to in this release are as follows:

1.      Do you approve or disapprove of the job Barack Obama is doing as president?

2.      Do you approve or disapprove of the job the U.S. Congress is doing?

3.      Would you say things in the country are going in the right direction, or have they gotten off on the wrong track?

4.      Republicans have controlled both the Senate and the House since the beginning of the year.  Do you think the working relationship between President Obama and this new Congress is better, worse, or about the same as it was with the last Congress?

5.      How hopeful are you that the new Congress and President Obama will be able to work together – very hopeful, somewhat hopeful, not too hopeful, or not at all hopeful?


The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from March 30 to April 2, 2015 with a national random sample of 1,005 adults age 18 and older.  This includes 703 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 302 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone, in English.  Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. Final sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information.  Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and SSI (RDD sample).  For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design).  Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below).  In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and results by key demographic groups.

Download this Poll Report with all tables

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