By JoAnne Allen
WASHINGTON, Jan 16 (Reuters) - A record 84 percent of
Americans say they disapprove of the way the U.S. Congress is
doing its job compared with just 13 percent who approve of how
things are going, according to a Washington Post/ABC News public
opinion poll published on Monday.
The disapproval rating for Congress inched up two percentage
points since October and reflects a year of lows for Congress
that ended in a battle over a temporary extention of the payroll
tax cuts for 160 million Americans.
Democrats and Republicans fought all last year over the best
way to control the country's debt and annual budget deficit, as
the two parties tried to position themselves for the 2012
A vitriolic debate leading up to an agreement last summer to
allow President Barack Obama to raise the debt ceiling fueled
public disgust with Congress and prompted Standard & Poor's
credit rating agency to strip the United States of its stellar
When the parties are considered individually, Democrats in
Congress have a 33 percent approval rate, while Republicans have
a 21 percent approval rate, the poll found.
Congress will be back in session this week after a holiday
break, poised to resume where they left off, with Democratic and
Republican negotiators preparing for a new round of talks to
extend the payroll tax cut for the rest of the year.
The 84 percent disapproval rate is the highest for Congress
in nearly 40 years of polling. The previous high was last
October, when 82 percent of poll respondents said they
disapproved of the way lawmakers on Capitol Hill were doing
The telephone poll of a random national sample of 1,000
people was conducted Jan. 12-15 and has a margin of error of
plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
(Editing by Philip Barbara)
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