The 116th U.S. Congress begins its work today in the middle of a government shutdown, while its leaders face an increasingly disgruntled public.
Congressional leaders from both parties are viewed unfavorably by the majority of Americans, according to a new poll by Gallup.
The poll, which was conducted from December 3- 12 before the government shutdown, gave Congress overall a meager 18 percent approval rating.
Nancy Pelosi, the next Speaker of the House, is viewed favorably by 38 percent of Americans and unfavorably by 48 percent, while the Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer holds a 32 percent approval rating and 40 percent disapproval rating.
Nancy Pelosi invites all children on the House floor, including her grandchildren, to come up and stand with her as she takes the oath to become House Speaker pic.twitter.com/ZllqZWuCqK
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) January 3, 2019
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell holds the worst net image with only 30 percent of Americans approving of his work and 48 percent disapproving.
However, all three maintain positive favorability ratings within their own parties.
McConnell, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate, is viewed favorably by 65 percent of Republicans, who have praised him for his ability to help confirm conservative justices like Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh onto the Supreme Court.
Pelosi remains the most polarizing figure from the poll, enjoying the highest favorability ratings within her own party (+53) along with the highest disapproval ratings (-76) from the opposing party.
Why This Matters
The potential for more partisan division seems likely as Democrats have regained control in the House of Representatives, while Republicans expanded their majority in the Senate.
Pelosi and Schumer have vowed to pass legislation in the House to reopen the federal government. However, McConnell has refused to consider any legislation in the Senate that does not receive the approval of President Donald Trump.
Trump is currently demanding more than 5 billion dollars for his border wall project, while Democrats have remained adamant they will not acquiesce to his budget demands.
The ability of both Democrats and Republicans to deliver on their campaign promises is sure to affect their favorability ratings in the future.
President Trump is scheduled to meet with Democratic leaders again on Friday to continue negotiations in order to end the government shutdown.
In a series of tweets earlier today, Trump claimed the Democrats were shutting down the government “only because of the 2020 presidential election.”
Pelosi has warned the President to expect “a different world” with Democrats seizing control of the House.
In addition, the ongoing special counsel investigation into Russian collusion with members of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democrats’ promise to launch Congressional investigations into Trump’s conduct has set the stage for a partisan showdown in 2019.
More on the Subject
The 116th Congress is poised to be the most diverse in American history with a significant number of women, people of color, and LGBT candidates winning seats.
A record 103 women will serve in the House, which is a 22 percent increase from the 84 women who served in the 115th House.
Fifty-two percent of the incoming Democratic freshman in the House are women, while only 4.5 percent of the incoming Republican freshman are women.