Disapproval of Congress hits new high

Disapproval of Congress rose to an all-time high after weeks of rancorous partisan battles over raising the U.S. debt ceiling took the country to the brink of default, according a New York Times/CBS News public opinion poll published on Thursday.

A record 82 percent of Americans now say they disapprove of the way Congress is doing its job, compared with 14 percent who approve, the poll found.

The disapproval rating for Congress was the highest in the 34 years the question has been asked in the poll and up from the previous high of 77 percent set in May 2010.

Congress approved a $2.1 trillion deficit-cutting plan just before an Aug 2. deadline for raising the U.S. borrowing authority. The deal to lift the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling was signed into law with just hours to spare before the government was due to run out of money to pay all its bills.

Seventy-two percent of the poll respondents disapproved of the way Republicans in Congress handled the debt ceiling negotiations, while 60 percent disapproved of the way Congressional Democrats acted to resolve the crisis.

Half of those polled said the debt ceiling agreement should have included increased tax revenue, which Republicans fought, as well as spending cuts. Forty-four percent said the agreement should have relied on spending cuts alone.

An overwhelming majority, 82 percent, said the debt ceiling fight was more about gaining political advantage than doing what is best for the country.

More than half said they think Republicans compromised too little while 34 percent said President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress did not compromise enough.

The responders were more evenly divided over how Obama handled the negotiations, with 47 percent disapproving and 46 expressing approval. Obama’s overall job approval rating remained steady at 48 percent.

The nationwide telephone poll of 960 adults was conducted August 2 and 3 among 960 adults throughout the United States and has a sampling error or plus or minus three percentage points (http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/Aug11a-all.pdf?tag=contentMain;contentBody).

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – (Reporting by JoAnne Allen; Editing by Eric Walsh)


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