LOS ANGELES — How low can Congress go?
Today’s answer: There’s not much lower they can go.
Polls out Wednesday painted a bleak picture of Americans’ views of their federal legislators. Really bleak.
In an AP-GfK poll, Congress dropped to an approval rating of 5 percent. With the margin of error, the real figure could actually be slightly more than 1 percent.
It’s little surprise that the poll showed, as many have in recent days, that no one in Washington is looking good as a result of the government shutdown. which began Oct. 1. But Republicans are faring particularly badly.
President Barack Obama has an approval rating of only 37 percent. Harry Reid, the Nevada senator and Democratic leader in the Senate, and Republican John Boehner, the House speaker, fell between Congress and the president on the approval scale, each with 18 percent approval ratings.
According to Gallup, the Republican Party was viewed favorably by only 28 percent of Americans, down a startling 10 points from a month earlier. That was the lowest rating for either party since Gallup first started asking the question 21 years ago. The previous low point for Republicans came in late December of 1998, the residue of their effort to impeach President Bill Clinton.
Democrats did not escape the current standoff unscathed; their favorability rating was down four points from September, but that left the party at 43 percent positive, a substantial edge over Republicans.
The historic low for Democrats was 41 percent in late March of 2010. That low came just after President Obama and Democrats in Congress pushed through the health care law.