Congress members happy with jobs, voters not so much

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Talk about a disparity between the folks and those elected to represent them.

Congress has some of the lowest approval ratings in recent history, but House lawmakers love their jobs and feel fulfilled by their work, believing they are performing a public service and contributing to the public good, according to Roll Call.

Meanwhile, as reflected in a recent Rasmussen survey, 63 percent of likely U.S. voters think Congress can always make things worse.

Based on the results of a report, “Life in Congress: The Member Perspective,” 89 percent of House members surveyed said they felt satisfaction that they were “performing an important public service.”

Addition findings, as reported by Roll Call:

When asked whether they were satisfied with their understanding of how their “job contributes to society as a whole,” 90 percent answered in the affirmative. In response to the statement, “my work gives me a sense of personal accomplishment,” 95 percent agreed.

It certainly comes at a price. Respondents reported their schedules were grueling and unpredictable, working an average of 70 hours a week when in Washington and 59 hours a week during district work periods.

The Congressional Management Foundation and the Society for Human Resource Management authored the survey from Aug. 4 to Oct. 31, 2011, although the sampling was small. Out of 194 House members selected at random to respond to survey questions, only 25 responses were submitted.

CMF Executive Director Brad Fitch emphasized that the report was always intended to be “a snapshot, a window into Congress.”

So how can members of Congress feel so good about themselves, even though the latest Rasmussen survey shows that just eight percent of likely voters think Congress is doing a good or excellent job, while 67 percent rate their performance as poor?

Perhaps, it’s as good an indication as any that members have successfully isolated themselves from the constituents they represent.

Tom Tillison


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