By Kenneth Warren, Ph.D., Associate Director SLU/YouGov Poll
A classic and somewhat ironic finding by pollsters for decades has been to find citizens ranking the job performance of Congress quite low, but the job performance of their representatives in Congress much higher. In our YouGov poll, we found the same thing.
Only 15.5% of Missourians in our poll “approved” (15.3%) or “strongly approved” (.5%) of the job Congress was doing. This finding is consistent with national polling showing low approval ratings for Congress. The latest Real Clear Politics average Congressional approval rating shows Congress at 19.3% with a recent Economist/YouGov poll showing Congress at 16% approval; almost identical to what our SLU/YouGov poll shows.
Approval of Senators Hawley and Blunt
Expectedly, Missourians did rank their two U.S. Senators much higher, giving U.S. Senator Josh Hawley a 48.4% approval rating (21.2% saying “approve” and 27.2% “strongly approve”). Senator Roy Blunt’s approval ratings were somewhat lower with a 43% approval score (33.6% saying “approve” and 9.4% “strongly approve”). According to Morning Consult’s approval rankings for all U.S. Senators, Hawley and Blunt score in the middle range with Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) ranked highest with a 65% approval score and Senator Bob Menendez ranked lowest with a 35% approval rating.
We also asked in our SLU/YouGov poll a few questions on matters that have attracted widespread attention in recent months. The St. Louis couple, Mark and Patricia McCloskey, attracted national attention when they waved and pointed guns at protesters on a private street outside their home. President Trump even spoke out in defense of the McCloskey’s action and they spoke at the Republican National Convention.
St. Louis prosecutors charged the McCloskeys with unlawful use of a weapon, causing much debate over the McCloskey's actions. So, we asked Missourians in our poll whether they thought the McCloskeys “acted responsibly within their rights to defend their home” or “acted irresponsibly and unlawfully in waving their guns at protesters”.
Not surprisingly in a red state where anti-gun control sentiment and the NRA are very popular, especially among rural Missourians, 54% answered that the McCloskeys acted responsibly with their rights, while only 40% felt that the McCloskey’s acted irresponsibly and unlawfully with 6% saying they were not sure.
Trump and Protest Violence
We also were curious about how Missourians viewed Trump’s response toward protesters demonstrating nationally with some protesting resulting in violence, so we asked whether Trump’s response to the protesters “reduced the violence” or “contributed to its escalation.”
Somewhat surprisingly for a red state that favors Trump over Biden in the presidential election, the plurality of respondents in our SLU/YouGov poll (46.2%) believed that Trump’s response contributed to its escalation, while only 35.2% felt his actions served to reduce the violence with a relatively high percentage, 18.6%, saying they were not sure.