News Release

New Reason-Rupe Poll: Just 14 Percent Approve of the Way Congress Is Doing Its Job

Seventy-three percent of voters are open to third-party presidential candidate

An overwhelming 81 percent of Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing and just 14 percent approve, according to the latest national Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey of 1,200 adults. Meanwhile, 47 percent of Americans approve of the way President Obama is handling his job, with 48 percent disapproving.

The president’s bigger problem may be that 42 percent of Americans say they “definitely will not” vote for him in 2012, while 25 percent say they “will definitely” vote for him and another 29 percent will consider doing so.

But voters may not want to limit their 2012 presidential options to just President Obama and the eventual Republican nominee. Nearly 73 percent of Americans say they “will” or “may” consider voting for an independent or third-party candidate in 2012. And in a three-way race like the 1992 presidential election, in which Ross Perot got 19 percent of the vote and Bill Clinton won with 43 percent of the vote, the Reason-Rupe poll finds there would be significant support for a candidate who is “conservative on economic issues and liberal on social issues.” Forty-eight percent of voters say they’d support such a candidate, 37 percent would not. The Tea Party could also make things very interesting if it were to run its own presidential candidate instead of supporting the GOP nominee. Nearly 37 percent of voters say they’d consider voting for a Tea Party candidate for president, 15 percent are undecided and 49 percent say they wouldn’t support him or her.

Full Poll Online

The complete Reason-Rupe survey is online at here and here (pdf).

This Reason-Rupe poll, conducted August 10-19, 2011, surveyed a random, national sample of 1,200 adults by telephone (790 on landlines, 410 on cell phones). The results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. The poll was conducted for Reason Foundation by NSON Opinion Strategy.

This is part of a series of Reason-Rupe public opinion surveys dedicated to exploring what Americans really think about government and major issues. This Reason Foundation project is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation.

About Reason Foundation

Reason Foundation is a nonprofit think tank dedicated to advancing free minds and free markets and publisher of the critically-acclaimed Reason magazine and its website For more information, please visit


Chris Mitchell, Director of Communications, Reason Foundation, (310) 367-6109