(NEW YORK) — Popularity of the U.S. Congress, while weak overall, has gained sharply among Hispanics, likely reflecting its current efforts on immigration reform, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll has found.
More than half of Americans, meanwhile, favorably rate the U.S. Supreme Court and the president alike.
Congress by far is the least popular of the three, with just 30 percent of Americans viewing it favorably. But that jumps to 56 percent among Hispanics, up by a steep 21 percentage points from November 2011 — the only group in which it reaches majority popularity.
Separately, 55 percent of Americans overall hold a favorable opinion of the Supreme Court, which is hearing arguments on gay marriage, a major civil rights issue, this week. That’s despite some less-than-popular recent opinions; the public divided on the court’s ruling on health care reform in 2012 and broadly opposed its 2010 decision on political campaign financing.
President Obama, for his part, is seen positively by 57 percent of Americans, near his more than three-year high, 60 percent, in January. That’s despite the fact that his job approval slipped from a three-year peak of 55 percent in January to 50 percent earlier this month. The two assessments can differ; the first measures basic goodwill while the latter is more performance-based.
As with Obama, but even more so, Congress gets a better favorability score than its job approval rating — a miserable 16 percent in an ABC/Post poll earlier this month, only 3 points off the record low in nearly 40 years of polling it set a little more than a year ago.
Congress’ favorability rating is up by 7 points from late 2011 in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, but well off the majority popularity it enjoyed in the late 1980s.
With the president’s encouragement, bipartisan groups in the Senate and House are negotiating on immigration reform, with proposals expected in April. Impetus to the effort came from the presidential election, in which nonwhite voters were key to Obama’s victory, including his 44-point win among Hispanic voters.
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Z. Byron Wolf, CNN
Melissa Davlin and Seth Ogilvie, Idaho Reports
Eugene Scott, CNN