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Laura Litvan, (c) 2013, Bloomberg News, Published June 13 2013

Poll: Congress’ approval rating at historic low

WASHINGTON – The public’s scorn for a gridlocked Congress continues to grow, with a new Gallup poll showing confidence in the legislative body falling to 10 percent, the lowest level Gallup has ever found for any institution.

The poll released Thursday placed Congress dead last among 16 institutions in a survey that included banks, the U.S. Supreme Court and the presidency. Congress was behind organized labor and health maintenance organizations in public confidence.

Congress’ 10 percent rating in the survey was three percentage points lower than in a similar Gallup survey of the public’s views of major institutions conducted at the same time last year.

“Partisan bickering, gridlock, an inability to get things done – that’s what Americans are complaining about,” Frank Newport, Gallup’s editor in chief, said in an interview Thursday.

The decline in confidence in Congress dates to 1973, when it was 42 percent, a level not matched since. While it’s ebbed and flowed, public opinion of the institution has fallen sharply in the past decade. Gallup’s current level of 10 percent is in line with other polls that show historically poor approval ratings for Congress and its top leaders.

Both chambers are seeking ways to push past the partisan fighting in a bid to approve immigration legislation this year, with the full Senate debating the most significant revision to immigration law in a generation while House members are seeking to craft a measure. Lawmakers in both parties say they can’t predict whether a final measure will make it to the president’s desk for his signature.

Republicans took over the House majority in 2011, while the Democrats have the majority in the Senate.