Poll Finds Approval for Congress Plummets

Galloway, N.J. — As a government shutdown looms, wars rage and chaos reigned as the House selected a new speaker, New Jersey voters are disgusted with Congress, and even Republicans disapprove of how the GOP majority is functioning, according to a Stockton University Poll released today.

Only 13% of New Jersey adults approved of the way Congress is doing its job, while almost 80% disapproved. That result has been consistent in recent years of polling, but the new poll by the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University shows that Republicans especially have taken a hit from their own base.

Among Democrats, 67% approved of how their party is conducting itself in Congress, with 21% disapproving. But only 46% of Republicans approved of how Republican members are doing their jobs and 46% disapproved. Independents basically called out both parties, with 67% disapproving of the Democrats and 76% disapproving of the Republicans.

“In our hyperpartisan times, the two parties diverge and huge majorities take opposing sides in every poll no matter what the issue. So, for this many Republicans to not voice support for their team is significant,” said John Froonjian, director of the Hughes Center.

“With every failed attempt to elect a House speaker, even Republicans in Washington are bemoaning the damage they are doing to their brand, not to mention the country,” Froonjian said.

The poll of 630 New Jersey adults has a margin of error of +/- 3.9 percentage points.

The poll also contained gloomy news for the Democrats. In blue-state New Jersey, Democratic President Joe Biden’s approval registered at 38%, with a majority (54%) saying they disapprove of the job he is doing. The typical partisan split was evident on this question, with 76% of Democrats approving and 5% of Republicans approving of Biden. Importantly, only 30% of Garden State independent voters approved of the president’s performance and 59% disapproved.

  Democrats Republicans Indep.
Biden approval/disapproval 76%-16% 5%-95% 30%-59%
Congressional approval/disapproval 18%-75% 8%-88% 10%-80%
Congressional Dems approval/disapproval 67%-21% 7%-92% 20%-67%
Congressional Republicans approval/disapproval 5%-88% 46%-46% 16%-76%


Regarding the U.S. senators for New Jersey, nearly three in four voters (72%) had an unfavorable view of Sen. Bob Menendez, while 8% had a favorable opinion and 12% were unfamiliar with him. Meanwhile, 46% viewed Sen. Cory Booker favorably and 35% unfavorably, while 12% were also unfamiliar with the junior senator.

Menendez and his wife, Nadine, were charged by the U.S. Justice Department last month in a bribery scheme. He was also recently accused of acting as a foreign agent for Egypt. Nearly 80% of residents were very familiar (38%) or somewhat familiar (41%) with the charges brought against Menendez. One in five were not at all familiar with the case.

A strong majority (71%) said Menendez should resign from his Senate position, while just 8% said he should remain in office. Just under one-fifth were not sure (17%). This position was bipartisan, with 78% of Democrats and 79% of Republicans calling for his resignation. 

Views of the Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court was not exempt from the approval ratings slump. Statewide, just over one-third somewhat (21%) or strongly (13%) approved of the job the court is doing, while more than half (54%) somewhat (16%) or strongly (38%) disapproved. 

That rating was reversed among Republicans, however, with 54% saying they approve of the job the court is doing and 33% saying they disapprove. Among Democrats, 13% approve and 79% disapprove. Last year, the court overturned its prior ruling on the constitutionality of abortion in Roe v. Wade, a goal long sought by conservatives.

“These findings highlight just how politically polarizing the highest court has become,” said Hughes Center Research Associate Alyssa Maurice. 

More than half said they have a lot of trust (13%) or some trust (42%) in the Supreme Court, while 4 in 10 say they have hardly any (25%) or no trust (18%) in the institution. 

Find full poll results here.


The poll of New Jersey adults was conducted by the Stockton Polling Institute of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy from October 9-18, 2023. Stockton University students texted cell phones with invitations to take the survey online and Opinion Services supplemented the dialing portion of the fieldwork, which consisted of cell and landline telephone calls. Overall, 92% of interviews were conducted on cell phones and 8% on landline phones. In terms of mode, 79% were reached via dialing and 21% were reached via text-to-web. A total of 630 New Jersey adult residents were interviewed. Both cell and landline samples consisted of New Jersey voter list and random digit dialing (RDD) sample from MSG. Data are weighted based on U.S. Census Bureau ACS 2021 data for New Jersey on variables of age, race, education level, and sex. The poll's margin of error is +/- 3.9 percentage points at a 95% confidence level. MOE is higher for subsets.

About the Hughes Center

The William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University serves as a catalyst for research, analysis and innovative policy solutions on the economic, social and cultural issues facing New Jersey, and promotes the civic life of New Jersey through engagement, education and research. The center is named for the late William J. Hughes, whose distinguished career includes service in the U.S. House of Representatives, Ambassador to Panama and as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Stockton. The Hughes Center can be found on YouTube, and can be followed on Facebook @StocktonHughesCenter and X @hughescenter.

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