Congressional Approval Rating Soars ... to 31 Percent

The American public has just given Congress a big thumbs-up. Or at least a half-hearted acknowledgement they are improving, which is more than they usually get. 

A new Gallup poll shows Congress earned a 31 percent approval rating this month, its highest score in two years. 

While the number is still quite low, and makes Congress about half as popular as President Obama, it represents a 12-point uptick from last month when Congress' popularity was clocking in at 19 percent. 

That rating has mostly floated below 30 percent since October 2005 and hit an all-time low at 14 percent in July of last year. 

The increase reflects higher ratings from Democrats and may take into account Democratic lawmakers' success in passing a nearly $800 billion stimulus plan. 

One senior House GOP aide downplayed the spike. 

"Given that the Democratic congressional leadership just passed a trillion-dollar spending bill with no Republican input, it's not surprising that liberal folks would tell pollsters they are happier with Congress," the aide said. 

The poll was conducted Feb. 9-12 and based on interviews with 1,022 adults. The margin of error was 3 points.