• Polling

Democratic Legislators Outperform Their Party and Their Republican Counterparts on Constituent Trust

Wednesday, January 31, 2024 By Ian Smith
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Poll: Trust and Economic Landscape

This Navigating the Battleground report contains polling data on how constituents are assessing the job performance and trust of their members of Congress across party and issue areas.

Perceptions of the economy may be starting to improve, though they remain deeply negative.


While attitudes have slightly improved since our October survey, battleground constituents continue to hold deeply negative views on the economy. By 35 points, seven in ten battleground constituents rate the economy negatively (32 percent positive – 67 percent negative), a net 12-point improvement in margin from our October survey (net -47; 26 percent positive – 73 percent negative) and a net 17-point improvement dating back to last spring (net -52; 23 percent positive – 75 percent negative). 

  • While “inflation and the cost of living” remains the most important issue Congress should make a top priority to battleground constituents (33 percent rate it as one of their top two issues), nearly two in three in the battleground believe Republicans are more focused on non-economic issues (63 percent) than economic issues (23 percent), including 61 percent of independents who believe Republicans are focused more on non-economic issues. 63 percent of constituents also continue to believe that Republicans in Congress are prioritizing the wrong things, with only 29 percent saying they are prioritizing the right things.
Bar graph of polling data from Navigator Research. Title: Views of the Economy Remain Dismal, But Appear to Be Slowly Trending Upward
Bar graph of polling data from Navigator Research. Title: Nearly Two in Three Battleground Constituents Continue to Believe Republicans Are Prioritizing the Wrong Things
Bar graph of polling data from Navigator Research. Title: Constituents See Republicans in Congress As Focused More on Non-Economic Issues

Congressional Republicans continue to be less popular than Congressional Democrats.


While both Democrats and Republicans in Congress are net underwater among constituents on favorability, Republicans in Congress are more unfavorable than Democrats in Congress. Congressional Republican favorability has remained consistently low following a large drop during Mike Johnson’s speakership election last October, with three in five constituents holding unfavorable views toward Republicans in Congress (net -21; 39 percent favorable – 60 percent unfavorable). By comparison, congressional Democrats are also underwater, but less so (net -11; 43 percent favorable – 54 percent unfavorable). 

  • This pattern of comparative advantage extends to named legislators: Democratic legislators are viewed more favorably by their constituents than Republican legislators are viewed by constituents in their districts. Notably, Democratic legislators are viewed net positively (net +7; 41 percent favorable – 34 percent unfavorable), and Republican legislators are viewed net negatively (net -4; 36 percent favorable – 40 percent unfavorable).
  • Moreover, when it comes to economic approval, while both Democratic and Republican legislators have net negative approval ratings, constituents are roughly split on how Democratic legislators are doing (net -3; 36 percent positive – 40 percent negative), while constituents in districts represented by Republican legislators are net negative about their member of Congress by double digits (net -11; 29 percent positive – 40 percent negative).
Bar graph of polling data from Navigator Research. Title: While Both Parties are Unpopular, Republicans in Congress Are More Unpopular Than Democrats in Congress
Bar graph of polling data from Navigator Research. Title: Named Congressional Lawmakers Reflect the Same Pattern: Named Democrats Net Positive; Named Republicans Net Negative
Bar graph of polling data from Navigator Research. Title: While Both Parties are Underwater on Economic Handling, Democratic Lawmakers Outperform Republicans

Democrats in Congress earn more trust on issues like abortion, health care, and democracy protection while Republicans in Congress are more trusted to handle the economy and fight inflation.


Among battleground constituents, Democrats are trusted more on the issues of abortion, making health care and prescription drugs more affordable, and protecting democracy, while Republicans are trusted more on handling the economy and fighting inflation. Democrats hold a 26-point trust advantage on protecting abortion rights (52 percent trust Democrats more – 26 percent trust Republicans more), an 18-point trust advantage on making health care and prescription drugs more affordable (45 percent trust Democrats more – 27 percent trust Republicans more), and a 6-point advantage on protecting democracy (44 percent trust Democrats more – 38 percent trust Republicans more). By contrast, Republicans hold a 10-point advantage on fighting inflation (32 percent trust Democrats more – 42 percent trust Republicans more) and a 9-point advantage on handling the economy (35 percent trust Democrats more – 44 percent trust Republicans more). 

Bar graph of polling data from Navigator Research. Title: Democrats Trusted More on Abortion, Health Care, and Democracy; Republicans Trusted More on Economic Measures

However, named Democratic legislators earn higher trust ratings than Republican legislators across all issue areas — including handling the economy and fighting inflation.


Democratic legislators hold the largest trust advantages on issues where Democrats are generally trusted more, including abortion (57 percent trust their Democratic representative “a lot” or “somewhat,” compared to just 26 percent who trust their Republican representative at least “somewhat”), making health care and prescription drugs more affordable (54 percent trust their Democratic representative “a lot” or “somewhat,” compared to just 35 percent who trust their Republican representative at least “somewhat”), and protecting democracy (51 percent trust their Democratic representative “a lot” or “somewhat,” compared to just 41 percent who trust their Republican representative at least “somewhat”).

  • Yet, while Republicans have a general trust advantage on economic issues, Democratic legislators earn comparable to higher ratings than Republican legislators when it comes to handling the economy (46 percent trust their Democratic representative in Congress “a lot” or “somewhat,” compared to 43 percent who trust their Republican representative at least “somewhat”) and “fighting inflation” (45 percent trust their Democratic representative “a lot” or “somewhat,” compared to just 42 percent who trust their Republican representative at least “somewhat”).
Bar graph of polling data from Navigator Research. Title: Constituents Trust Named Democratic Lawmakers More Than Republicans, Including on Inflation and the Economy

Four in Five Support Cracking Down on Rent Gouging

Polling data on housing, including the share who blame greedy landlords for rent gouging, and what policies Americans would like to see enacted to lower housing costs.

More Than Four in Five Say Cracking Down on Corporate Greed Should Be a Priority

Polling data on how government should deal with inflation, and support for recent labor and consumer protection actions implemented or proposed by the Biden administration.

Two in Three Blame Oil Companies for Rising Gas Prices

Polling data on which industries are seen as most prone to corporate greed and who Americans trust to decide tax rates.

About The Study

Impact Research conducted public opinion surveys among a sample of 1,500 likely 2024 general election voters from January 11-15, 2024. The survey was conducted by text-to-web (100 percent). Respondents were verified against a voter file and special care was taken to ensure the demographic composition of our sample matched that of the 61 congressional districts included in the sample across a variety of demographic variables. The margin of error for the full sample at the 95 percent level of confidence is +/- 2.5 percentage points. The margin for error for subgroups varies and is higher.

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About Navigator

In a world where the news cycle is the length of a tweet, our leaders often lack the real-time public-sentiment analysis to shape the best approaches to talking about the issues that matter the most. Navigator is designed to act as a consistent, flexible, responsive tool to inform policy debates by conducting research and reliable guidance to inform allies, elected leaders, and the press. Navigator is a project led by pollsters from Global Strategy Group and GBAO along with an advisory committee, including: Andrea Purse, progressive strategist; Arkadi Gerney, The Hub Project; Joel Payne, The Hub Project; Christina Reynolds, EMILY’s List; Delvone Michael, Working Families; Felicia Wong, Roosevelt Institute; Mike Podhorzer, AFL-CIO; Jesse Ferguson, progressive strategist; Navin Nayak, Center for American Progress Action Fund; Stephanie Valencia, EquisLabs; and Melanie Newman, Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

For press inquiries contact: press@navigatorresearch.org