Despite extremely low job approval numbers for Congress, Americans believe that Congress should have a role in deciding whether or not the United States will support the recent nuclear agreement with Iran, according to a Suffolk University/USA TODAY national poll.

Among the 1,000 adults surveyed nationwide, just 11 percent said they approved of the job Congress is doing while 77 percent disapproved. Yet, 72 percent said that Congress should have a role in the Iran agreement. There were 19 percent who said that Congress should not have a role.

“There are balance of power issues in play,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “Despite low job approval numbers, people would like to see the input from Democrats and Republicans in Congress.

President Obama’s job approval, much higher than that of Congress, dipped from 46 percent in a January 2015 Suffolk University/USA TODAY poll to 42 percent today while his disapproval rating was 48 percent in both polls.

“The current state of the Iran negotiations may even account for a temporary downdraft in President Obama’s job approval as some people may have shifted from approve to undecided,” said Paleologos.

Overall, the poll showed that 46 percent of respondents approved of the deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program, 37 percent disapproved, while 18 percent were undecided. Among those undecided about the president’s job approval, 45 percent approved of the Iran deal while 18 percent disapproved, but 37 percent were undecided.

Presidential election

As more and more candidates from both political parties announce their intentions to run for president, respondents are selecting front-runner political names early in the campaign season. In an open-ended question to Republican voters, 9 percent named Scott Walker followed by Jeb Bush (8 percent), Ted Cruz (7 percent), Rand Paul (5 percent), Ben Carson (4 percent), Marco Rubio (2 percent), while eight other possible candidates received 1 percent or less.

There were 59 percent of Republicans who couldn’t name someone they would want the GOP to nominate.

On the Democratic side, 43 percent named Hillary Clinton followed by Elizabeth Warren, who has said she is not running (5 percent), while Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley and Joe Biden received 1 percent or less. Forty-eight percent of Democratic voters couldn’t name someone they would like to see the Democratic Party nominate for President.

“As the standout known quantity in the Democratic primary this is good and bad news for Hillary Clinton,” said Paleologos. “It’s good news in that her current landslide margin disarms potential party opponents from attracting top level operatives and big money. However, if Clinton has only one or two major opponents, the large undecided count is an opening for an opponent to close the gap.”

Despite the initial support for Clinton, when Democrats were asked how important it is for the Democratic Party to offer some strong challengers to Hillary Clinton 55 percent said very important and 25 percent said somewhat important.


The Suffolk University/USA TODAY survey was conducted via landline and cell phone. The field of 1,000 adults was conducted Wednesday, April 8 through Monday, April 13. The margin of error is +/-3 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. Results are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310,