To address this question, we utilize data from Pew Research Center’s 2011 Political Typology Survey. Here the response variable is a four-point scale of respondents’ evaluations of Congress, ranging from very unfavorable (1) to very favorable (4). We model Congressional favorability as a function of several demographic and political variables in an effort to determine which factors matter (and which don’t) in promoting positive evaluations of Congress. The results of our ordered probit regression (Stata output) are below.
Using the p < 0.10 criterion of statistical significance, age and higher levels of educational attainment are associated with lower evaluations of Congress. Interestingly, regular consumption of news from conservative media sources (Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and Glen Beck) or liberal media (MSNBC, NPR, and The New York Times) does not produce more negative attitudes about Congress, but having strong ideological views (identifying as either a “strong conservative” or a “strong liberal”) has a negative effect.