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Posted by on May 15, 2007 in At TMV | 19 comments

Congress: Less Popular Than… Bush

Believe it or not: the US Congress gets lower approval ratings than president George W. Bush: 29% of those polled approve of how the US Congress is functioning, while 33% of those asked believe that Bush is doing a stellar job.

Although it is normal for Congress to have quite low approval ratings, one cannot help but notice that the approval ratings of Congress have dropped quite significantly since, say, January this year. Remarkably enough, only 37% of Democratic voters approve of what the US Congress is doing: it seems that Republicans are more loyal than their Democratic counterparts. 73% of Republicans believe that Bush is doing great for instance.

Also noteworthy, and cause for concern it seems to me: only 24% of independents approve of the job Congress is doing (even Republicans are more positive, slightly, but still).

Time for the Democrats to focus more on issues that bring together the left and center?

Cross posted at my own blog.

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Copyright 2007 The Moderate Voice
  • mikkel

    I’m tired of people citing one poll when there is a great site that shows all the polls and the current trends http://www.pollster.com This is their congressional approval page http://www.pollster.com/ACongApprovalCurrent.php

  • Somebody

    Is Snow right? Have the numbers really “come up” that much? Snow is presumably thinking about two nearly identical results asked on two recently released national polls:

    * CNN/ORC (5/4-6, n=1,208 adults): “Do you think that the U.S. war in Iraq is lost, or don’t you think so?”

    41% lost
    55% don’t think so
    4% don’t know

    * Quinnipiac (4/25-5/1, n=1,166 registered voters): “Do you think that the U.S. war in Iraq is lost, or don’t you think so?”

    41% lost
    49 don’t think so
    11% unsure

    From your site.

  • Gallup is very trustworthy as far as I know, but thanks for that link!

  • Somebody

    But to respond to your post MVDG> When the congress is led by

    Nancy “SAVE THE TUNA” PELOSI
    Harry “THE WAR IS LOST” REID
    Barack “IM SO CONFUSED” OBAMA

    There is no wonder their approval rating is lower then Bush’s.

  • George Sorwell

    Wow! The Republicans have nothing to worry about in the next election!

    Aside to Somebody: Save the TUNA?

  • domajot

    It’s time for the Democrats to do what?
    We have a recalcitrant President and Rpublicans in Congress who block anything and everything the Dems try to do. They are called ‘principled’ by their electorate. What is ‘principled’ today was called ‘obstuctionist’ yesterday, when the majorities were reversed.
    We have a block of voters who wanted out of Iraq yesterday, and they are clamoring for the Dems to deliver their dreams. Instead, the Dems have tried to walk a more moderate path on Iraq.
    According to this assessment,
    that’s not being ‘centrist’.

    So, where is this ‘centrist’ position to be found while the ‘principled’ Republicans bide their time to weigh their chances in the next election? Maybe the Dems have no choice but to wait until ‘centrist’ joins them.

    The country is divided and confused, and Congress mirrors the country. I, too, would like someone to wave a magic wand to make us all love one another, but someone told me the Fairy Godmother wasn’t real.

  • Political support for institutions is not a zero-sum partisan game, George. The long-standing public disdain for Congress and the volatility of Presidential support are artifacts of a general decline in American public trust in public institutions. The last time this sort of general decline was seen was…wait for it…the post-Vietnam era.

    I don’t think that the best approach is to play games (even sarcastically) about which party will or won’t benefit in the next election. Doing that just means making the same trivial-thinking errors that dominate in the media these days. I think the better approach is to consider ways to either reinvigorate or reform institutions generally to make them more trustworthy and accountable.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of ideas in this area either. I just don’t see any benefit to casting everything in partisan terms any more. Neither party is likely to spontaneously become a fountain of reformist ideas — both parties benefit too much from simply trading turns at the trough.

  • George Sorwell

    Jason–

    That was a very earnest comment and I agree with you. However, I stand by my earlier sarcasm, which I was using to make the very same point you are making. No one is served by the toxic lack of trust in our politics.

    I think one way to make our Congress more accountable would be to end the gerrymandering of our Congressional districts. This is something I write about frequently in the comments–not that I expect you to keep up with all the comments in all the threads here at TMV.

    Domajot–

    I also wonder where the “centrist” position on the war is to be found.

    MvdG–

    By the way, according to an AS/Ipsos poll dated May 11, Nancy Pelosi has a 45% approval rating.

  • I think one way to make our Congress more accountable would be to end the gerrymandering of our Congressional districts.

    True, but how? Robert Bork, in his book The Tempting of America shares an anecdote from early in his judicial career when he was tasked with resolving a deadlock in redistricting in (I believe) Massachusetts. Within days of the tasking, he was approached by a computer expert who promised to be able to produce a faultless gerrymander on whatever criteria Bork wanted. Bork rejected him and did the redistricting purely on geographic grounds. His redistricting plan was rejected by the legislature because it failed to gerrymander enough.

    This bipartisan legislative imperative to gerrymander is exacerbated by two decades of court decisions that mandate gerrymandering in the name of crafting a quota of racially controlled legislative districts. In short, the institutional barriers that support gerrymandering are formidable and difficult for reformists to access.

  • domajot

    ‘to end the gerrymandering” , like George Sorwell says, would be a great thing.

    It’s a humungus task, however, as the politicians look at it with a “what’s in it for me’ bias. The rules from state to state also vary greatly, as I understand it. Even so, count me in, 100%.

  • George Sorwell

    Jason–

    I favor the Iowa model. Sorry, I can’t find a link to it right now.

  • Lynx

    I think that one way Congress could get better ratings is showing the American people that they do something other than politically tussle with the president. Iraq is important, we all know it, but so is healthcare, education, housing and any number of other things. Congress needs to start getting into the nuts and bolts of people’s lives, passing bills than are meaningful to the day to day lives of your average American. If they are ALREADY doing that, then they need to work at showing that they are doing it. I support pulling out of Iraq, but I’d love to hear what you’re doing on all the OTHER issues. We seem to have forgotten that there’s a whole country called the United States whose internal workings also need tending to.

    George and Jason, here’s a link for the Iowa thing:
    http://www.centrists.org/pages/2004/07/7_buck_trust.html

  • pacatrue

    I’ve always been of the opinion that the Democrats should be finding issues right now that it would be very hard for Republicans to compaign too hard against and yet are still important to Democrats. Possible candidates are programs to decrease the rate of abortion without making it illegal, increased energy independence, and the deficit.

  • casualobserver

    Hell, we could start well down the path just by passing stuff already out there………ethics reform, no earmarks, term limits.

  • Elrod

    Much of this anger comes from Democrats disappointed in Congress’s inability to stop the war. But the failure so far to enact ethics reform and other domestic measures equally problematic. Frankly, there is no excuse not to pass ethics reforms. From what I understand, the House passed it in the first week of the new term. It’s the Senate that’s dragging its feet. Presumably it’s because of Republicans like McConnell who threaten to filibuster. But the Dems should be able to get a 60-vote majority anyway.

  • George Sorwell

    Lynx–

    Thanx!

  • Somebody

    Aside to Somebody: Save the TUNA?

    Didn’t you hear? When the minimum wage bill was passed American Samoa did not have to adhere to it.

    Turns out that Star kiss has a big processing plant in American Samoa and that their corporate headquarters is located in Nanny Pelosi’s home district.

    House Republicans yesterday declared “something fishy” about the major tuna company in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco district being exempted from the minimum-wage increase that Democrats approved this week.

    The MOST ETHICAL CONGRESS IN HISTORY Got off to a blazing start with Nanny Pelosi’s first act being so overwhelmingly abetted by special interests. Amazing huh?

  • Frankly, there is no excuse not to pass ethics reforms. From what I understand, the House passed it in the first week of the new term. It’s the Senate that’s dragging its feet. Presumably it’s because of Republicans like McConnell who threaten to filibuster. But the Dems should be able to get a 60-vote majority anyway.

    Unless the alleged threat of Republican filibuster is just an excuse. It could be that Democrats are not really any more ethically pure than the people they replaced. Why is that possibility so hard to allow for?

  • George Sorwell

    Somebody–

    Sorry I didn’t get the TUNA joke. But you may be interested to read that the tuna story, like so many other charges against Pelosi, turned out to be a bunch of BS!

    Of course, all that really matters is that our dumb media passes this type of nonsense along.

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