According to all recent polls, members of Congress face historically low approval ratings, which should come as no big surprise. A most recent poll revealed that just 12% of Americans now approve of the way Congress is handling its job. This matches the all-time low recorded in October 2008 at the height of the economic crisis, according to the New York Times/CBS News poll.
Voters are slightly more disapproving of Republicans in Congress than they are of Democrats, with just 19% approving of Republicans, compared with 28% that approve of Democrats. Significantly, Republican voters are more dissatisfied with their party’s representatives than are Democrats. Half of Republican voters say they disapprove of Republicans in Congress, while 43% of Democratic voters say they disapprove of Democrats in Congress. Independents are slightly less approving of Congressional Republicans than Congressional Democrats.
Interestingly, only 6% of registered voters say that most members of Congress have earned re-election, while 84% say it’s time to give someone new a chance, which is said to be a historic low for the New York Times/CBS poll. Dissatisfaction with Congress runs deep across both parties, with more than eight in ten of both Republicans and Democrats saying it’s time to elect new representatives. In follow-up interviews, partisanship and bickering were given as major reasons for respondents’ disapproval of Congress. I believe that the leadership in both parties should get this message and try hard to work together for the common good.
When pollsters asked about voters’ own representatives in Congress, they expressed generally more positive or supportive views. But public opinion has changed, with many now saying it’s time for someone else to have a chance. Just 33% of voters say their own representative in Congress deserves to be re-elected, and 57% say it’s time to elect someone else — another record level of dissatisfaction.
According to the polls, Democratic and Independent voters are slightly more frustrated with their own representatives, with about six in ten of each saying it’s time for a new person. This shouldn’t be too surprising since Republicans are currently in control of the House. But nearly half of Republican voters also say their own representative does not deserve re-election. That has to be very bad news for a number of Republicans who have been scared to do anything that would cause the Tea Party bosses to be unhappy.
It’s certainly possible that the current dissatisfaction with Congress may point to another “change” election in 2012. The 2006, 2008 and 2010 elections were all considered at the time to be referendums on voters’ disapproval with things in Washington. The 2012 election for members of Congress has to be a referendum on how voters perceive the behavior in Congress over the past two years. No member of Congress – regardless of party affiliation – can feel real good about the public’s anti-incumbent feelings as evidenced by the Poll results.
Source: New York Times
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