Recent polling numbers are not good news for any members of Congress and especially bad for any who are running for reelection. All of the legitimate surveys of the public reveal record-low approval for Congress. For example, the latest Fox News poll showed 12% approval and 83% disapproval. At about the same time, the CBS/New York Times poll had approval at 11% with disapproval at 84%.
A third survey by Gallup was similar (14% approval and 82% disapproval). Anybody trying to find a silver-lining in these numbers will have an impossible task. Interestingly, the low ratings are across the political spectrum. Republicans, Democrats and Independents all gave Congress an approval rating of between 11% and 15%. The current yearly average by Gallup – which has been in the polling business for years – was the lowest the company had tracked since 1974. The question is: who benefits from the strong disapproval of the performance on members of the House and Senate?
The bottom line is simply that the public is totally dissatisfied with the performance of both parties in Congress. But some political observers believe the last year has been much harder on Republicans. Their leaders have been so busy attacking the President and blocking his programs that they have neglected to consider how their partisan efforts are being perceived by the public.
It should be noted that one of the sore spots with the public relates to honesty and ethics. For example, in the Gallup poll only 7% rate members of Congress’ honesty and ethical standards as “very high” or “high.” I am not sure how to evaluate those findings, but the very low numbers on ethical conduct surely don’t help anybody in Congress. But when you plug in the ratings of “very low” and “low” being 64%, I suspect that spells bad trouble for incumbents who are seeking another term next year. The high and low ratings for Congress, being the worst ever recorded, surely sends a clear message that the public is fed up with Congress. But will all of this affect next year’s elections? Stay tuned!
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