Wednesday, September 19, 2007

11% Approve of the Democratic Congress

As we inch ever so slowly toward the presidential primaries and 2008 congressional campaigns, Zogby/Reuters polling still shows Congress at an all-time low now 11% approval rating. The deeper the hole is dug, the more difficult it will be for Democratic candidates to climb out of it. It doesn't necessarily follow, however, that voters will simply shift back to the GOP they rejected in 2006. In some cases, sure. But with the number of voters registering as independents continuing to climb, candidates will have to have a message that connects to independents—not a squishy middle-of-the-road message—but one that reaches out to all but the fringes. Who can do that effectively remains to be seen, but the effort should be interesting to watch.


Liza said...

Geez, what could that 11% be thinking? The approval rating should be hovering around 0% now. Maybe that 11% includes people who are in mental institutions, comas, etc...

Sirocco said...

Actually, it wold be quite easy for Democratic candidates to "climb out of the hole".

People are upset with Congress because they don't feel it's doing enough to oppose the administration, particularly in regards to the war. Start actually taking real steps in that direction (such as refusing to pass another supplemental spending bill unless deadlines are attached), and you'll see the rating go up with every Presidential veto.

AZAce said...

I think that is only a small piece of the puzzle. People are also upset about the illegal immigration issue, the economy, earmarks and spending, corruption, etc. And the fact that it hasn't gotten better despite the campaign rhetoric of last year.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure that those pieces of the puzzle add much to the picture...especially in comparison to Iraq.

I think that it is pretty clear that people see that the country is moving in the wrong direction and that the wheel of our ship has been guided by the GOP. A large portion of the anger at Congress are those who are angry at the GOP for blocking bills...another large portion is those who are angry at both parties for not bringing that change. Then there are the Republican stalwarks (always a good 30-35%) that would hold any Democrat led Congress in low esteem. Add all those together and I am sure that you would only have about 11% left.

The question now is whether 2 years of Congressional power by the Dems...and barely enough power to overcome the blocked votes Republicans wage...will be enough to lead the public back to the GOP.

If people want change, they could go anti-incumbent on us, which may get us right back into a divided Congress. They could really hammer the GOP for getting us into this mess and blocking any votes to lead us out of it (including the comprehensive package on immigration). I guess they could also think that the 2 years of Democratic control was a failure and that the GOP has the solution to our problems of the day.

Of the three groups of people out there that I mention above who hate Congress, the most impossible to keep from voting GOP will be the republican stalwarts. Those that are angry that nothing is getting done because of the partisan rancor and GOP blocked votes could easily be swayed to vote Democrat again. Those who are angry at the Democrats for doing nothing...well...they might be swayed by the change in message that is about to happen now that Webb's bill was blocked yesterday in the Senate.

I suspect we will see a Congress that knows it can't budge those who support the President. They will take every opportunity to pass reasonable legislation...and they will do everything they can to remind voters of what the GOP is about...backing this President and covering his tracks at all cost.

I still think...despite the 11% approval rating...that the GOP is looking at a massive, masssive defeat in 2008. The White House will be gone, I am betting the Dems pick up as many as 6 more seats in the Senate...and I will bet that they will capture another 20 -25 seats in the House.

Sirocco said...


Poll after poll after poll has consistently found the reason Congress is viewed poorly is specifically because it is viewed as _not_ doing enough to challenge the administration on the war and related issues (wiretapping, habeas corpus, etc.).

In computer science and math there is a phrase called "big O notation". It basically denotes what the largest, most significant term of a function is. All other terms get subsumed by the big one.

Right now, everything is big O(war). Everything else you mentioned are legitimate concerns, but they all get subsumed by the bigger term.

x4mr said...

I be sure th' swabbies be furious wi' th' democrats fer failin' t' be more supportive o' our Chief an' gettin' behind his cause. Th' anger at Congress dasn't involve rage o'er the'r nay stoppin' th' Chief an' his war against Iraq an' nay willin' t' listen t' th' swabbies.

Bruce P. Murchison said...

Extremism on either side is dangerous. When one refuses to even listen to the other side, chaos erupts. The Democrats are just as fractured in their party as the Republicans are in theirs. Southern Democrats, who tend to be a bit conservative, are not walking lockstep with the Pelosi and Reid camps. The same is true of some of the moderate to liberal Republicans. While Iraq is a big issue, the election most likely will be decided on more tangible issues like Health care, Education and Illegal immigration; that is, things happening here on our own soil. The main frustration with congress is that they are not dealing with any of these issues. If the politicians will stick to a message that addresses the concerns of the majority of people, the Iraq War will not be the deciding factor. Conservatives, when they actually stick to their values, tend to be favored by the public. Many (not all) of the Republicans that lost in 2006 lost to conservative Democrats. No candidate is going to appease everyone, and they shouldn't try. Politicians should spend less time trying to look good to their base and more time doing good.

Anonymous said...

Politicians should spend less time trying to look good to their base and more time doing good.

I agree Bruce! That is the one thing I really like about Huckabee of Arkansas. I dont agree with him on everything, but he has proven himself to be a pragmatic Governor who cares greatly about education, healthcare, the poor. I like his extention to a belief that being pro-life means taking care of the living as well as the unborn and the dying.

As for Congress doing nothing. I would be careful about underestimating them on this. They have pushed through one of the largest increases in Pell Grants that we have seen in 30 kids can better afford college. They have taken on the loan industry and have made it easier to get student loans and to not have predatory pricing of these loans. They are also finishing a monster bill that would provide healthcare to poor children...something the President sees as expensive and has vowed to veto.

I think there are many many successes that will be trumpeted. Those bills that have failed, will have failed at the doorstop of the administration...who as you note...seems to be more concerned about the base, then helping people.