May 15, 2007

Congress Dives Below Bush Line

If the Democrats have had a few laughs looking at approval ratings for George Bush, the laughter has probably stopped this morning after Gallup's latest survey. It shows that Congress has even lower ratings than the President, and the number has dropped consistently since the Democrats first took charge:

A new Gallup Poll finds continued low levels of public support for both Congress and President George W. Bush. Twenty-nine percent of Americans approve of Congress, down slightly from last month's reading (33%) and this year's high point of 37%, while Bush's approval rating is holding steady at 33%. Both the ratings of Congress and the president are slightly lower than their respective 2007 averages. Approval ratings of Congress are higher among Democrats than Republicans, while Bush's ratings are much higher among Republicans.

According to the May 10-13, 2007, Gallup Poll, 29% of Americans approve and 64% disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job. Congressional approval is down 4 percentage points since last month, and is 3 points lower than the 32% average measured during the first five months of the year. The high point for the congressional approval rating so far this year was the 37% approval measured in February. Although ratings are quite low, Americans have been more positive in their assessments of Congress this year than last year, when an average of just 25% approved of Congress.

How bad is it? Even Democrats mostly disapprove of Congress. Only 37% of the majority party's voters think that Congress has performed well; Gallup doesn't mention the percentage that disapproves, but it seems almost certain that it outstrips 37%, unless more than 26% are clueless. Congress gets its worst ratings not from Republicans (25%), but from independents (24%). That should get the attention of leadership in both chambers, who owe their majorities to those independents.

The decline has not taken long, and is ironically steepest among Democrats. Approval ratings for Congress peaked at an embarrassing 37% in February, just after Congress convened. Democrats at that time gave it a meager 44% approval at that time. Since then, support has dropped 7 points among Democrats and nine points among independents.

Norm Coleman said yesterday that he believed the midterms to have a practical message rather than an ideological mandate. These numbers tend to underscore that analysis.

The Democrats had better start producing something other than sound bites if they want to hang onto their majorities in 2008. The electorate has already grown tired of posturing, and their patience has run out on partisan games. We're now at Day 100 for funding the troops, arguably the highest priority in national security, and we still don't have a supplemental bill that can reach a broad consensus. We have no movement on the Democrats' own agenda. It's possibly the worst do-nothing Congress in memory -- and the people have noticed.


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Comments (22)

Posted by RBMN | May 15, 2007 9:59 AM

Democrat leaders (like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi) can succeed honor-free for only so long. Honor is like vitamin C. Without honor, sooner or later the scurvy sets in.

Posted by Charles | May 15, 2007 10:18 AM

The poll numbers for Bush are meaningless, as he isn't up for re-election.

The poll numbers for "Congress" are also meaningless, because national polls on statewide (at most) elections don't give any indication that the brave citizens of Alaska are going to fail to re-elect Ted Stevens or that the wise voters in West Virginia are going to send Robert Byrd's body back to the Senate. And they will.

Well, maybe not Ted, after his "family troubles".

Posted by NoDonkey | May 15, 2007 10:25 AM

Hopefully, a lot of the soon-to-be one term Democrat Congressmen realize that the nightmare team of Pelosi/Reid are driving their careers off of a cliff.

The media did their best to get this clown leadership into office, but the media can't cover up the fact that these people do not belong in control of Congress.

Pelosi and Reid are being led around on a nutroots leash. Are they really so stupid that they believe that the nutroots represent any more than 1% of the nation's voters? What does that say about their judgement?

Vote in lockstep with these two corrupt incompetents and 2008, and the newly minted Democrat Congressmen will be out the door and into a taxi heading for Reagan National Airport.

Let's hope some of the Democrats have a sanity injection and defect to the Republicans. We may have a Republican majority again in 2007.

Posted by Paint CHiPs | May 15, 2007 11:06 AM

"We're now at Day 100 for funding the troops, arguably the highest priority in national security, and we still don't have a supplemental bill that can reach a broad consensus."

This will be an unpopular sentiment, but it seems just as likely, given the nature of the polling on the specific questions of Iraq, that the public is growing restless with the Democratic Congress because they're not doing ENOUGH to force their agenda.

2/3s of Americans broadly approve of their agenda (as opposed to 2/3s or so who broadly disapprove of the President's), and though the issue is certainly complicated, it doesn't seem to me that it's because not enough is getting done to fund the troops promptly enough, but that not enough is being done to force timetables and solid benchmarks.

Not that that disagrees with what you're saying, but in judging relative partisan popularity, it's a distinction worth considering. Because, if that's the case, it seems unlikely that the dissatisfaction is going to lead voters to throw out Democrats in favor of Republicans (unless, of course, Republicans begin to outflank Democrats on the agenda that the public supports).

We'll see where all that stands six months from now, of course.

Posted by NoDonkey | May 15, 2007 11:19 AM

"2/3s of Americans broadly approve of their agenda"

Not even close. First of all, Republicans are at least 40% of the electorate. They don't approve of the far left agenda being pushed by the current Congressional Leadership.

Second of all, Independents rate this Congress low as well.

Thirdly, Democrats ran against what they called a "do-nothing Congress" and against a "Culture of Corruption".

Since they've taken office, Democrats have been both "do-nothing" and corrupt (e.g. Feinstein, Jefferson, Reid, Pelosi).

Lastly, one of the messages supposedly sent by the American people during the last election was that they were tired of "partisan bickering".

The current Congressional Leadership is more partisan and more unwilling to work with the minority power, than any other Congress in history.

This Congress is already a miserable failure but it looks like they will only sink lower. Pelosi and Reid are not leaders.

Posted by pennywit | May 15, 2007 11:40 AM

Gah! The congressional approval rating has always annoyed me for its lack of newsworthiness. Except for those rare occasions featuring an election that prominently features national issues, the important question is not "What do you think of Congress," but "What do you think of your Congressman?"

Of course, one could argue that given the national-issue status of an election less than a year gone, and the likely nationalization of the coming quadrennial festivities, the Democrats in Congress may have a wee bit of a problem.


Posted by Shoprat | May 15, 2007 11:52 AM

With people like Pelosi and Reid running the show, a Do Nothing congress is a blessing.

I agree with Charles above that this fails to show who will support their own representative even if they oppose Congress as a whole (which has always been a problem in this country.)

Nonetheless, it is a hopeful sign for conservatives that the Donk congress is a historical aberration rather than a historical trend.

Don't expect to see this on the Evening News.

Posted by The Mechanical Eye | May 15, 2007 12:19 PM

Are you honestly happy that the President is leading Congress in present popularity by having a 33 % approval rating?

Bush has been bobbing along Nixon-resignation numbers for so long that Republicans are acting overly triumphant over bread crumbs like this.

Where is this Permanent Majority I once heard so much about?


Posted by Lightwave | May 15, 2007 12:27 PM

That 37% among Democrats is a fatal number. Remember, the Dems were crowing about "Mandate for change!" when the GOP Congress was polling similarly low. The Dems have gotten to that level in the space of four months. That should tell you something. If even the Dems aren't happy with their own, the GOP will pick up loads of seats at this rate.

It should also be abundantly clear that a majority of Americans do not support the Dems' current plan to end the war in a precipitous manner. We all want to bring the troops home, but we can only do so when the job is done.

The voters aren't buying the slow bleed strategy. They aren't buying the funding games and the feeble legislative maneuvers. They aren't buying leaving Iraq either.

History will not be kind to the Democrats.

Posted by sam pender [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 15, 2007 12:35 PM

List of accomplishments that the Democrats have made in Washington:


Posted by vet66 | May 15, 2007 12:38 PM


The previous election was a wakeup call to the Republicans as they were taken to the woodshed for forgetting why they were elected in the first place.

The Democrats, blinded by the spectre of power, misread their mandate as a blessing on their ideology. It was, in all actuality, a cynical ploy to give Pelosi and Reid, et al, a chance to make fools of themselves by the conservatives of both parties and the Independents.

The Democrats were told to put up or shut up. They are failing spectacularly. On a side-note, how much can Soros lose in the political game before he realizes he is whipping a dead donkey?! Let us hope he fails in putting his stooge in the WTO after running off Wolfowitz.

Posted by NoDonkey | May 15, 2007 12:51 PM

"List of accomplishments that the Democrats have made in Washington"

Dem tied to bribery probe gets homeland post

Amid Katrina Chaos, Congressman Used National Guard to Visit Home

Senator exits MILCON following Metro exposé, vet-care scandal

Congressional junkets picking up steam

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid collected a $1.1 million windfall on a Las Vegas land sale even though he hadn't personally owned the property for three years, property deeds show.

Democrats have got a lot done - for themselves.

Democrats have not done the work Americans pay them for, but what does anyone expect? They're Democrats. Goldbricking thieves are who they are.

Posted by Dave | May 15, 2007 2:04 PM

As a Boy Scout leader, I know that sometimes they don't want to follow because the way is difficult.

The people in the House and the Senate were hired to leadership positions and I wish that they would do the job. Instead, they seem to be looking over their collective shoulder to see where the electorate wants them to go and not leading where we must go.

The way ahead will be difficult, to say the least, but the goal must be to reach a place where we can again live in peace. Our elected officials do not seem to realize that placating or running away from a bully does not work in the long term.

Posted by JorgXMcKie | May 15, 2007 3:00 PM

Paint CHiPS, fine. "the public is growing restless with the Democratic Congress because they're not doing ENOUGH to force their agenda." Okay. Then let's see Reid and Pelosi actually put some muscle behind those promises they made. Unless they're both total hypocrites (which I'm guessing they are) and total weenies (again, I think so) they should offer to defund the war in Iraq. End it *NOW*!!

However, they may be both hypocritical and weenies but they're not as stupid as say, Patty Murray, so they know what would happen if they do. I hope they enjoy their two years in the sun, because that's about all they're going to get, and the nutroots can just choke on it.

Posted by Karl | May 15, 2007 3:46 PM

It has been good for the economy, the deficit, and the stock market.
Had the dem congress been able to institute their programs, it would be a different story. Hurray for the non-achievers! More of the same, please. There is hope in their ineptness.

Perhaps we should be striving to elect the most inept, most divisve leadership we can have. Some may argue we already have that. We are breaking record highs in the market. See, things aren't so bad!

Posted by Sensible Mom | May 15, 2007 4:24 PM

Sadly, I believe the steep decline in popularity among democrats is because the democrat controlled Congress isn't pushing the far-left anti-war agenda enough.

The independents may be dissatisfied by the partisanship, but the democrats can't get enough of it. And I don't think independents will turn to republicans in relief.

Posted by Eg | May 15, 2007 4:30 PM

Oooh…but lest we forget, this is the ‘Honeymoon.’

Posted by Carol Herman | May 15, 2007 4:46 PM

It doesn't matter.

When you get low ratings for a president, it's like watching how Nixon went down the toilet. It affects the WHOLE of the GOP. Not just district-by-dstrict.

And, when you look at other things, you see that Newt's not in the House, any longer. And, look how long the GOP list, is, of those who were at the top, besides Newt. DeLay's gone. Hastert's out of his seat. Livingston's gone. (Remember him?). And, now? For the Donks to claim their majority, they did well last November.

And, then?

You didn't see the Blue Dogs who won it.

Just the people in charge, taking controls of the ropes.

Iraq's such a mess, that in all probability Bush will bet blamed. Though it's interesting to watch USA policy trying to jerk the ropes of the Israelis. While the arabs in gazoo get enough money to keep their Civil War going. For poor refugees is really does beg the question. Where does the money come from?

If you answered Saudi Arabia YOU'D BE RIGHT.

And, Bush put this little "Israel has to give up land," tool, into motion. While the arab dictators in syria, jordan, egypt, and lebanon, too; don't seem interested into going into warfare mode? How come? They want to be alive when Bush leaves office.

Again, all the donks have is a ONE PERCENT MARGIN in their favor. While the GOP is DOWN ... TWO.

So you got the GOP below the water line. ANd, the donks, got their noses out, but aren't mouth breathers yet, either.

What's ahead?

That's the bigger question.

How did we screw up Iraq? We angered the Shi'a. Who HATE the Saud's. And, the Sunni's, who thought terror would lead them to the top; are holding the wrong end of the stick.

What does "leaving Iraq" mean, by the way?

Because the Iraqi's had a group who built a school, that had within it enough explosives to turn DAY ONE of school into a media disaster. Guess who has those engineering jobs? The Saud's.

So you don't know what's under the surface.

None of us know how things pan out, either. Only that Bush never really connected to the American People. We say "9/11" ... But then when we say DAY OF INFAMY, everyone knows FDR girded us for war with Japan.

Bush? He's just the Realtor for the Saud's. And, if we're lucky? No commissions for him!

As to Condi. Drudge played a quote from Harry Belefonte. He called her "a nothing." I think Harry Belefonte has offered you a clue into another one of these Bush team members. Just like Alberto Gonzales. But at least Condi in a meeting is not a potted plant.

As to some of this stuff just being noise, I'd agree with that. But I see that the donks aren't afraid of their Ma and Pa Kettle Show. And, even with congress getting "low numbers" you don't know if it's directed at the whole. Or in part.

You don't know what the Ma and Pa Kettle Show has ahead, either. (Only that one House Member, from the GOP side, brought a few like minded GOP'sters, to Bush. Where they were BLUNT. And, then? Rove called them and "chewed them out.")

Shows ya, Bush has problems within his own party, in DC, already. How come?

Posted by Lightwave | May 15, 2007 4:56 PM

It's rather impressive, the speed at which the media has turned on the Dems. When it became clear that they wouldn't be able to actually enact a single piece of that "First 100 hours" garbage because of a single vote margin in the Senate provided by a man they ran out of the party for not being moonbat enough, the media couldn't STOP cranking out the "Do Nothing Congress" stories.

Even Newt Gingrich had a year or so before the media went after him. Nancy and Harry didn't even make Memorial Day weekend before they started polling deep into the low 30's.

Again, if Bush is somehow "out of touch" and "ignoring the will of the people" and his poll numbers are such concrete evidence of this, what about the fact the Dems are polling LOWER?

The Kos Kids wing of the Democratic Party will destroy it. The disaffection of the base for failing to force us to surrender in Iraq will wreck the party...and the fact the Dems will forever be tied to the anti-war effort will finish it off.

Posted by Mwalimu Daudi | May 15, 2007 6:33 PM

This will be an unpopular sentiment, but it seems just as likely, given the nature of the polling on the specific questions of Iraq, that the public is growing restless with the Democratic Congress because they're not doing ENOUGH to force their agenda.

Allow me to be the first to encourage your side to hold to that thought. If you do, the current 29% approval will look mighty good compared to what it will be this time next year. Remember: It is possible to enjoy the view while falling off of a cliff - for a time.

Posted by Mark | May 15, 2007 6:46 PM

For those of you applauding the current apparent "do nothing" Congress, let me remind you that the public face of these do-nothing Congressmen, that is, what they are saying and doing in front of the camera, is having a large negative effect on our effort in Iraq. It's damn near providing aid to our enemy, by providing their leadership with something to point to and say, "See! Last long enough, and they quit and go home!"
I agree that lack of action in Congress is a good thing, but the baggage the current majority party "leadership" members bring with them in their public statements is doing more harm than any legislation so far passed. It's getting American servicemen killed by bolstering the morale of our enemy.

I, for one, will never forget. Nor forgive.

And I am not alone.

Posted by Max Lybbert | May 16, 2007 1:14 AM

I've been reading Dick Morris's "The New Prince" and thinking about style. Bush was elected "as a uniter, not a divider." And when he came into office he actually did try to cross the aisle. Remember, Ted Kennedy sponsored No Child Left Behind.

After September 11 everyone united for a couple of weeks. Eventually that started to peter out, and Bush became aggressive towards the Democrats. Instead of reaching out, he tried to scare them into voting for him by barnstorming in their districts. At the time this played very well with the public.

However, that's starting to peter out, and America wants an end to the partisan bickering. But Pelosi and Reid don't have enough of a margin to not bicker. Well, that's what they think anyway; I think they could be a little smarter and seek middle ground (say, raise the minimum wage and provide a tax credit related to the higher cost).

By focusing on All Bush All The Time, they are hurting themselves. Strangely, I think this is part of the drive behind Obamamania -- for some reason people want to believe that Obama will be a uniter. he doesn't have enough of a track record to say either way, but people seem to have their fingers crossed.