Congress hits single digits: Rasmussen

posted at 2:00 pm on July 8, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

When Democrats won majorities in both chambers of Congress, they pointed to the falling approval ratings of the legislature as a mandate for change.  They have certainly provided it — albeit in the wrong direction.  Rasmussen’s latest polling shows the approval ratings for Congress have reached a new low, and a new achievement … single digits:

The percentage of voters who give Congress good or excellent ratings has fallen to single digits for the first time in Rasmussen Reports tracking history. This month, just 9% say Congress is doing a good or excellent job. Most voters (52%) say Congress is doing a poor job, which ties the record high in that dubious category. …

The percentage of Democrats who give Congress positive ratings fell from 17% last month to 13% this month. The number of Democrats who give Congress a poor rating remained unchanged. Among Republicans, 8% give Congress good or excellent ratings, up just a point from last month. Sixty-five percent (65%) of GOP voters say Congress is doing a poor job, down a single point from last month.

Voters not affiliated with either party are the most critical of Congressional performance. Just 3% of those voters give Congress positive ratings, down from 6% last month. Sixty-three percent (63%) believe Congress is doing a poor job, up from 57% last month.

When Democrats first took control of Congress, its approval rating sat at 15%, which explained quite a bit about the electoral victory Democrats achieved.  They managed to push it up to 26% after four monthsin charge, but it has gone downhill ever since May 2007.  People used to joke about it hitting single digits, but the day has finally arrived under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

Oddly, at the same time Democrats have maintained their lead on Rasmussen’s generic congressional ballot.   Last week’s poll shows a 12-point gap, slightly narrower than the 14-point gap in mid-June, but wider than the six-point gap in April.  The GOP has obviously not done a good job in explaining the lack of progress on issues and tying it to Democratic leadership, which seems like an opportunity missed — at least this far.

With energy on everyone’s mind, the Republicans have a chance to change that.  Democrats have decided to “wait for the wind” rather than do anything to ease the supply crisis that has driven prices at the pump out of sight.  If Republicans can take charge and implement a rational energy policy that includes robust domestic production — a position that has gained popularity with voters — they can both increase their standing and expose Reid and Pelosi as the true obstructionists.

Outside of the partisan considerations, having the people’s branch of government in such disrepute seems somewhat dangerous.  Congress needs to take action to restore confidence in the most representative branch of the federal government, which should include an end to corruption mechanisms such as pork.  We cannot afford to wait for the number to sink to zero before repairing its credibility.


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Oddly, at the same time Democrats have maintained their lead on Rasmussen’s generic congressional ballot.

I wonder what proportion of the Americans know that the Democrats have majorities in both houses of their Congress. Has anyone seen poll results on this question?

Kralizec on July 8, 2008 at 10:33 PM

Spirit of 1776 on July 8, 2008 at 10:28 PM

I think it’s more a function of location than top or bottom of the chain. I don’t really have any basis but it would seem that judges who are subject to elections tend to make their rulings by letter of the law more than ideology. I think the problem is more severe the higher up you move. Meaning that the consequences of the decisions can do more damage or good as the case may be. Seven of the nine supreme court justices were appointed by republicans. You’d think that they would be conservative. It’s pretty obvious that a couple of them managed to slip under the radar. Either that or they were seduced by their lofty surroundings once they had a secure position.

Oldnuke on July 8, 2008 at 10:39 PM

Well deserved approval rating.

Johan Klaus on July 8, 2008 at 10:52 PM

Oddly, at the same time Democrats have maintained their lead on Rasmussen’s generic congressional ballot.
I wonder what proportion of the Americans know that the Democrats have majorities in both houses of their Congress. Has anyone seen poll results on this question?

Kralizec on July 8, 2008 at 10:33 PM

The public isn’t stupid they know it and they elected the Dems to end the war.

The GOP will end up paying for this.

The GOP minority and the conservative Dems have been the obstructionists rallying behind a President that 85% of the country doesn’t approve of.

But we will be blamed for it, not the Dems, just wait.

AprilOrit on July 8, 2008 at 11:10 PM

April, on the “they know it”, it’s not true. Yesterday, I believe, here on HA there was a post on how they don’t know that the left is in charge. I even commented on how the righties in congress whine about it, instead of making it known.

Entelechy on July 8, 2008 at 11:15 PM

I am reminded of a comment by Dave Barry during the 1992 elections (where Ross Perot made a fairly substantial showing early on), something along the lines of “The Democrats, tired of always coming in second place, have finally figured out a way to come in third.”

ss396 on July 8, 2008 at 11:40 PM

Considering the amount of traction that the “change” mantra has gained in this cycle, it will be interesting to see how many (or few) incumbents will be sent packing this November.

Not nearly enough, I daresay.

hillbillyjim on July 8, 2008 at 11:46 PM

Just who are the 3% of those voters give Congress positive ratings? (If I wasn’t paying so damn much for gasoline I’d be able to buy full access to the report)

diogenes on July 8, 2008 at 11:56 PM

Just who are the 3% of those voters give Congress positive ratings?

The same 3% who didn’t understand the question.

hillbillyjim on July 9, 2008 at 12:01 AM

Nine percent approval? It still seems high to me.

Maxx on July 9, 2008 at 12:33 AM

April, on the “they know it”, it’s not true. Yesterday, I believe, here on HA there was a post on how they don’t know that the left is in charge. I even commented on how the righties in congress whine about it, instead of making it known.

Entelechy on July 8, 2008 at 11:15 PM

That’s even worse, if they don’t know they are in charge we’ll really get blamed, I’m telling you. It’s a nightmare.

AprilOrit on July 9, 2008 at 1:07 AM

Democrats have stunk up the place!

Time to kick the bums to the curb, they have not produced like they promised.

Chakra Hammer on July 9, 2008 at 1:14 AM

Juan “Z-Visa” McCain and The Dali Bama are members of these political bodies? Just who is voting for these guys?

DfDeportation on July 9, 2008 at 1:40 AM

Just when you thought they couldn’t go any lower… They hit rock bottom and started to dig.

Claypigeon on July 9, 2008 at 1:42 AM

How low can they go?

Saved By Zero.

profitsbeard on July 9, 2008 at 3:01 AM

One more time, with a period and not a comma:

Saved By Zero, really.

profitsbeard on July 9, 2008 at 3:04 AM

Nine percent approval rating? King George had a higher approval rating than that – and look what happened with him.

DrDeano on July 9, 2008 at 3:54 AM

Nine percent approval? It still seems high to me.

Maxx on July 9, 2008 at 12:33 AM

No kidding.

The GOP REALLY needs to do a better job “gently reminding” people that they aren’t the ones calling the shots anymore. I’d like to believe that they will do that come election time, but it’s never too early to start.

This Congress is an absolute abomination.

MannyT-vA on July 9, 2008 at 4:37 AM

I am reminded of a comment by Dave Barry during the 1992 elections (where Ross Perot made a fairly substantial showing early on), something along the lines of “The Democrats, tired of always coming in second place, have finally figured out a way to come in third.”

ss396 on July 8, 2008 at 11:40 PM

I remember something similar from back then. Some talking head made the comment during the primaries that Bill Clinton had come in third in a two-man race. But yet, Bill went on to win. So it aint over until it’s over.

abcurtis on July 9, 2008 at 9:31 AM

I have concluded that 9% of the American population works for minimum wage, and doesn’t drive to work.

Only reasonable explanation I could come up with as to why the number is not exactly 0.00%.

ynot4tony2 on July 9, 2008 at 11:43 AM

“I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace; that two are called a law firm, and that three or more become a Congress! And by God, I have had this Congress!”

-John Adams, 1776

amerpundit on July 8, 2008 at 2:16 PM

You might want to note that this is from the Tony Winning Broadway Play ’1776′…not something Adams actually said in 1776, though it is a good summary of his opinion

JIMV on July 9, 2008 at 11:56 AM

What’s worse…

That Congress has this approval rating or that Americans will probably give them a larger majority come November?

catmman on July 9, 2008 at 12:25 PM

“I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace; that two are called a law firm, and that three or more become a Congress! And by God, I have had this Congress!”

-John Adams, 1776

amerpundit on July 8, 2008 at 2:16 PM

You might want to note that this is from the Tony Winning Broadway Play ‘1776′…not something Adams actually said in 1776, though it is a good summary of his opinion

JIMV on July 9, 2008 at 11:56 AM

Let me add this from the play, the line introduces a segment where Adams is lamenting congressional ineptness he says, and I am misquoting as I am writing from memory “I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace; that two are called a law firm, and that three or more become a Congress! And by God, I have had this Congress. (my misquote begins) For 10 years King George and his Parlement have gulled, cullied and diddled these colonies and still this Congress refuses to even open debate. What in the Hell are they wating for.” This was followed by his fellow members in Congress all singing in unison “sit down John, Sit down John, for God’s sake John sit down”…

Sort of sounds like Congress on our energy policy when dealing with the President.

JIMV on July 9, 2008 at 12:41 PM

Anybody printing up big signs for the Republican National convention showing the dem lead congressional approval rating or is John Mc still reaching across the isle?

It’s a wonder he has a hand left.

dhunter on July 9, 2008 at 1:48 PM

At least they are ETHICAL. Bwahahahahahahahaha

SouthernGent on July 8, 2008 at 10:16 PM

A classic…

right2bright on July 9, 2008 at 1:54 PM

Worst Congress ever, but that’s irrelevant. It’s hatred of Bush and his Administration that matters. That’s how we know how people will vote in the next presidential election.

Well, if it makes sense for Obama to run against Bush (who by the way departs the oval office when the new president is seated), it makes even more sense for McCain to run against the Democratic Congress, and what they’ll do with Obama in power.

Anil Petra on July 9, 2008 at 3:55 PM

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