Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Congress Approval Rating: Historical Trend?

Congress Approval Rating Matches Historical Low Americans' approval of Congress has just matched a record low of 18%, as measured by Gallop. While it would be nice to put this at the feet of the current bunch of yahoos in DC, I'm not sure it would be right. Disapproval of Congress didn't start in January of 07.

Congressional approval rose during middle and late 90s to around 50%. There was an aberration in the numbers after 9/11 when approval went into the 80% range. It quickly came back down to 50%. But then, in mid 2003, about the time the Republican Congress was getting ready to send its second budget to a Republican President, the numbers started to fall. From 50% approval in June of 2003 approval of Congress fell to 21% in December of 2006. There was brief period of euphoria (on the part of the Democrats) in January 2007, where approval rose to 35% and rose again to 37% in February 2007 and then it fell back quite quickly as everyone realized nothing had changed.

The January 2007 numbers are interesting, because by the survey period (Jan. 15 to 18) Congress hadn't done much.

Is it all just related to the economy? Congress was popular in the 90s because the economy was good, and not so in the early part of this decade because the economy is not so good? Is the economy really that bad? Was it that bad last year and the year before and the year before that? Or is there something more going on? If it is all about economics, were the Democrats having that much better of a year than Republicans and Independents? The April approval ratings for Congress by party affiliation of survey respondents were as follows: Democrats - 43%, Republicans - 28%, Independents 27%. Were the Democrats having a really good second quarter, or were they happy about things unrelated to the economy?

With the low approval rating (18%) and the high disapproval rating (76%) probably mean problems for the Democrats, though I don't see how the Republicans can claim it is good for them. The sad thing is, even with these ratings, my guess is that most incumbents will be re-elected next year. [via Capt. Ed]

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