The Reason

January 8th, 2009

I have seen rightwingers many times over the past few years point to low Congressional approval ratings as proof that Democrats are failing to lead. The trick is that they refer to the Congressional approval ratings as a whole, call it the “Democrat-Controlled Congress,” and so lay all the blame at the Democrats’ feet.

A Gallup poll out last month (referenced in C&L today) shows the reason why Congressional approval ratings are getting dragged down:


Yep: the Republicans are the ones with the bad ratings. Congressional Democrats are getting the best ratings of anyone in Washington at present. Whaddaya know. Surprisingly, more Republicans approve of the job Democrats are doing than the other way around; Republicans also have a more negative view of their own party than Democrats do of theirs:


So, the Democratic Congress unpopular? Not so much. Republicans obstructing everything in sight in a multi-year filibuster-thon? Not a big hit. Add that to the list of reasons Democrats made such surprising gains in the election this time around.

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  1. Leszek Cyfer
    January 9th, 2009 at 19:00 | #1

    Am I slow or sth? What those graphs show? For example the first – “job approval ratings” means exactly what – what percentage of people approve of sth, a level of approval some laymen have about people in Congress?

    Could you spell the definition of those graphs for a foreigner who’d like to get it right? Thanks in advance :)

  2. Luis
    January 10th, 2009 at 10:45 | #2

    Leszek: they are polls taken from a sampling of the general citizenry asking their opinion of the job being done by the president, Democrats in Congress, and Republicans in Congress. Just regular Americans who get a phone call asking them to take a survey.

    The graphs show that while president Bush’s approval rating is low, hovering around 30%, the Republicans in Congress have an even lower approval rating. The Democrats’ approval rating among the public is still low–37% is nothing to be excited about–but it is higher than anyone else in D.C.

    The main point here is that right-wingers claim that Democrats in Congress are failing and this is proved by the low ratings in the polls. The truth, however, is that while the Dems are failing, it’s not for lack of trying, and the Republicans are the ones obstructing and causing Congress to fail–and the public sees that. Probably the constant scandals and corruption among Republicans in Congress doesn’t help them much, either.

  3. Leszek Cyfer
    January 20th, 2009 at 07:52 | #3

    Ah, so the colors in the second graph represent the affiliation of people asked to respond to survey.

    What makes me think is how does that relates to the absolute numbers – what is the percentage of democrats, independent and republicans respectively – and what are the fluctuations of those through years.

    Unfortunately it is not given in the Gallup poll you’ve discussed.

    Thank you for your kind explanation. A person learns for entire life. And by teaching, the teacher learns faster and more than his students.

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