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(Virtually) Everybody Hates Congress

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The latest Rasmussen poll confirms that the vast majority of Americans don’t approve of the job that Congress is doing:

The majority party may be celebrating in Denver this week, but the percentage of voters who give the Democratic-dominated Congress good or excellent ratings has once again fallen to single digits.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just nine percent (9%) of Likely Voters give Congress positive ratings, while 51% say it’s doing a poor job.

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Indicative of the low opinion most voters have of Congress were the findings in another survey earlier this week of members of the leadership’s own party. Just 37% of Democrats say they have a favorable opinion of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, while 51% have an unfavorable view of her. One-quarter (25%) of Democrats rate their view of the San Francisco Democrat as Very Favorable, but 14% see her in a Very Unfavorable light.

The news is even worse for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is viewed favorably by 22% of Democrats and unfavorably by 41%. Six percent (6%) of Democrats have a Very Favorable view of the Nevada senator, but 8% regard him Very Unfavorably.

While these numbers are shockingly low, it’s unlikely that they will amount to much of anything in November. A second Rasmussen poll shows that Democrats, who have controlled Congress since the 2006 elections, hold a lead over Republicans in general Congressional polling:

The Democrats have marginally widened their lead over the GOP in the latest edition of the Generic Congressional Ballot. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that, if given the choice, 46% of voters would choose their district’s Democratic candidate, while 36% would choose the Republican candidate.

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Support for the Democrats is up two points from last week, while support for the GOP fell one point. However, since weekly tracking began in June, support for both parties has stayed in a fairly modest range. Support for Democrats has ranged from a low of 45% to a high of 48%. Over that same time, Republicans have been preferred by 34% to 37% of voters nationwide. Over the past year, Democratic support has ranged from a low of 43% to a high of 50%. Over that same time, Republicans have been preferred by 34% to 41% of voters nationwide.

What this means is that voters are likely to vote for Democratic incumbents in November despite the fact that they also think that Congress as a whole has done a poor job.

Call it schizophrenic perhaps, but it’s really not all that unusual. Throughout the Reagan and Bush years, Congress had low approval ratings, although admittedly not this low, and yet voters continued to return incumbents to office at rates that made the Soviet Politburo seem democratic by comparison.

People may hate Congress, but they don’t project that onto their local Congressperson and Senators.