The latest Gallup poll has what would appear to be bad news for America's Congresscritters, especially those who are running for reelection this fall:
Ten percent of Americans in August approve of the job Congress is doing, tying last February's reading as the lowest in Gallup's 38-year history of this measure. Eighty-three percent disapprove of the way Congress is doing its job.I say "would appear to be bad news" except for one little countervailing point: despite the fact that Congress's approval ratings have averaged a mere 34% since this poll began in 1974, more than 90% of all incumbents have won reelection every two years since that time. Moreover, there is no reason to believe that, despite the current record lows in Congressional approval ratings, the 90%-plus figure will be substantially different this year.
Congress approval was 30% in Gallup's first measure using this question wording in April 1974, and has averaged 34% across the more than 230 times it has been measured since. Congress approval has been below 40% since early 2005, and below 20% every month since June 2011 -- dropping to 10% in February of this year and again now.
Before 2007, Congress approval had been below 20% only twice -- in 1979 and 1992. The highest congressional job approval in Gallup's history was 84% in October 2001, a month after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.
Congressional approval is down among all political groups and is now virtually the same across these groups -- with Democrats at 9%, independents at 11%, and Republicans at 10%. Democrats' approval declined the most, from 18% in July.
So in other words, an overwhelming majority of American voters hate Congress but yet will dutifully trudge off to the polls in November and vote for the sitting representative in their district and Senator for their state, assuming he or she is running this time. If the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results, the only conclusion you can therefore draw from this poll, my friends, is that American voters are certifiably insane.
Bonus: More and more, Bob Roberts looks like a documentary