Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Gallup: Congress's Approval Rating Slips to 10%, More than 90% of Incumbents Will Be Reelected Anyway

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.

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.
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.

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


  1. The problem is that you never see the following questions asked together (at least you do not see the results)...

    Do you approve or disapprove of the way Congress is doing its job?

    Do you approve or disapprove of the way your Congressional representative is doing his/her job?

    The reality is that just like everybody considers themselves to be "above average" drivers (a numerical impossibility), everybody thinks the guy they voted for is okay and the problem is everybody else. That is, "Why don't all those [pick your generalized grouping] morons keep voting for the same idiots?"

    Human beings are not rational.

    1. What kills me is I see pictures and video of a lot of these stooges and just shake my head that anyone would vote for them based upon their clownish appearance, to say nothing of the stupid shit that comes out of their mouths.

  2. Just FYI Bill, something that made me think of spoiled rotten nation (tm):

    1. Ugh...I've never read that one before. Lenny certainly was a tortured soul.

  3. It might help if the parties would put up some decent human beings as candidates. I think we're pretty tired of voting for the lesser evil.

  4. In the general election people do not vote for congress based on the candidates policies or track record. They vote based on the fact that he or she is part of my "tribe". Those tribes are "D" or "R". In a Presidential campaign - when the candidates are well known (or at least their "branding" is known) - there are 5-8% of voters that are actually swing voters. In congressional elections I doubt whether as much as 2% of voters "swing" from the parties they traditionally vote for. Which will not impact a district that traditionally votes 55-60% for a particular party. And Yes, I realize that 1/3 of voters are registered as "Independent", but the vast majority of them always vote one party .. in fact they think that the party they always vote for is not conservative enough or not liberal enough .. so would NEVER vote for the other party. And only about 2 percentage points of the electorate ever votes for third parties no matter how perfectly those parties actually reflect their beliefs.
    So - clownish appearance and stupid shit will not generally cause a seated representative to lose a re-election !
    Yep - it is frustrating. There ARE better systems, but the US will never make any changes.