|Disapproval of Congress at all-time high|
|Written by Douglas Bridges-O’Connor, Daily Vidette Staff Writer|
|Monday, 05 September 2011 19:17|
A recent Associated Press-GfK poll found that American disapproval of Congress is at an all-time high. Among the results, the poll reports Republicans receiving the most condemnation in sharp contrast to last year’s election, which led the GOP to the House majority.
According to the poll, 87 percent of respondents reported they disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job.
“Congress has always had terrible public approval rating numbers. These are more abysmal than normal, but if you have something worse than terrible, it’s still awful. So now people hate Congress more than they’ve hated it before.
“But, if you look at reelection rates from both the House and the Senate, House reelection rates are still well into the mid-90s and reelection rates for the Senate are in the high 80s. So, you compare those numbers to ‘we hate our elected officials in Congress,’ yet we’re giving them their jobs back,” Erik Rankin, assistant to the chair and undergraduate advisor for the Department of Politics and Government, said.
“Are people so disgusted at this point in time that they’re going to hold Congress accountable? I doubt it. If anything, they’ll do what other people do. When they get stuck in something that disgusts them, they just stop participating. They don’t ever say ‘you know what? I’m going to work twice as hard to find a better candidate.’
“Instead, they say ‘I’m going to stop playing your game’. I think what would be most impressive, and most important to pay attention to, is if we see turn out in the 2012 Presidential Election go way down from 2008,” Rankin added.
The poll also found that Republicans have lost support in the wake of the debt crisis. Seventy-five percent of respondents said they did not approve of decisions made by the GOP in Congress. Republican House Speaker John Boehner received a 41 percent unfavorable rating, the highest of his tenure. Additionally, support for the Tea Party movement dropped from 33 percent in June to 25 percent.
Democrats fare only slightly better, receiving a 68 percent disapproval rating.
However, the results of the AP-GfK poll may have little impact on Congress once it reconvenes on Capitol Hill.
“Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s going to be a whole lot of reaction. Sometimes some choices that Congress has to make aren’t as popular as some people would like to assume, but frankly I don’t see Congress reacting very much at all to this most recent poll,” Andrew Larson, president of the ISU College Republicans, said.
Matthew Tomlin, president of the ISU College Democrats, said he does not see the number changing any time soon if the national unemployment rate does not fall.
“The constant high unemployment rate underscores the need for legislative action, and hopefully in the president’s address on Thursday, it will light the fire that makes Congress do something to help lower the unemployment. Until that happens, that number will not move,” Tomlin said.
In regard to the national financial deficit, 57 percent of respondents think they will receive higher taxes and cuts to government services as solutions to the debt crisis.
“As long as each party decides to keep its resolve on their particular issues – the Democrats not wanting to cut spending and Republicans not advocating a tax increase during a very possible ‘double-dip’ recession, I don’t see [compromise] being a likely outcome.
“In my opinion, I see Congress passing some short-term measure, unfortunately, that will probably not dramatically decrease the debt but will make some slight cuts to spending and, in probability, very few tax increases,” Larson said.
“I think anybody with any bit of logic realizes that the way out of a problem is compromise. Republicans are screaming for cutting taxes. Republicans have never found a problem that couldn’t be solved by cutting taxes.
“Democrats don’t necessarily agree that cutting taxes is a good thing. Democrats have a tendency to want to raise taxes for people with a higher income bracket, but don’t want to do so for people in the middle or the lower income bracket. So if one party wants to cut taxes and the other says raise the taxes of certain people…the only solution is to compromise in some way,” Rankin added.
The poll was conducted Aug. 18 – 22 by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications.