The Times West Virginian

Opinion

September 22, 2013

Approval rating of Congress up to about 20 percent

At the end of July, 12 percent of Americans approved of the job Congress was doing. What’s worse was that 57 percent of those polled said they would replace every single member of Congress if they could.

I guess that’s where some of the late-night jokes come from:

“President Obama wants Congress to increase the minimum wage. Believe me, when it comes to doing the minimum for their wage, Congress knows what it’s talking about.” – Jay Leno

“President Obama gave his State of the Union speech and went through a laundry list of things, most of them very centrist — like he said he wanted universal preschool. He said he got the idea from trying to work with the Republicans in Congress the last few years.” – Bill Maher

“According to a new poll, Congress is now less popular than head lice, Nickelback and Donald Trump. In a related story, head lice is insulted that it’s being lumped in with Donald Trump and Nickelback.” – Conan O’Brien

“I’m not saying this Congress is bad at its job. I’m just saying that this Congress is equivalent to a skunk with its head in a jar of Skippy peanut butter.” – Jon Stewart

Well, who is laughing now, huh? Congressional approval ratings have soared ... to about 20 percent. Yes, that means that one out of every five people surveyed say they approve of the job Congress is doing.

Wow.

Pundits say that Congress stood up against President Barack Obama on a proposed military strike on Syria, which was aligned with how the American people felt about that issue. That apparently caused the bump in approval.

Obama apparently did Congress a favor by waffling on that decision, announcing that he’d take it to Congress and then backing off. It’s the first time the legislative and executive branch have worked together since 2008. 2014 ought to be interesting.

Or maybe not. While polls suggest a disdain for Congress, it’s for the body as a whole and not the individual members.

“When we look at approval of a person’s own representative, polls show 30 percent or higher approval than that of the Congress as a whole,” blogger Harry J. Enten writes for The Guardian. “Democrats generally like their Democratic Congress member, and Republicans the same for their own. Republicans and Democrats may not even like their own caucus, yet still will vote for their own congressman. It’s why re-election rates for Congress members are so high.”

But still, 20 percent is a far cry from the historical average over the last 40 years.

“Congress’ approval rating remains low, and well below the historical average of 33 percent since Gallup began asking the question in 1974,” the statement from the most recent Gallup poll reads. “However, given that Congress’ ratings have been almost exclusively below 20 percent the last three years, its current 19 percent approval rating seems positive by comparison.”

So we thought we would take the question to our pollsters, the ones who log on each week to www.timeswv.com each week to vote on the latest topics and trends. Last week we asked, “Congress has seen a slight bump of approval since resisting military action in Syria. How do you feel Congress has been doing lately?”

• Improving. Maybe it took threat of war, but the body is coming together on key issues — 10.34 percent.

• Pretty good. Members seem to be moving toward representing their constituents instead of just their party — 16.08 percent.

• Poorly. Ask me again when sequestration is resolved — 73.56 percent.

Heck, 26 percent is stunning compared to the national poll. And speaking of Congress, let’s talk this week about the House’s efforts to either defund or delay health care legislation from taking effect. What are your thoughts?

Log on. Vote. Email me or respond online.

Misty Poe

Managing Editor

mpoe@timeswv.com

@MistyPoeTWV

 

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project

    The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
    That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.

    July 27, 2014

  • COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard

    I love to talk to readers.
    I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.

    July 27, 2014

  • Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial

    NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
    And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.

    July 25, 2014

  • Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives

    It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
    We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.

    July 24, 2014

  • Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely

    The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
    It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
    It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.

    July 23, 2014

  • Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer

    July 22, 2014

  • Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life

    Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
    And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.

    July 20, 2014

  • COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?

    Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
    I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.

    July 20, 2014

  • Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions

    This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
    The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    July 18, 2014

  • Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year

    It’s happening again.
    It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
    But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.

    July 17, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Politics
House Ads