Congressional approval ratings tend to be negative no matter who's in charge. But this spring, public opinion of the job Congress is doing has dropped dramatically. In February, the Congressional approval rating was 37%; the latest rating is at only 24%, down 5 points since last month. And to make matters worse for the Democratic leadership, their approval rating among Democrats is not much better than their rating among Republicans. In fact, their rating among Democrats has dropped from 43% in April to 29% in June. And among Independents, only 19% say they approve of the job Congress is doing. The Congressional approval rating has not been at 24% since January 1996; it has not been below that since 1992, before the Republicans assumed control.
It seems to me it's time for the Democratic leaders in Congress to take a serious look at themselves, and ask what exactly it is the people want them to be doing. After all, the point of all this is representative government, isn't it? Their job is to represent their constituents, most of whom are not interested in gay marriage and embryonic stem cell research, and want lower taxes and a less corrupt government. The emphasis of the leaders in Congress on issues the people don't care about, and their blatant refusal to engage what really matters to the people, are the biggest reasons why the people no longer approve. It's unfortunate for the Democratic Party that after less than six months in office, Congressional approval is below where it was last fall when the Republicans were kicked out of office, and very close to where it was shortly before the Democrats were kicked out last time.