Say what you will about President Obama’s approval rating falling to below 50%, he’d have to be somewhere on the same level as anthrax and galloping diarrhea to get to the level of the United States Congress.
The new NBC/WSJ results show Congress’ approval rating at 12%, with 83% disapproving. When was the last time support for Congress was this awful? NBC/WSJ have been doing national polls for about two decades, and it’s never been this bad.
Given that Obama’s support is still lukewarm, and he’ll never be on the ballot again, I’d argue that Congress’ woeful approval rating is significantly more important.
Indeed, this number could get considerably worse if congressional Republicans kill immigration reform, force a debt ceiling crisis, and threaten a government shutdown.
Indeed, the closer one looks at the poll, the worse things appear for the legislative branch. Obama’s personal favorability is 48%, while for House Speaker John Boehner, it’s 18%. Only 22% believe congressional Republicans emphasize unifying the country, while 67% believe they prioritize partisanship. A 56% majority believe GOP lawmakers are “too inflexible” when dealing with the White House.
And a 51% majority wants Republicans to stop holding votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
As a practical matter, if GOP lawmakers wanted to be more popular, it’d be pretty easy — they could, in theory, pass a popular immigration-reform bill, turn off the deliberately harmful sequester, pass a measure to reduce gun violence, maybe consider a bill or two that creates jobs, or compromise on a budget plan.
The most maddening thing of all is that next year, fully 90% of these people will win re-election, and the Republicans stand a 50-50 chance of getting a majority in the Senate as well.
So explain to me why a group of elected officials who have a lower approval rating than the dictator of North Korea can rest assured that they will never lose their job or face the consequences of basically bringing the country to a halt through a perpetual act of adolescent petulance.
Congress may suck, but we’re the enablers.