An all time low in favorable ratings has fallen on Congress according to Gallup.
Americans' assessment of Congress has hit a new low, with 13% saying they approve of the way Congress is handling its job. The 83% disapproval rating is also the worst Gallup has measured in more than 30 years of tracking congressional job performance.
One factor is the push to pass game-changing legislation in fast order before the lame duck session ends and the large Democratic majority in the Senate shrinks. Majority Leader Reid made the decision to try and ram through social issue legislation and legislation benefiting the Democratic party in the future, or so he thinks.
The lame duck Congress was supposed to limp out of town this Friday, but yesterday Mr. Reid announced that in the dwindling days before Christmas he plans to pass the bipartisan tax deal, the New Start arms treaty with Russia, the immigration Dream Act, a "lands bill," and a bill to let gays serve openly in the military. Oh, and yesterday he also dropped on his colleagues a 1,924-page, $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill for fiscal 2011 that no one but a few Appropriators have read, if even they have.
Another factor is the general feeling of anger towards those now serving. Many have been voted out of office and their constituents are ready for them to go. Voters are ready for fresh faces and new blood in Washington, D.C.
And, last I think is the anger Democrats feel towards other Democrats. The support of Democrats for fellow Democrats in Congress fell rather dramatically according to the Gallup poll. Approval of Democrats in Congress was at 38% in October 2010 and is now at 16%. And, there is anger from some Democrats that those in office lost their re-election bids by not listening to the voter over the last two years.
History indicates reason for a bit of hope for the next session of Congress.
Despite the historic lows, the prospects for a recovery in Congress' approval ratings in the short term appear good, based on what Gallup has measured in the past when control of Congress changed hands. Gallup documented a 10-point increase in Congress' approval rating from December 1994 to January 1995 after the Republicans officially took control of the House and Senate after the 1994 midterm elections. There was a larger 14-point increase in congressional approval ratings after the Democrats' taking control of Congress in January 2007.
Both increases were fueled by spikes in congressional approval among supporters of the new majority party.