Wash. Post claimed "congressional approval ratings ... a notch below Bush's," but Post poll says Dems above Bush

››› ››› BRIAN LEVY

The Washington Post reported that "Democrats are trying to prove that they can be an equal partner to [President] Bush" and that "congressional approval ratings dropp[ed] this week to 32 percent, a notch below Bush's 33 percent, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll." But according to the Post's own polling, congressional approval is not dropping, and the approval rating for "Democrats in Congress" is seven percentage points higher than Bush's in the latest poll.

A December 13 Washington Post article by staff writers Jonathan Weisman and Paul Kane stated: "As they wrap up their first year in control of the entire Capitol since 1994, Democrats are trying to prove that they can be an equal partner to [President] Bush. But their first 11 months have been politically and legislatively brutal, with congressional approval ratings dropping this week to 32 percent, a notch below Bush's 33 percent, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll." In fact, Congress' approval is higher in the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, conducted December 6-9, than it was in the previous Post-ABC News poll, taken October 29-November 1, although the difference is within the margin of error. Moreover, while the overall congressional approval rating is one percentage point lower than Bush in the poll, the approval rating for "Democrats in Congress" is seven percentage points higher than Bush's in the latest poll, a fact not noted in the article.

In the December 6-9 poll, Congress received a 32 percent approval rating, up from 28 percent in the October 29-November 1 poll and 29 percent in a September 27-30 poll. Additionally, the Democrats in Congress received a 40 percent approval rating in the December 6-9 poll, in contrast with "Bush's 33 percent," as the Post article noted. All three polls had a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points. Below are the approval ratings for Bush, Congress as a whole, Democrats in Congress, and Republicans in Congress in the three most recent Washington Post/ABC News polls:

Congress

President Bush

Democrats in Congress

Republicans in Congress

Dec. 6-9 poll

32%

33%

40%

32%

Oct. 29-Nov. 1 poll

28%

33%

36%

32%

Sep. 27-30 poll

29%

33%

38%

29%

From a December 13 Washington Post article:

Asked about his decision on government funding, House Appropriations Committee Chairman David R. Obey (D-Wis.) groused to the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call: "I'll tell you how soon I will make a decision when I know how soon the Senate sells us out." Senate Democrats have fired back, accusing Pelosi and her liberal allies of sending over legislation that they know cannot pass in the Senate, and of making demands that will not gain any GOP votes. Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) noted that, this summer, [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid [D-NV] employed just the kind of theatrics [Rep. Charles B.] Rangel [D-NY] and other House Democrats are demanding, holding the Senate open all night, pulling out cots and forcing a dusk-till-dawn debate on an Iraq war withdrawal measure before a vote on war funding. Democrats gained not a single vote after the all-night antics.

"I understand the frustration; we're frustrated, too," Bayh said. "But holding a bunch of Kabuki theater doesn't get anything done."

As they wrap up their first year in control of the entire Capitol since 1994, Democrats are trying to prove that they can be an equal partner to Bush. But their first 11 months have been politically and legislatively brutal, with congressional approval ratings dropping this week to 32 percent, a notch below Bush's 33 percent, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll. Their support plummeted as the liberal base grew outraged over the Democratic inability to counter the president on any war issue, while moderates and centrists looking for bipartisan kitchen-table accomplishments instead saw partisan gridlock. The disputes have at times taken on starkly personal tones. In closed-door bicameral leadership meetings, [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi [D-CA] has questioned Reid's intentions on issues such as war funding tied to troop withdrawal timelines and an alternative minimum tax fix that is fully funded by tax increase offsets, suggesting that his words have not always matched his actions.

Reid has let his own frustration show. After Republican senators accused Pelosi of lying about her intentions on a comprehensive energy bill, the majority leader offered a backhanded defense.

"I can't control Speaker Pelosi," he said on the chamber floor. "I hope everybody understands that. She is a strong, independent woman. She runs the House with an iron hand. I support what she does, but no one needs to come and tell me I didn't keep my word."

Posted In
Government
Network/Outlet
The Washington Post
Stories/Interests
Polling
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.