Job approval dips for Hill Democrats; rating falls below president’s
Job-approval ratings for the Democrat-run Congress fell in the past month to several points below President Bush’s score, which has held steady since April, according to a Gallup poll released May 15.
Gallup found that 29 percent of Americans approve of the job Democrats are doing in Congress, down from 33 percent last month and a high of 37 percent earlier this year. Sixty-four percent said they disapproved of the way Democrats were handling the nation’s business.
The nationwide poll of 1,003 Americans, conducted May 10-13, found that Mr. Bush’s job-approval rating was “holding steady at 33 percent.”
Notably, Gallup’s survey showed that only 37 percent of Democrats approved of the job their party is doing in Congress.
Other pollsters said Gallup’s findings reflected what their own polls have been picking up in the past several weeks — an increasing disapproval over Congress’ inability to get anything done.
“Essentially, what people are seeing is gridlock and dashed hope for the new Congress. Voters are telling us they want the people’s business done. They want solutions and cooperation,” independent pollster John Zogby said.
“What you are seeing [in the polls] is less ideology and partisanship among the mainstream public, and this could hurt the Democrats as much as it hurt the Republicans seven months ago. Twenty-nine percent is not bragging rights,” Mr. Zogby said.
David E. Johnson of Strategic Vision, an Atlanta-based polling firm, said a survey he conducted May 1113 among likely voters in Florida also produced low job-approval marks for the Democrats.
“Twenty-seven percent approved, and 61 percent disapproved. There’s a feeling that Bush is not to blame for everything that is going on,” Mr. Johnson said.
An Associated Press survey released over the May 12-13 weekend found a similar decline in how the country rates the Democratic Congress. It showed “only 35 percent ap- prove of how Congress is handling its job, down five percentage points in a month.”
“That gives lawmakers the same bleak approval rating as Bush,” AP said in a report on its poll findings.
The Democrats took majority control of Congress in January, promising to act quickly on a range of bills — from raising the minimum wage and improving homeland security to cutting interest rates for college loans and lowering drug prices under Medicare. But to date, none of their proposals has been enacted.
“The Democrats are making real progress on a ‘do-nothing Congress’ label. If they are at the same level a year from now, it will create some real challenges for Democratic con- trol of Congress,” Republican pollster Whit Ayres said.
But Democrats blamed the impasse in Congress, including the battle over funding for the Iraq war, on the Republicans.
“Obstructionist Republicans blocking America’s priorities are bound to impact the numbers,” said Karen Finney, the Democratic National Committee’s director of communications.
“Given that the overwhelming majority of the American people agree President Bush’s escalation plan isn’t working, it’s clear that the Republican holdouts in Congress should join Democrats in standing up to and working with the president to change course in Iraq,” she said.