Job ap­proval dips for Hill Democrats; rat­ing falls be­low pres­i­dent’s

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Don­ald Lam­bro

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.