There have been five national polls over the last few weeks asking respondents whether they approve or disapprove of the President’s and Congress’s performance. The polls have been taken by CBS/New York Times; Hotline; Fox; Gallup; and Rasmussen. What with his support for the very controversial immigration bill, gas prices climbing every week, the Attorney General on the hot seat, and continuing atrocities in Iraq, you would think the President’s approval rating would be in the tank. And you would be right. The average of the President’s approval in the five polls is 33%. His disapproval averages 61%.
But that’s not the whole story. Congress, which we are constantly being told was elected to bring a “new direction” to Washington, is doing no better. Indeed, its average approval rating is 32% — slightly worse than the President’s (although by a statistically insignificant margin). Its disapproval stands at 57% — a fat majority by any standard and especially surprising given how recently the new Congress was elected.
The polls offer no explanation for the similar public standing of the President and our national legislature, but I have a hypothesis. The public has largely lost patience with the war in Iraq, but continues to understand, however quietly, that, as the President has said, surrender would have disastrous consequences. The lessons of American fickleness and loss of nerve would not escape our allies (such of them as would remain), and still less our Jihadist enemies. Meanwhile, the new Congress, instead of tackling the major domestic problems upon which so many of its members campaigned — things like runaway spending and desperately needed entitlement reform — instead is concerning itself with why Monica Goodling went to a Christian law school.