Friday, July 11, 2008

Not As Bad As Reported

Earlier this week, Repub pundits were delighted, and even more smug than usual, to report that a Rasmussen Report had found that approval of Congress had plummeted to 9%- below even that of President Bush.

Except that's not what happened. As Daniel Libit of politico.com noted on July 9, Rasmussen in that telephone poll of 7/1/08 did not ask the standard question regarding Congress- whether the respondent approves or disapproves of its performance. Instead, individuals were asked whether they thought Congress was doing an excellent, good, fair, or poor job- and found 2% replying "excellent," 7% "good" and 36% as "fair." Apparently, the 36% of respondents who believe that the legislative branch is doing a so-so job went by the wayside.

And many of those who believe Congress is doing a "poor" job, as Libit explained, "might feel that way because of the agenda the Democrats are pursuing. Or the respondent might disapprove because the Republicans are standing in the way of that agenda." Or in a variation of the latter understanding, respondents may be disappointed that Democrats are not confronting the Repubs standing in the way of progressive policies, a sentiment caught brilliantly today by extraordinary political cartoonist Tony Auth.

And perhaps the best news comes from last month's NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll (pdf; question #12), in which 33% of respondents wanted a return to Repub control of Congress while 52% want Democrats to continue their control. Now, if only Pelosi, Reid, et al. actually did control the House and the Senate....

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