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Congress leaves on vacation and its voter approval improves; Coincidence?

April 13, 2010 |  3:58 pm

Capitol Steps 1915

After constructing nearly the worst voter-approval rating in its history, Congress appears to have finally figured out how to improve its image among Americans:

GO AWAY! GET OUT OF WASHINGTON! STOP DOING WHAT YOU DO DO!

After twice passing the increasingly unpopular Obama healthcare legislation, both houses of Congress, both controlled by Democrats, left town recently for another of their frequent recesses.

BAM!

The overall approval rating of Congress shot from its near-historic low of 16% to a whopping 23%, according to Gallup.

OK, 23% is only whopping here when it involves Sarah Palin. For Congress, it's pathetic.

In fact, the Congress led by Democrats Speaker Nancy "I Can Get My Own Plane Anytime I Want" Pelosi and Sen. Harry "Stop Calling Me Happy!" Reid has a lower approval rating than Darth Vader from the George "I'm Sure the Iraq Troop Surge Will Work" Bush years.

Which helps explain why nearly 20 House Democrats have opted for....

...voluntary retirement now, rather than risk mandatory layoff come the Nov. 2 midterm elections, given the nation's apparent antipathy toward incumbents these days.

Historically, a new president's party loses on average of 16 House seats in his first midterm. Also historically, Americans reelect about 80% of Senate incumbents and 90% of House incumbents. Since the Democrats have way more seats in the current Congress than the Republican suits, the Democrats have way more to lose this time.

Nevada Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Now, another new poll, also by Gallup, indicates the American mood is definitely moving in the direction of retiring additional Democrats this fall.

The new survey of generic congressional preferences finds that for the third straight week since the Democratic-controlled Congress passed Obama's healthcare plan, the Republican Party has led or tied the majority party among registered voters.

The GOP now leads in congressional preference 48-44.

Gallup's Lydia Saad notes how accurate such indicators have been historically among likely voters just before election day. And how rare it is for Republicans to lead in such a survey of registered voters.

The Republicans did lead like this in 1994 and 2002.

Hmmm, wait one minute. The year 1994 was Bill Clinton's first midterm election and his Democratic Party got waxed out of control of both houses by Republicans for the first time in 40 years.

Another time that Republicans led on the congressional generic ballot was 2002, Bush's first midterm election. That's when his Republican party actually increased its congressional membership for the first time in 68 years of new presidential midterms.

But that's probably just coincidence.

Related items:

Please, Mr. President, don't campaign for me

Myth-busting polls: 41% of Tea Party members are Dems, independents

Nevadans don't like healthcare, incumbents or Harry Reid

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Library of Congress (Capitol steps, 1915); Getty Images (Reid).

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