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Americans downgrade Congress to historic low 13% job approval

Obama and biden Laugh Big

Finally, some good news for President Obama, who just scored his own record lowest job approval.

Congress got an even lower grade -- 13% job approval with a record 84% disapproval.

Or put another way, somehow 13% of Americans still approve of Congress.

That would seem to pretty much narrow down the approvers to members' families and staff.

Imagine how bad Congress' job approval would be if it hadn't left town for another month of vacation.

Speaking of which, Obama and Joe Biden are both out of town too. Joe is in Asia. No, seriously. What harm could he do over there?

The president is taking a bus across parts of Iowa and Minnesota and Illinois this week, not for political purposes, you understand, but to explain again how America needs more jobs and creating them is still his top priority.

Gallup reported earlier this week that the Democratic chief executive's job approval had fallen to 39%, its lowest level since he took office 14 trillion seconds ago. No, it only seems that long. Obama's really been living in the White House for 938 days and he still hasn't come up with his own debt reduction plan.

More than two-out-of-three Americans believe the country is on the wrong track for some reason.

This new Gallup Poll on Congress is the first rating since members spent so many rancorous weeks concocting that budget/deficit deal that so impressed the Standard & Poor's credit agency it dropped the federal government's rating to AA+ with a negative outlook.

The previous time Gallup measured Congress' job was early July when 18% of Americans approved. Gallup has only been rating Congress for 37 years. The average approval in that time was 34%. But that number has been dropping in recent years.

Republicans were kind of thinking that with Democrats having to defend 23 of the 33 Senate seats up for election next year, the GOP had a good chance of taking control of that body after having captured the House in last fall's historic midterm turnover.

But they might want to be careful counting their gavels too soon. Americans' disapproval of Congress is a broad-based bipartisan sentiment, meaning any incumbents in either chamber could be in trouble come Nov. 6, 2012.

Independents are the most critical of Congress now, with only 9% approving and 86% disapproving. Among Democrats it's 15-83. And among Republicans it's 17-81.

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-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Larry Downing / Reuters (Obama and Biden celebrate someone having a lower job approval than they do).

 
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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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