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Does lowest congressional approval mean trouble for Democrats?

July 9, 2008 |  1:46 am

Good thing America's dissatisfied voters took control of Congress away from that other crowd two years ago. Because since the new party took over, congressional approval ratings have plummeted to tie a historical low.

Say what?

Weren't the outs supposed to fix things on Capitol Hill once they became the ins? And controlled all the investigations? And the agenda? And the committees?

A new poll shows that the percentage of voters Capitol Hill about which a majority of American voters are very dissatisfiedwho say Congress is doing an excellent or good job has fallen to single digits for the first time in the tracking history of Rasmussen Reports.

Nine percent say that.

Which is down from 11% in May.

Only 3% of independents say Congress is doing a good or excellent job, half the previous month's rating.

A majority of Americans (52%) say House and Senate members are doing a poor job, which ties the record high for that dubious rating.

A whopping 72% believe members of Congress are more interested in furthering their own careers than doing public good. And only 14 of every 100 Americans think senators or representatives are genuinely interested in helping real people.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement of their public service.

The big unanswered question:

If such an overwhelming percentage of voters are so dissatisfied with the congressional work of a Democratic majority they elected just two years ago, a worse rating than even the scandal-plagued Republicans had in 2006, what does this do to the conventional wisdom that 2008 is a year for substantial gains by Democrats in both houses?

Will voters buy the argument that the 2006 majority led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid didn't work. So maybe another one will?

Do GOP members appear so dispirited they don't present a realistic alternative?

Or will dissatisfied voters, for once, turn on incumbents from both parties?

What do you think?

--Andrew Malcolm