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The incredibly shrinking favorable ratings for the Democratic Congress

May 24, 2010 |  5:48 am


A new poll on Congress, just out, finds that barely five months before a crucial midterm election, the favorability ratings of the majority Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill are shrinking among likely American voters. And the same, in fact, for the minority Republicans.

Which helps explain the strong anti-incumbent, anti-status quo feelings afoot in the land.

The new Rasmussen Reports poll says it's a good thing for House Speaker Nancy "We Will Have a Healthcare Bill" Pelosi that she only needs to win her San Francisco district, not nationally. Her favorable rating fell eight points from April to May, down to only 35%.

Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California

Fifty-seven percent view her unfavorably, up from 52% in April.

Even among Democrats, her favorables dropped from three-out-of-four to two-out-of-three, not the direction Democrats want to see their numbers going in a first midterm election year when, historically, the White House party loses seats on Capitol Hill, unless they're Bush Republicans in 2002.

The bad news is Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is worse off, in the opinion of likely voters. Fifty-three percent of Americans view the Nevadan unfavorably, while only a quarter view him favorably, down from 29% in April. Among Democrats, less than half (47%) think of him favorably.

Americans turned to the party of Pelosi and Reid in the 2006 election, returning control of both houses to Democrats after 12 years of GOP rule and six of Bush's eight White House years.

Senate Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid In 2008, American voters enhanced the Democrat majorities while also turning the presidency over to the same party. With exploding deficits and stubbornly high unemployment rates, voters now appear to be having second thoughts.

And while Republican candidates hold a five-point lead in the generic congressional ballot, the GOP's helpless leadership isn't doing well either. The favorable/unfavorables for House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio are 23-42, worse than last month's 27-37.

Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky's favorable/unfavorables are 30-38, both about the same as April, Rasmussen said.

The joke of the day, if it wasn't so serious, is that another recent Rasmussen survey found that nearly half of Americans (41%) believe that a random selection of people from any city telephone book would produce a more effective Congress than the crowd currently ensconced there.

And the new picks probably wouldn't mind the $174,000 annual salaries either.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Associated Press; Susan Walsh / Associated Press (Pelosi); Associated Press (Reid).