Friday, June 22, 2007

A good analysis on the low Congressional Public Opinion polls.

Congress is at a historical low public opionion level.

Mark Tapscott provides an excellent analysis (HT: CQ):
...First, the dramatic reversal of partisan political power seen in the November 2006 election was either simply a fluke or, more likely in my view, an inevitably lost opportunity for the winning Democrats. Short of an historically unprecedented philosophical reversal of course by the majority, it is hard to see Congress regaining anything remotely like a high level of public respect any time soon.

Seen in this light, Rep. Rahm Emanuel's recent declaration that the American people "are very happy with the things we have done" seems especially out of touch.

In fact, having raised and then frustrated public hopes for a fundamental change of course in Washington, the Democrats lost opportunity could well end up accelerating the crisis of public confidence that became increasingly evident as the previous GOP congressional majority frittered away the support that had kept it in power for a dozen years.

Second, Republicans should take no comfort in the Democrats' declining ratings. President Bush's insistence on pushing a bi-partisan immigration reform measure that is opposed three-to-one by people who are familiar with its provisions is indicative of the overall alienation of the political class from the views and concerns of everyday Americans.

The opposition to the Bush/Kennedy/McCain immigration reform appears to be hardening, too, as indicated by this UPI/Zogby International survey that finds only three percent - three percent! - of those surveyed approve of the way Congress is handling the issue. Bush gets only a nine percent approval rating on the issue in the survey, which has a 1.1 percent margin of error.

This is why there is no evidence of increasing public support for the GOP in recent weeks despite the failling ratings of the Democratic majority in Congress. The root problem is a bipartisan inability - or refusal - to adopt policies supported by clear majorities of the American people.

Those policies for the most part involve a significantly lower level of government activism, whereas the political class for the most part seeks only a higher level because it benefits, financially and otherwise, from the higher taxes, greater federal spending and heightened importance of public institutions.

Third, the experience of the fourth branch in recent years is perhaps indicative of what is ahead for the rest of the political class. The decline in public confidence in the mainstream media was evident more than a decade ago.

Until the advent of the Internet and tools like blogs for making it a convenient tool for mass communication, however, that public frustration had no positive outlet, other than Talk Radio. Now that blogs and other online news and commentary tools such as the Porkbusters and Sunlight Foundation approaches to public policy advocacy are developing at a rapid pace, the decline of the mainstream media as the crucial bridge between the public and policy-makers is evaporating.....


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