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Thu Jan 3, 2013, 11:02 AM

Congress not fazed by public's disapproval

Four months ago, the United States Congress had a gloomy approval rating of just 12 percent. And that was before most Americans had ever heard of a "fiscal cliff."

The last NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll to measure congressional approval (August), showed that a whopping 82 percent of Americans disapproved of the job Congress was doing, an all-time record for the history of the survey.

By some estimates, Congress' approval rating could now -- after an ugly fiscal cliff fight and the brewing storm over aid to Hurricane Sandy victims -- be nearly within the margin of, well, zilch.


Experts say that because the ratings have been so poor for so long, members are no longer fazed by the public's overall disapproval. They note that the lambasting of Congress as a whole has minimal effects on individual races, especially when candidates run against the status quo of the very body they're trying to join.

Some 90 percent of lawmakers who ran for re-election in 2012 will be coming right back to Capitol Hill for the 113th Congress.

"Nobody ever votes on Congress as a whole, they vote on individual members," says Jack Pitney, professor at Claremont McKenna College in California. "The message that most lawmakers give their constituents is 'I'm great, it's these other bozos who are the problem.'"

For the most part, that pitch works.


http://nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/03/16309992-unloved-for-so-long-congress-not-fazed-by-publics-disapproval?lite


Congress has contempt for the American people in MY view!

7 replies, 1019 views

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Reply Congress not fazed by public's disapproval (Original post)
liberal N proud Jan 2013 OP
City Lights Jan 2013 #1
el_bryanto Jan 2013 #5
TwilightGardener Jan 2013 #2
jorno67 Jan 2013 #3
unblock Jan 2013 #4
eilen Jan 2013 #6
octoberlib Jan 2013 #7

Response to liberal N proud (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 11:05 AM

1. For the most part, they don't care what we think.

They are more interested in what their corporate sponsors think.

We the people, are irrelevant.

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Response to City Lights (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 12:07 PM

5. Well they care about what the people in their districts think.

But thanks to Gerrymandering that's not much of an impediment.

Bryant

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Response to liberal N proud (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 11:05 AM

2. They welcome our hatred.

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Response to liberal N proud (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 11:07 AM

3. Congress will never make the connection

Rethugs believe with all their heart that the low number are because of the Dems in congress and the Dems believe its the Rethugs that are getting the low numbers. And as long as they keep getting re-elected they will never believe anything else. This also another by-product of gerrymandering...

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Response to liberal N proud (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 12:00 PM

4. the problem is that most people hate congress but love their congresscritter.

these people work in an institution with 9% approval then go back to their districts where they have 60% approval.

the biggest offenders don't have any incentive to change.

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Response to liberal N proud (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 01:31 PM

6. I severely disliked my congresswoman and voted her out.

Suck on that Buerkle! Now, Mr. Maffei better not turn out to be another democratic empty suit or he will find he was just warming the seat for Ms. Rossum, the Green Party candidate aka, the only person who made sense throughout the campaign. Maffei did not endear himself to people by refusing debates and town halls.

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Response to liberal N proud (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 01:49 PM

7. All this obstructionism is a republican tactic to make people lose trust in Government

A couple of years ago, a Republican committee staff director told me candidly (and proudly) what the method was to all this obstruction and disruption. Should Republicans succeed in obstructing the Senate from doing its job, it would further lower Congress's generic favorability rating among the American people. By sabotaging the reputation of an institution of government, the party that is programmatically against government would come out the relative winner.

A deeply cynical tactic, to be sure, but a psychologically insightful one that plays on the weaknesses both of the voting public and the news media. There are tens of millions of low-information voters who hardly know which party controls which branch of government, let alone which party is pursuing a particular legislative tactic. These voters' confusion over who did what allows them to form the conclusion that "they are all crooks," and that "government is no good," further leading them to think, "a plague on both your houses" and "the parties are like two kids in a school yard." This ill-informed public cynicism, in its turn, further intensifies the long-term decline in public trust in government that has been taking place since the early 1960s - a distrust that has been stoked by Republican rhetoric at every turn ("Government is the problem," declared Ronald Reagan in 1980).

The media are also complicit in this phenomenon. Ever since the bifurcation of electronic media into a more or less respectable "hard news" segment and a rabidly ideological talk radio and cable TV political propaganda arm, the "respectable" media have been terrified of any criticism for perceived bias. Hence, they hew to the practice of false evenhandedness. Paul Krugman has skewered this tactic as being the "centrist cop-out." "I joked long ago," he says, "that if one party declared that the earth was flat, the headlines would read 'Views Differ on Shape of Planet.'"
This constant drizzle of "there the two parties go again!" stories out of the news bureaus, combined with the hazy confusion of low-information voters, means that the long-term Republican strategy of undermining confidence in our democratic institutions has reaped electoral dividends. The United States has nearly the lowest voter participation among Western democracies; this, again, is a consequence of the decline of trust in government institutions - if government is a racket and both parties are the same, why vote? And if the uninvolved middle declines to vote, it increases the electoral clout of a minority that is constantly being whipped into a lather by three hours daily of Rush Limbaugh or Fox News. There were only 44 million Republican voters in the 2010 mid-term elections, but they effectively canceled the political results of the election of President Obama by 69 million voters.


http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/3079:goodbye-to-all-that-reflections-of-a-gop-operative-who-left-the-cult

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