Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Liars, thieves and lobbyists

Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Congress’s approval rating has fallen to its lowest level in more than two decades, according to a Pew poll that also shows Democrats fare better than Republicans among U.S. adults.

Thirty-seven percent of those questioned gave Congress a favorable rating, the lowest in the poll’s 24-year history and a 13-point decline since April. Fifty-two percent rated Congress unfavorably.

The poll of 2,003 adults was conducted Aug. 20-27 by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life of Congress. The survey had a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points.

Congress returns to Washington next week to resume work on a proposed overhaul of health care that President Barack Obama has listed as a top priority. The lawmakers also are confronting legislation to curb the emissions blamed for global warming.

The Pew poll showed that respondents, by a margin of 46-27 percent, say Democrats would do a better job than Republicans of overhauling health care. Forty-five percent said they have confidence in Democratic congressional leaders compared with 40 percent for Republicans.

Fifty-five percent said they had confidence in Obama’s ability to handle health care.

The respondents also favored Democrats over Republicans on other issues, saying they had more confidence in the majority party as follows: 42-32 percent on the economy, 47-25 percent on energy and 44-31 percent on foreign policy.

Honest Government

The poll found Americans believe Democrats care more about people like them by a 51-27 percent margin and regard Democrats as more honest and ethical by 42-26 percent.

Even so, Democratic support slipped to 45 percent when the poll asked which party’s candidate the respondent would vote for in next year’s election or which way the respondent was leaning. Fifty-two percent picked the Democratic candidate in a poll preceding the 2006 elections when the party captured both houses of Congress.

The comparable figures for Republicans were 44 percent in the next election, up from 40 percent four years earlier.

Among those who described themselves as independent voters, the generic Republican candidate was supported over the Democrat 43-38 percent. In a poll preceding the 2006midterm elections, Democrats held an 11 percentage point edge among independents.

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