There’s a big New York Times/CBS poll out, and it reveals that the state of public opinion hasn’t changed much since the summer. A quarter of respondents polled between October 21 and October 26 think the economy is on its way to getting better, the highest since July. A tad less than 80 percent think the economy is doing badly — in July, it was 82 percent, and it’s hovered in the same area since then. Obama’s approval rating hit 44 percent in July, and it’s stayed there since — now it’s at 45 percent.
The disdain for Obama has not reached historical levels — a new poll from Pew presented evidence that people were significantly more dissatisfied with Reagan and Clinton at this point in their presidencies. Hatred for Congress, however, is a different story.
Only 14 percent of Americans approve of how Congress is doing its job. At a similar point in the 2006 election cycle, right before Republicans lost the House, it had an approval rating of 29 percent, double the current amount. In 1994, it bottomed out at 20 percent. It’s not a fluke question: Less than a third of respondents thought their own congressman deserved reelection, a fifteen-point drop from 2006.
Republicans are not exactly well-liked; they’re just doing relatively better than before. When voters were asked if they were voting to put a specific party in control of Congress, they picked Republicans and Democrats equally, and 45 percent said they were doing it for other reasons. (In 2006, Democrats were favored by a sixteen-point margin.)
Most voters expect Obama to work with Republicans, while they are split on whether the Republicans will reciprocate. The blizzard of numbers makes clear that the Democrats are screwed and haven’t had much success changing that fact since the summer, but it also makes clear that congressional Republicans are also probably screwed (if not now, then next cycle), because everyone really hates Congress.