Thursday, September 21, 2006

Public takes dim view of job Congress is doing

With the midterm elections less than seven weeks away, Americans have an overwhelmingly negative view of the Republican-controlled Congress, with substantial majorities saying that they disapprove of the job it is doing and that its members do not deserve reelection, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

The disregard for Congress is the most intense it has been since 1994, when Republicans captured 52 seats to end four decades of Democratic control of the House and retook the Senate as well. It underlines the challenge the Republican Party faces in trying to hold onto power in the face of a surge in anti-incumbent sentiment.

By overwhelming margins, respondents said that members of Congress were too tied to special interests and that they did not understand the needs and problems of average Americans. Two-thirds said Congress had accomplished less than it typically does in a two-year session; most said they said they could not name a single major piece of legislation that cleared this Congress. Just 25 percent said they approved of the way Congress was doing its job.
The Times/CBS News poll also found that President Bush did not improve his own or his party's standing through the intense campaign of speeches he made and events he attended surrounding the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The speeches were at the heart of a Republican strategy to thrust national security to the forefront in the fall elections.

Bush's job approval rating was 37 percent, virtually unchanged from the last Times/CBS News poll, which was conducted in August. On the issue that has been a bulwark for Bush, 54 percent said they approve of the way he is managing the effort to combat terrorists, again unchanged from last month, though up from earlier this spring.

FULL STORY

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