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How to interpret Congress' low ratings
Congress' ratings hit rock bottom, but what do they mean?
 

What happened
Only 9 percent of voters say Congress is doing a good or excellent job, according to a Rassmussen Reports poll. It was the first single-digit approval rating in Rasmussen's history. (Rasmussen Reports)

What the commentators said
"There’s a reason why this Congress is such a failure," said Tammy Bruce on FOXNews.com. Lawmakers "are obsessed with irrelevant petty squabbling, and apparently have contempt for the American people." Otherwise, the leadership of both parties "would apologize and resign en masse."

The Democratic leadership should be the first out the door, said Patrick Britton on The Daily Conservative blog. With their party in control, the Democrats have done "absolutely nothing"—they haven't adequately funded the Iraq war, and they've sat idly by as gas prices soar.

Democratic leaders must be entering "panic mode" about now, said John Feehery on The Hill's Pundits Blog, but the "intense partisanship" and scandals that have plagued both parties have contributed to the problem. "Most Americans don’t care if the Congress is run by Democrats or by Republicans. They just want the job to get done." And it isn't.

Don't read too much into the polls, said Daniel Libit on Politico. "Rasmussen didn’t ask respondents whether they approved or disapproved of Congress; it asked respondents to rank Congress’ job performance as excellent, good, fair, or poor." A substantial 36 percent gave congress a "fair" rating. "Is that approval or disapproval?

Even if voters are mad, said Gail Russell Chaddock in The Christian Science Monitor, sitting members of Congress probably have little to worry about. Regardless of who's to blame, most people make a distinction between their local representatives and Congress as a whole—which is why voters keep sending 90 percent of incumbents back to Washington.

 

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