Apples, Oranges, and Congressional Approval Ratings
Lately there's been a lot of talk about Congressional approval ratings. Conservative pundits are gleefully pointing out that Congress is now less popular than President Bush. Liberals are wringing their hands. There's talk that this may hurt the Democrats' chances of holding on to Congress in 2008.
Don't believe a word of it.
Oh, the numbers are correct. As little as 25% of people approve of the job Congress is doing, depending on whose polls you believe. And yes, 25% is less than 33%. But those numbers represent very different things. People don't go to the ballot box and vote on Congress, as a whole. They vote on their own Congressional representative, and people almost always like their own rep -- it's those other guys they can't stand. Congressional approval ratings haven't been above 50% in over 30 years and yet incumbents are reelected over 90% of the time.
Conservatives have been searching for a way to shine up 33% and make it look good for quite a while now. This attempt makes no more sense than the others.