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How bad is Congress?
Posted by: McQ on Monday, January 21, 2008

Apparently bad enough that voters are rethinking their last vote which gave Democrats control. Or at least indicating they're not too keen on increasing it.

Of course, when talking "generic" this or that, that has little meaning when you look at actual Congressional ratings since Congressional races are indeed local races and regardless of the overall feeling one may have about Congress in general, it usually boils down to how your Rep did or didn't perform.

But these sorts of ratings do give you a temperature of the electorate and perhaps how they think of the party in charge. It could also be an indicator of how some very tight races may go. And if that is true, Democrats aren't going to like that Republicans have closed within 5 points of them for the first time since the 2006 mid-terms, per Rasmussen:
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that, if the Congressional Election were held today, 43% of American voters say they would vote for the Democrat in their district and 38% would opt for the Republican. That’s the closest Republicans have been on this measure since losing control of Congress in Election 2006. It’s also the first time in six months that the Democrat’s advantage has been in single digits. A month ago, the Democrats enjoyed a ten-point edge over the GOP.
There are a number of reasons or combinations of reasons this could be true (and one of them may very well be Iraq and what is happening there now in the face of repeated attempts by the Democratic Congress to end the effort there), but as it stands, that's a fairly substantial closing of the gap by Republicans. It may mean, given the performance of the Democratic Congress, that many voters have put their problems with the performance of Republicans behind them.

It may also signal a general feeling that a Democrat is going to take the White House and that they don't want the Democrats in general to have a free-hand in government.

It could also mean that independent voters, who everyone says are the difference makers in any of these elections, are beginning to wake up and pay attention. If so, Democrats have reason to be alarmed:
Among unaffiliated voters, Democrats attract 32%, Republicans 26%. A month ago, Democrats enjoyed a 41% to 21% margin among voters not affiliated with either major political party.
Something's up.

Or not.

All of this could be nothing more than an aberrant spike in the polling and mean nothing. But if I believed that, and didn't blog about it, we'd be left with one less subject to talk about. So let's assume it means something instead. It may give Paul Starr another reason to feel nervous.
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