A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll was released Wednesday and it shows Americans are fed up with the gridlock and partisanship in Washington. Most of them blame Congress–Republicans in Congress. In addition, 57% of all voters want every single member of Congress tossed out including their own Representative. Voters would toss out 279 Republicans and 256 Democrats if they could.
What is shocking and sad is that voters tossed out every current member of Congress, they would likely replace them with the same type politicians that they tossed out and so nothing would change. Voters are evenly split (44% to 44%) on whether they want a Democrat or a Republican to replace the current members.
Given the current Republican majority of both Houses—279 to 256, and the fact that gerrymandering gives Republicans enough safe, non-competitive seats to hold the majority, what voters would do is replace Tweedledee Dee with Tweedledum Dumb—or Dumber, if that is even possible.
For President Obama, the polls were a mixed bag. His favorability ratings were down and more people expressed disapproval of his job performance, 51%, than the 45% that give him favorable marks. It appears these numbers are driven by his perceived performance on the economy where favorable/unfavorable percentages were about the same as his overall numbers. To put them in context, however, only 12% approved of the job Congress is doing and only 29% give Speaker Boehner a favorable rating.
What the president can feel good about is that in every category, his numbers are much better than Congress, and especially congress. A plurality of those polled blame Republicans in Congress and their partisanship and inflexibility to compromise as the main problem in Washington. In glancing at the poll, it is conceivable that it could be slightly skewed against the president. Perhaps the 12% approval for Congress is overly generous.
It is risky, however, to talk about skewed polls, as Romney found out.
The reason I say that poll could be skewed slightly toward the GOP is that far more of the respondents were married than single or never married. A total of 50% of poll respondents were married, only 20% were single or never married. In both 2008 and 2012, President Obama and Democrats did far better among single persons, especially unmarried women, than married persons of both genders.
The unmarried category would also include LGBT couples in the 37 states that do not allow same sex marriage thus skewing the results slightly toward the GOP since Obama and Democrats have strong support in the LGBT community.
If the political system in America were not rigged, this would be tragic news for Republicans. The system, however, is rigged by gerrymandering, voter suppression laws not legal in the eyes of the Supreme Court, and polluted with tainted corporate, special interest money. Those facts alone give a huge advantage to Republicans regardless of what the people want. They are rolling weighted dice.
Even if every one of the 279 Republicans who draw a paycheck in Congress now were fired, they would be replaced by 279 fresh Republicans who are more likely to resemble Rep. Steve King and Senator Ted Cruz than Rep. Cole or Senator Collins. The new group would bring about more gridlock than what we have.
The people, who do not like what is going on, stand very little chance of seeing things change. That is because our democracy was hijacked by right wing “crazies” put in office by special interests like Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers. It is unlikely in a generally apathetic environment in an off-year election that anything will change. It is not impossible, just improbable.
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