Americans remain annoyed by Capitol Hill lawmakers. Overall, 71% of U.S. adults disapprove of Congress. That includes 82% of Republicans, 69% of independents, 68% of Democrats, 83% of conservatives, 64% of moderates and 66% of liberals.
Among men, 71% disapprove. Same with women, 71%. That number goes to 75% among Whites. It’s 66% of non-Whites. Among those 18-34 years old, 66% disapprove, along with 70% of those 35-54 and 76% of those over 55.
So says a new Gallup poll of 1,023 U.S. adults as conducted Jan. 4-15 and released Saturday. Gallup, incidentally, has tracked the approval record of Congress since 1974.
These ratings can provide a teachable moment for squabbling lawmakers — and here it is: The public appreciates a show of unity, particularly in dire times.
Consider that the lowest disapproval rating of Congress on record occurred in a poll conducted Oct. 11-14, 2001, — a month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Just 10% of the public disapproved of the lawmakers. That finding occurred just as both political parties expressed unity in multiple, meaningful ways — including the time when lawmakers sang “God Bless America” on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.
“On this date, after evacuating the Capitol earlier in the day, roughly 150 members of Congress came together in the evening on the building’s East Front steps to convey the resolve of the nation during a time of great tragedy. Senators stood by Representatives, Democrats next to Republicans, and the leadership of both houses gathered as a symbol of strength for a country shocked and saddened by the day’s barbaric acts of terrorism,” noted the official history of the House at the time.
“The image of the Congress standing strong and united became an important source of inspiration in the days following the attack. The outpouring of patriotism reverberated around the world,” the history said.
The lawmakers, by the way, reprised that event 9/11 anniversaries that followed.
Meanwhile, the highest rate of disapproval — 86% — occurred on four occasions: December 2011, February 2012, November 2013 and November 2015. The events that prompted that quartet of historically bad numbers will be covered in a future column.
THE IMPEACHMENT TRAIN SLOWS TO A CRAWL
Impeaching former President Donald Trump for the second time around was once all the rage, both on Capitol Hill and throughout the gleeful news media. That fervor appears to have cooled among those who were hoping to have the trial all wrapped up in a convenient week or so.
““The impeachment train is losing steam,” writes Nate Ashworth, founder of Election Central, a news site.
“Despite the continued talk of calling witnesses, or attempting to get former aides of President Trump to testify against him, it now appears some senior Democratic senators are pushing for a speedy impeachment trial to last no longer than a single week,” Mr. Ashworth points out.
“In contrast to earlier calls, which would have seen the trial drag out over several weeks, the about-face in attitude seems to stem from fears that the trial will quickly devour President Biden’s agenda into the month of February if it’s not dealt with in a timely fashion,” he advises.
A TIDY SUMMATION
It’s hard to find the simple truths about important matters, what with biased or manipulative media coverage at work these days. But fear not. GOP watchdogs are on the job, producing such helpful studies as the “Pandemic Response Report” issued Monday by the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. It counts House Republican Whip Steve Scalise as its ranking member.
“Last week, Censers for Disease Control officials called for returning children to classrooms as soon as possible, underscoring in-person learning can be carried out safely,” the report noted, also citing a pivotal quote from Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“It’s less likely for a child to get infected in the school setting than if they were just in the community,” Dr. Fauci told MSNBC.
“However, radical unions continue to ignore the science. Will President Biden cave to unions’ demands or follow the science and put children’s needs first?” the report asked.
Among other topics, the report also expressed concern that President Biden’s current vaccine plan is actually former President Donald Trump’s plan in disguise.
“Before he assumed office, the United States was already administering close to a million vaccines a day. By doing simple math, we are on track to deliver 100 million doses in 100 days, showing that President Biden’s plan is not a new plan at all and leans on the Trump administration’s success. Will President Biden come up with his own plan?” the report asks.
IS THAT ELEVATOR MUSIC YOU HEAR?
“If the Trump administration was a rock concert, or maybe, with its frenetic pace, like dropping ecstasy at an electronic dance music concert, the Biden administration is smooth jazz. It’s elevator music. It’s easy listening,” says Steve Krakauer, founder of Fourth Watch, a newsletter that monitors the press and culture.
“That will present a new challenge for the media in covering this administration, completely separate from the political affiliation. It’s a different style than before, but ‘easy listening’ spin, or misinformation, or even lies, is still spin, misinformation and lies,” Mr. Krakauer points out.
He particularly cites claims from the Biden administration that they “started from scratch” to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine rather than acknowledging former President Donald Trump’s role in the massive program.
He is also concerned about “the media’s fawning over White House press secretary Jen Psaki” — who was a political contributor to CNN from 2017-2020.
POLL DU JOUR
• 34% of U.S. adults think the Biden administration will be “largely free of major scandals”; 8% of Republicans, 25% of independents and 65% of Democrats agree.
• 24% overall think the Biden administration will have “many major scandals”; 50% of Republicans, 24% of independents and 3% of Democrats agree.
• 22% overall think the Biden administration will have “a major scandal or two”; 25% of Republicans, 25% of independents and 16% of Democrats agree.
• 21% overall are not sure; 16% of Republicans, 27% of independents and 16% of Democrats agree.
Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 24-26.
• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.
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