More than half the U.S. electorate would, given the chance, fire every sitting member of Congress and start all over again, a new survey from pollster Scott Rasmussen finds.
In a stinging rebuke to the leadership of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., 57 percent of the 1,000 likely voters queried by Rasmussen said their dissatisfaction with the way the current Congress is performing would push them to hit the reset button.
The new numbers, Rasmussen says, reflect a partisan shift since last fall. Therefore it is not surprising to find that Republicans have grown less satisfied with Congress. The number of Democrats who endorsed the current Congress has nearly doubled over the same period, rising from 25 percent in October of 2008 to 43 percent in August of 2009. But even with the 18 percent increase in support among Democrats, only a quarter of the total number of people surveyed (25 percent) said they would vote to keep the entire Congress.
On its face this seems a bit odd. The Democrats currently have a 256 to 178 advantage over the Republicans in the House and a 60-vote, filibuster proof majority in the Senate, meaning the party of President Obama can do just about anything it wants. Yet the advance of the president's legislative agenda, which seemed to be raging ahead with the force of typhoon during his first 100 days in office, seems to have slowed to a crawl.
It may be that, by pushing a hard left agenda that includes a cap and trade energy tax, an increased role for government in the healthcare sector, higher taxes and more spending, Obama and the Democrats are losing the middle. The Rasmussen data certainly supports this thesis.
The support of voters not affiliated with either party—so-called "Independents"—was critical to Obama's victory last November. Now, says, Rasmussen, those voters are shifting, with 70 percent of them now saying they would vote "to replace all of the elected politicians in the House and Senate."
There are other numbers that are equally startling. Only 22 percent of those surveyed said they thought Congress understood the healthcare issue. Almost three quarters (74 percent) said they trusted their own economic judgment more than Congress.' And just 14 percent appraised Congress' performance as "good" or "excellent."
With numbers like these it is not surprising that healthcare reform and the cap and trade energy tax have slowed almost to a stop in the Senate. They are afraid that 2010 may see the national trend of increased unemployment hit the U.S. Senate, perhaps as high as the double digits if Obama's agenda is enacted without complaint.