Public discontent with Congress has reached record levels, and the implications for incumbents in next year’s elections could be stark. The Republican Party is taking more of the blame than the Democrats for a do-nothing Congress.
President Barack Obama's job rating has improved modestly over the past month, although few Americans approve of the way he is handling the economy. In addition, a majority of Americans continue to hold a favorable personal opinion of Obama. This is not the case for his main GOP rivals, whom he mostly bests in test election measures.
In the last four national elections, generation has mattered more in American elections than it has in decades. This continues to be true as voters look ahead toward the 2012 general election. In a contest between President Obama and Mitt Romney, there is a 20-point gap in support for Obama between Millennials and the over-65 Silent generation.
For the first time in his presidency, significantly more Americans disapprove than approve of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president and and the margin of strong disapproval over strong approval has widened. But the public is also profoundly discontented with the political leadership of both parties, angry at the federal government and dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country.
More Americans now think that members of Congress who support the Tea Party are having a negative effect than said that in January, at the start of the new Congress.
The public overwhelmingly favors a compromise in the debt ceiling standoff, with 68% saying they want lawmakers to agree to a deal even if they disagree with it. Republicans overall favor a compromise by a small majority, but those who identify with the tea party movement say their representatives should stick to their principles.
About as many now approve (47%) as disapprove (45%) of the way Obama is handling his job with the president getting especially negative ratings on his handling of the budget deficit and the overall economy. The GOP has an advantage on the budget, while Democrats are favored on traits such as concern for average people, willingness to work with the opposition, and ethics. The parties run about even on jobs and health care.
As has been the case since last summer, the public is evenly divided over Obama's job performance, while his personal image remains on balance positive. Opinion of the GOP congressional leadership, however, has become far more negative since the midterm elections.
When the 2010 Census apportionment counts were announced last month, they showed that North Carolina, which scored the last seat in 2000, fell short of winning the 435th or last seat. This time, Minnesota was the winner.
Hispanic voters are nearly three times more prevalent in states that gained congressional seats and Electoral College votes in the 2010 reapportionment than they are in states that lost seats.