The WaPo noted about a week ago that congressional Republicans are still taking polls seriously, particularly when it comes to Iraq. When a recent Gallup poll included a hint of good news about Americans’ attitudes towards Gen. David Petraeus, “GOP Senate offices circulated the results.” The numbers were skewed, and Republicans were cherry-picking from the data, but the fact that they were even looking to polls in the first place shows that they are interested in public opinion.
And with that in mind, congressional Republicans might want to take a good, long look at the new WaPo/ABC poll.
Most Americans oppose fully funding President Bush’s $190 billion request for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a sizable majority support an expansion of a children’s health insurance bill he has promised to veto, putting Bush and many congressional Republicans on the wrong side of public opinion on upcoming foreign and domestic policy battles. [...]
Despite discontent with Congress this year, the public rates congressional Republicans (29 percent approve) lower than congressional Democrats (38 percent approve). When the parties are pitted directly against each other, the public broadly favors Democrats on Iraq, health care, the federal budget and the economy. Only on the issue of terrorism are Republicans at parity with Democrats.
What’s more, frustration with Congress stems entirely from the public’s desire to see lawmakers stand up to Bush on Iraq more, not less.
As for Congress' lack of popularity, by a 2 to 1 margin, those who are frustrated by the lack of progress in Congress this year blame the inaction on Bush and the GOP more than Dems. Fifty-one percent place primary fault with the president and congressional Republicans, and 25 percent on Democrats.
The next time you hear a conservative crowing that the Democratic Congress receives low marks, keep these numbers in mind.