Gallup is reporting that their latest Congressional Approval poll has resulted in the lowest approval rating for Congress ever recorded: 14%.
PRINCETON, NJ -- Congress' job approval rating has dropped five percentage points over the past month, from 19% in June to 14% in July, making the current reading the lowest congressional job approval rating in the 34-year Gallup Poll history of asking the question. The previous low was 18%, last reached in May.
Gallup goes on to point out that the latest drop is due almost entirely to Democrats feasting on their own (a habit that they seem to enjoy, and which the GOP can exploit). In a twist that's quite stunning, Republicans (at 19%) and Independents (at 14%) give higher approval ratings to Congress than do the Democrats' own party members (at 11%).
It gets worse for this Democratic Congress. In the thirty four years that Gallup has been measuring Congressional Approval by the month, that number has dipped below 20% only six times. This Democrat-led Congress owns four of those occurrences (8/07, 5/08, 6/08, and this last month). The other two months that the approval rating dipped below 20% was in June 1979 and March 1992. Democrats controlled both the Senate and the House in those two months as well. After the dismal approval rating of the Democratic Congress in 1979, the GOP assumed the majority in the next Senate. After the Dem's 1992 performance, the Republicans won the majority in both the House and the Senate two years later.
Message to Republicans: all is not lost, yet. No one is happy with today's Congress. Very few want "more of the same". If the GOP could get its act together and develop a good communications plan around solid issues (like drilling, for instance), they could make some real advances in the fall elections -- even as the usual suspects continue to refer to 2008 as a "Democratic year".