Robert Moomaw writes:
As has been pointed out before, Congress as a whole traditionally gets lower approval ratings than the President for the simple reason that people on BOTH sides of the ideological aisle can disapprove of it -- the people backing the minority party will naturally disapprove of it, but a lot of the people backing the majority party will also say THEY disapprove of it because they don't think their party is doing an enthusiastic enough job of trampling the opposition underfoot. (Indeed, it's almost unprecedented for a President to come as close to having a lower approval rating than Congress as Bush has managed to do.) So, if you really want to know what the voters now think of the two parties in Congress, you have to ask them separately whether they approve of the Congressional Democrats and the Congressional Republicans -- a question which actually does get asked fairly frequently.
Well, the latest pollster to ask it is Fox News today -- and, like all other post-2006 election polls on the subject, they indicate that at the moment the Dems have very little to worry about, election-wise. The voters, as a whole, do disapprove of the Congressional Dems by a 13-point margin -- but they disapprove of the Congressional GOP by a 26-point margin: the same type of huge difference we've seen in recent ABC and Harris polls: http://www.pollingreport.com/congress.htm.
In short, the Effortfully Balanced Broder-type critics among the Talking Heads still don't know what they're talking about.