Three weeks ago, Republican pollster David Winston wrote in his weekly column in Roll Call (subscription required)
"The honeymoon is officially over. Like a pair of newlyweds back from a week on a warm Caribbean beach, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) suddenly have run head-on into the cold, harsh reality of wartime politics. They may have a majority, but the party's marriage of anti-war liberals and centrists seems shaky and sorely lacking in cohesion as Congressional Democrats struggle to find an Iraq War policy on which
they can agree.
Shrewdly, the Democrats kicked off their newly won control with their "100 Hours" agenda, kind of a "Contract with America"-lite, designed to score some quick public relations points with voters without the heavy lifting. Now, the first phase of their takeover is all but over, and the new majority's track record clearly has failed to impress the public.
In two media polls taken in early March by CBS News/New York Times and NBC/Wall Street Journal, Congressional job approval remained at a low ebb with a 31 percent approval rating and 53 percent disapproval. It's worth noting that the Democrats' low marks don't differ from Republicans' job approval of only a year ago when voters in these same polls gave Congress approval/disapproval ratings of 32 percent/54 percent and 33 percent/53 percent, respectively, just eight months before sending the GOP majority packing.
When I first read that passage, I thought Winston was an incredible idiot for making that statement. The Democrats had barely been running the House and Senate for two months, and he was already suggesting the American people had judged them. Of course, he was wrong.
A new AP Poll shows that Congressional approval is on the rise
, and much better than the Republicans from last year.
Public approval for Congress is at its highest level in a year as Democrats mark 100 days in power and step up their confrontation with President Bush over his handling of the Iraq War, the issue that overshadows all others.
The poll goes on to show that is President Bush and the GOP that have a problem with Iraq, not Democrats. So basically, every analysis made by David Winston turned out to be wrong, within a matter of weeks. Either he jumped the gun with his column or he is the Republican pollster version of Sanjaya (that means he's a talentless hack, Cliff. It's an American Idol reference). Either way, it will be interesting to see if he bothers to mention this change in his next column.
Of course, it is still to early to decide whether the American people support Democratic efforts in Congress. But it is clear in this poll (and just about every other one I've seen) that President Bush's stance, the de
facto Republican stance, on Iraq is opposed by a solid majority of Americans. Winston, like President Bush, refuses to acknowledge that they are on the wrong side. I sincerely hope that continues for another 19 months.NOTE TO BC FROM CLIFF
: While somewhat stupid, I am not culturally retarded, or dead. And I would have to be both to not know who Sanjaya is. All praise Howard Stern on this one
, especially if he does indeed achieve his stated goal of bringing that show down by promoting Sanjaya.SECOND NOTE FROM CLIFF
: I guess my sarcasm got lost in translation here. I thought by referring to myself as "somewhat stupid" people would understand that I was just having fun. So for those who have sent emails concerned BC and I are now picking our revolvers and taking our paces, I still love BC--you know in that safe GOP way--and was just kidding around. However, I am rooting for Howard Stern to rid the world of American Idol. Also BC smells.THIRD NOTE FROM PADDY
: Actually, they both smell.