Candidates have been criss-crossing their respective districts for well over a year now, laying out their platforms and making promises about how they’ll bring change to the offices they hope to hold.
But judging by Gallup’s latest poll, Americans aren’t necessarily buying what their potential representatives are selling. With just days to go before the election, the Congressional approval rating is still hovering just above its all-time low.
Congressional job approval in October matches the 14% average found so far in 2014.
The current approval figure is the lowest found in October of a midterm election year since Gallup began tracking this measure in 1974. Gallup has found that low congressional approval ratings before midterm elections are linked to higher seat turnover, especially for members of the president’s party. For example, congressional job approval in October was 21% in 2010, and 23% in 1994, two years when the president’s party lost a large number of seats.
However, in other years when approval of Congress was in the 20% range, seat loss was not as extreme. This suggests that although low congressional approval is related to seat loss for the president’s party, it is not a perfect predictor of what will happen in the upcoming elections. There likely are other factors at play, such as low presidential job approval and whether the president’s party is the majority party in Congress.
A low approval rating may not be a perfect predictor, but coupled with Republican momentum in battleground Senate races and an increasingly polarized and generally dissatisfied electorate, it looks as though dissatisfaction with Congress could play a huge part in helping put Republicans over the top.
This is a completely exploitable piece of data, and what it tells us about the electorate works well with existing general messaging strategy: we don’t have a “Do Nothing Congress.” We have “Do Nothing Democrats” who spend more time playing partisan politics than they do actually governing.
Majority or no, Republicans will need to ride this wave for as long as they can. Obama still has two more years left, and overcoming his veto pen may have less to do with more numbers and more to do with fears that souring public opinion will destroy whatever legacy he has managed to cobble together.DONATE
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