by Jonathan Singer, Tue Oct 02, 2007 at 10:00:29 AM EDT
Even considering President Bush's intransigence and his willingness to wield his veto stamp, as well as Senate Republicans' unprecedented use of the filibuster, few would voice much contentment with the results reached under the Democratic Congress. Nevertheless, that doesn't mean that Americans are itching for a return to Republican rule. Far from it, indeed.
The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll (.pdf) shows that despite Americans' unhappiness with the Congress as a whole, the public still favors the Democrats to the Republicans or George W. Bush and generally agrees with the policies set forth by the Democdratic Party. As I noted in an open thread last night, Congressional Democrats' approval rating (38 percent) is higher than that of President Bush (33 percent) or that of Congressional Republicans (29 percent). Moreover, though 82 percent of respondents believe that Congress has not accomplished enough this year, the majority of this group (51 percent) say blame for this situation lies with President Bush and the Republicans in Congress while just a quarter (25 percent) lay blame with the Democrats. Clearly, the fact that the Republicans on Capitol Hill and in the White House have gone to historic lengths to subvert the will of the American people is not getting lost on Americans.
The Democrats' strong position relative to that of the GOP is not limited to these topline numbers. According to this survey, the Democrats are favored to the Republicans on every issue polled (though the Democrats' advantage on the so-called "war on terror" is within the margin of error). In fact, the Democrats have never before held as large a lead on the question of dealing with the situation in Iraq as they now do, and their lead on the economy is as large as it has ever been dating back to 1990. Even more profoundly, perhaps, while a decade ago Americans favored a less intrusive government to a more intrusive one by a 62 percent to 32 percent margin, Americans now favor an activist government by a 55 percent to 38 percent margin -- a thorough rejection of the Republicans' and conservatives' desire to shrink the size of government to the size at which it could be drowned in a bathtub.
There is little question that the Democrats need to be doing more. One need not read these polling results showing that by a 55 percent to 35 percent margin Americans believe the Democrats aren't going far enough to oppose the Iraq War to know this. That said, even as the Democrats need to work harder and more diligently if they hope to be returned to power next fall, Americans continue to reject the vision for this country put forth by George W. Bush and his Republican allies in Congress and don't seem particularly likely to back the GOP next fall, either.