Friday, June 22, 2012

Congressional Approval ratings in the US

Yeah, I have politics on the brain again, or more accurately the way they're covered here in the US.

One of the things Fox News has on their politics page is a running tally of Congressional and Presidential approval ratings.  I glanced at it today, and it got me thinking about it.  If the numbers are to be believed then not a single member of Congress up for election this year would stand a chance, but since they've been that low for years and years now something must be flawed with them.

No, it's not a conspiracy.  Seriously, put down the tinfoil it's not hat making time.  What it comes down to is the fact that we as humans, but nature, tend to blame the other guy for problems.  In this case, the President does okay because he's one guy, and Congress suffers because it's easier to blame a faceless entity then a single person.

So, how do we fix this problem?  It's not easy but I'd suggest a subtle change in the polling.  Poll people for their opinions on their individual Congressperson.  Take that number and average it out for a better meter as to how people really feel about Congress.  The advantage of this is it allows you to break things out by party and by chamber if you so choose, so you could have a rating for Republican Senators or Democratic Representatives, and get a much better idea where the will of the people was falling.  Basically, it only adds two questions to any poll, which even in this short attention span age isn't too bad.  I strongly suspect you'd see a sudden jump in approval numbers on both sides of this isle.  That, or we will have a rather large freshmen class up in the Capitol this year.

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