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War Brings Down Democrats' Approval Ratings

Heading into a legislative stretch focused on domestic issues, congressional Democrats just received a not-so-flattering report card on their early efforts to thwart President Bush's handling of the Iraq war.

Democrats saw a sizeable drop in their job approval ratings over the past six weeks, with 44 percent of poll respondents approving and 49 percent disapproving, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll completed Friday. That's a 10-point drop from just six weeks earlier, when 54 percent of adults approved of Democrats' job performance, with 44 percent disapproving.

Democrats lost support among two key blocs -- centrists, who tilted heavily in their favor last fall, and the anti-war liberal base, which provided much of the energy for the huge election victories in November. According to tabulations from Jon Cohen, the Washington Post's polling director, 85 percent of liberal Democrats approved of the Pelosi-Reid Congress in mid-April, a number that dropped to 67 percent by the end of last week. In the same timeframe, Independents' views of Democrats fell from a nearly even split of 49 percent favorable and 48 percent unfavorable to 37-54.

Make no mistake, Bush and Republicans are as unpopular as ever. In fact, the president and his allies on Capitol Hill appear to have settled into a symbiotic relationship of unpopularity; Bush's approval-disapproval rating is 35-62, with congressional Republicans scoring a 36-58.

But the situation in Iraq leaves Democrats in a precarious position this summer, with the potential for ending up in the political quagmire side by side with Bush if they remain unsuccessful at stopping the war.

Democrats acknowledge that Iraq has dragged them down politically. They were unable to override Bush's veto last month of an Iraq spending bill brokered by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that included a timeline for withdrawal next year. The six-week long showdown ended with Democrats leaving for Memorial Day recess after giving Bush roughly $100 billion for Iraq with no binding withdrawal provisions.

"People are understandably frustrated by the fact that the Congress has not been able to force the president to change direction in Iraq," said Brendan Daly, Pelosi's spokesman. "Over the next few months, Speaker Pelosi has pledged numerous votes to change the President's failed policy and end the war."

Despite bold talk about continuing to challenge Bush on Iraq, neither chamber has queued up major Iraq votes over the next few weeks. The Senate is focused on passing a comprehensive immigration bill, possibly by the middle of next week, then plans to take up energy legislation followed by a massive overhaul of financing higher education.

After dealing with a couple dozen non-controversial resolutions today and tomorrow, the House is poised to close out the week by expanding federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

Democrats might have had hints a few weeks back of sagging poll numbers, which would explain why key leaders began clamoring for a broader agenda. Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), the architect of last fall's electoral victories and now No. 4 in House leadership, warned in early May of his party becoming a "one-trick pony" fixated on Iraq.

The Senate's next Iraq showdown isn't likely to come until mid-July, when it is expected to take on authorization of Pentagon spending. The House will take up a defense spending bill in a similar timeframe, but the current plan calls for the big Iraq spending issues to be deferred to a separate piece of legislation handled by Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), a leading anti-war voice.

By Paul Kane  |  June 5, 2007; 11:56 AM ET
Categories:  Dem. Leaders , Iraq  
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Comments

When are our so-called leaders going to wake up and realize what country they are supposed to represent? We don't respect each other, and our made-for-television politicians have made a caricature of American ideals. The US has no business interfering with the rest of the world when we are drowning in our own filth. Other countries see the hypocrisy. No wonder they hate us.

Posted by: Katharine Otto | June 5, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

The inevitable result of unrealistic expectations...

Liberal dem says - we put you in office to end the war, so you betrayed us by not ending it immediately

Political pragmatist says - you didn't put enough of them into office to end it immediately, so you're betraying them by withdrawing your support before they can bring the war to an end

Posted by: Patrick Huss | June 5, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Senator Biden is right--the Democrats can't end this war as long as they have such a thin majority and no way to overrule a sure presidential veto, when it comes to Iraq. To give Democrats lower grades because the administration and its friends at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue stick to the failed policy in Iraq (and elsewhere), does not make any sense.
Of course, the media make sure that the Iraq war burns Democrats--not those who lied to get us into it.

Posted by: B.N. | June 5, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

what would have been wrong with refusing to fund the war?

Posted by: anticlimacus | June 5, 2007 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Anybody who thinks Rahm Emanuel was the architect of the 2006 House election wins should read the Harvard study and learn the truth:
http://www.bepress.com/forum/vol4/iss3/art5/

Sorry, credit goes to Howard Dean's 50-state strategy and those who put it into effect, meaning state parties, labor, 527s, netroots and other activists.

From what I saw here in the Chicago area (the Tammy Duckworth case), I am glad that Rahm is gone and the DCCC is now headed by Chris VanHollen.

Posted by: Carol | June 5, 2007 11:20 PM | Report abuse

The Democrat-rats are just the other side of the same coin. The United $tates is a plutocrazy... with the democrat-rats having only slightly more compassion and common sense than the republiar party. That's why the war in Iraq-nam continues, our troops losing their lives for the $ake of corp-rat profits. The time is fast approaching for massive civil unrest and disobedience to the ruling class. It isn't the Muhammad-mads they (the ruling class) should worry about... it's the McVeighs!

Posted by: GUY FOX | June 6, 2007 1:16 AM | Report abuse

This is what the Democrats get for promising to end the war then capitulating when the going got a little rough. Democrats are not fighting hard enough (surprise surprise) and the public is deeply disappointed. That's why the 10 point drop.

Posted by: Christian in NYC | June 6, 2007 2:23 AM | Report abuse

THE DEMOCRAT'S HAVE NOT TAKEN A STRONG ENOUGH STAND AGAINST STOPPING THE WAR IN IRAQ . AND GETTING OUR TROOPS OUT.
THEY SEEM TO SUPPORT THE PRESIDENT IN FAVORING ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION AND THE CHEAP LABOR THEY BRING. ALL AT THE SAME TIME UNDERMINING THE AMERICAN MIDDLE CLASS WORKERS IN THIS COUNTRY. TO GIVE CITIZENSHIP WILL ENCOURAGE EVEN MORE ILLEGALS TO CROSS OUR UNPROTECTED BORDERS .FOR FREE BENEFITS THAT WILL BE
EVEN A GREATER DRAIN ON OUR ECONOMY. ALL OF THIS WITH THE FULL SUPPORT OF OUR ELECTED DEMOCRAT'S IN CONGRESS. IT APPEARS THAT EVEN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS NOT IN TUNE WITH THE AMERICAN PUBLIC.

Posted by: H HARRIS | June 6, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

THE DEMOCRAT'S HAVE NOT TAKEN A STRONG ENOUGH STAND AGAINST STOPPING THE WAR IN IRAQ . AND GETTING OUR TROOPS OUT.
THEY SEEM TO SUPPORT THE PRESIDENT IN FAVORING ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION AND THE CHEAP LABOR THEY BRING. ALL AT THE SAME TIME UNDERMINING THE AMERICAN MIDDLE CLASS WORKERS IN THIS COUNTRY. TO GIVE CITIZENSHIP WILL ENCOURAGE EVEN MORE ILLEGALS TO CROSS OUR UNPROTECTED BORDERS .FOR FREE BENEFITS THAT WILL BE
EVEN A GREATER DRAIN ON OUR ECONOMY. ALL OF THIS WITH THE FULL SUPPORT OF OUR ELECTED DEMOCRAT'S IN CONGRESS. IT APPEARS THAT EVEN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS NOT IN TUNE WITH THE AMERICAN PUBLIC.

Posted by: H HARRIS | June 6, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

THE DEMOCRAT'S HAVE NOT TAKEN A STRONG ENOUGH STAND AGAINST STOPPING THE WAR IN IRAQ . AND GETTING OUR TROOPS OUT.
THEY SEEM TO SUPPORT THE PRESIDENT IN FAVORING ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION AND THE CHEAP LABOR THEY BRING. ALL AT THE SAME TIME UNDERMINING THE AMERICAN MIDDLE CLASS WORKERS IN THIS COUNTRY. TO GIVE CITIZENSHIP WILL ENCOURAGE EVEN MORE ILLEGALS TO CROSS OUR UNPROTECTED BORDERS .FOR FREE BENEFITS THAT WILL BE
EVEN A GREATER DRAIN ON OUR ECONOMY. ALL OF THIS WITH THE FULL SUPPORT OF OUR ELECTED DEMOCRAT'S IN CONGRESS. IT APPEARS THAT EVEN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS NOT IN TUNE WITH THE AMERICAN PUBLIC.

Posted by: H HARRIS | June 6, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Guy Fox, thanks for clearing up the current state of affairs with your pithy comments. Now that you can so clearly diagnose the real problem what are you doing to change the situation and bring relief to those who are suffering? Can you better explain how the terrorists and Timothy McVeighs of the world have actually improved the situation for anyone they purport to represent? All I see is a result of their actions is death and suffering for those who can afford it the least and even more power for those who need it the least.

Posted by: Wolfinsheeplesclothing | June 6, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Unemployed narcissistic cornpone ego-tripping ambulance chaser John "Jihad" Edwards isn't helping them any. And he still parts his hair on the wrong side.

Posted by: Philip V. Riggio | June 6, 2007 9:14 PM | Report abuse

House Approves Bill Reaffirming U.S. Long-Term Commitment to Afghanistan's Security

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) and ranking Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida providing more funding for development, economic and security assistance programs in Afghanistan for the next three years and establishing a coordinator to tackle the growing threat of narcotics.

http://onthehillblog.blogspot.com/2007/06/house-approves-bill-reaffirming-us-long.html

Posted by: Anonymous | June 6, 2007 10:26 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats want to run "anti-war" in 2008 without being blamed for the potential calamities of a quick withdrawal or cries that they cut the troops short. Of course, there is no "victory" to be had in Iraq, but neither is there any prize for any exit, and there are plenty of demagogues prepared to lambast anyone who calls the situation what it really is: a bloody failure.

Posted by: JKoch | June 7, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

The 2006 election was not enough to bring about any real changes, but it was a start. It took several years for the US to get into this hole, it will require at least one more election cycle to get us on the road to progress. I hope the people will understand this, and remain engaged in the process, as the real work is only begun.

Posted by: UncleTom | June 9, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

True enough that democrats lack the votes to override a presidential veto. I suppose the could work harder to end the war, but I don't see the desired outcome there.

My suggestion if the democrats are absolutely unified and this is legally allowable:

Just keep sending Bush the same bill with the same of even tighter timeline for withdrawal from Iraq after every veto. Let Bush take all responsibility for not ending the war and bringing the soldiers home. If he continues to veto the bill, perhaps Bush would be seen as obstructing the will of people (as he is doing) and the popularity of him and Rep. congressmen would continue to spiral downward. I suppose this could backfire on the democrats, but it's hard to see how. They've held up their end of the bargain in trying to end the war in Iraq.

In the end, the American people are to blame. They elected Bush, put Republicans in coontrol of the House and Senate, believed the unbelievable, i.e. the reasons for going to war. Thus administration doesn't give a hoot what the American people think. Occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan was planned to be permanent from day one. Get used to it.

Posted by: maddog56 | June 9, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

START LISTENING TO JOHN MURTHA (D-PA) ON THE IRAQ WAR. I GUY HAS BEEN RIGHT... LITERALLY FOR TWO YEARS NOW. WE NEED HIM TO SOMEHOW CONVINCE ALL THE "ROSY" SCANRIO WEIRDOS LIKE CHRIS SHAYS AND OTHER HOUSE GOPS MEMBERS THAT IRAQ ISNT A WAR MOVIE ON TV. JOIN MURTHA IN GETTING OUR TROOPS OUT OF THE CIVIL WAR AND BRINGING THEM HOME, WHILE CUTTING OUT CONTRACTORS.

Posted by: Jesse Walker-PA12th Distr. | June 14, 2007 8:50 PM | Report abuse

so abstrat

Posted by: li shuhua | June 16, 2007 12:51 AM | Report abuse

so abstrat

Posted by: li shuhua | June 16, 2007 12:52 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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