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The Most Important Number in Politics Today



Is Congress running too fast? Photo by Tobias Schwarz/REUTERS

56

That's the percentage of people unhappy with the pace of Congress, according to a new national survey conducted by Public Strategies Inc. for Politico.

Within that 56 percent, the vast majority (63 percent) of the sample said their unhappiness came from Congress moving too fast, a potential trouble spot for an Administration and Democratic-led House and Senate who take their ability to deal with a number of major issues simultaneously as a point of pride.

Since the start of the Obama Administration, Republicans in Congress have insisted that Obama is doing too much, too soon.

When President Obama flew to Copenhagen last month to make for Chicago to be the site of the 2016 Summer Olympics, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele asked: "Where's the focus?"

And, on health care, congressional Republicans have insisted that their Democratic counterparts are trying to overhaul a complicated system with a massive bill that few of their members have even read.

"This is a 1500-page bill that is being written behind closed doors, away from the public," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) today. "We think it should be available online for 72 hours so that we in Congress and the American people have an opportunity to review it."

This issue is fascinating because both sides believe deeply that they are on the right side of it politically.

Republicans believe that the American public thinks Obama and the Democratic-led Congress are trying to do too much and not focusing on the things -- the economy and job creation -- that the American people truly care about.

The White House and Congressional Democrats see voters longing for a government that can effectively tackle a number of issues at once -- particularly after the difficulties the Bush Administration had with basics of governing.

For those who believe Congress is moving too far, too fast, 2010 will undoubtedly provide some solace since, as veteran political observers know, almost nothing gets done (or even tried) in an election year.

NOTE: The poll referred to above was conducted via the Internet not by a traditional live caller approach. That methodology remains suspect in many polling circles.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 20, 2009; 11:02 AM ET
Categories:  Most Important Number  
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Comments

I don't know which is worse:

1) citing an internet poll;

2) taking a poll in which the results say only a little more than a 3rd of the people believe the congress is moving too fast and only citing that group as a percentage of those that don't think the congress is moving at the right speed. The post you wrote reads like something off of an RNC news feed.

This has to be about the worst written blog post I've seen in a while, unless the intent was to put out inaccurate and biased information.

Posted by: melchior1 | October 22, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Chris, F_L_Palmer made the same point I was going to make... and so don't you think the actual news in this information is that the majority of Americans feel that Congress is either moving at the right speed or too slowly? Your reporting here is making it seem like most Americans are in the "too much, too fast" camp and that's simply not true.

Posted by: benniecsmith | October 21, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Um, Chris,

"Within that 56 percent, the vast majority (63 percent) of the sample said their unhappiness came from Congress moving too fast"
Simple arithmetic says that 35% or 36% say that Congress moving too fast.
Now, obviously, you are among that percentage. But another 44% say that it's moving about right (or don't know).
And about 20% say that it's moving too slowly. (All of whomo post on Daily Kos, but that's another story.)
So congress is moving too fast since a little more than a third of the electorate say so? That is, after all, a smaller percentage than voted against change last November.

Posted by: F_L_Palmer | October 21, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

If the media could just lower the bar a little more, the GOP comeback would look even more impressive:

"GOP Celebrates Its Strong Prospects In Traditionally Conservative Districts!"

"GOP Effectively Distances Itself From Popular Policy Initiatives!"

"GOP Exceeds Expectations In Stirring Up Irrational Hatred and Division!"

The list goes on and on . .

Posted by: nodebris | October 20, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Hard to believe that with the previous column announcing GOP approval down to 19% and almost everyone else disapproving, that the 19% wouldn't be the day's Most Important Number (hereafter "MINiPT," pronounced "mini-pee-tee").

Looks like all that screaming about birth certificates and teleprompters isn't working so well.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 20, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Can't wait to see the 2012 electoral map.

==

GOP loss postmortem: "we let down the American people! we WEREN'T CONSERVATIVE ENOUGH"

Wouldn't count out the "GOP comeback" theme, not for several uninterrupted weeks.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 20, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Jake, come back.

They say BHO's "long form" birth certificate has been found in Harlem. It's hidden in a bin marked "Snipes inside" in the alley behind the Apollo Theatre. Folks will be waiting for you.

Jake, come back.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 20, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Most important number? 20! (The percentage of Americans who self-identify as Republicans)

This is a WashPo poll. How is this not the most important number today?

“Only 20 percent of Americans now identify themselves as Republicans, the fewest in 26 years. ,,, Americans by 51-37 percent in this latest ABC News/Washington Post poll say they’d rather see a plan pass Congress without Republican support, if it includes a public option based on affordability, than with Republican backing but no such element.”

So all that's left are the birthers, teabaggers, deathers, tenthers (another racial proxy agenda that holds, on a states' rights theory, you can ignore whatever our President says; Pawlenty is a tenther), secessionists, white supremacists, Faux News addicts, broadcast bigots, and Palinites. Led I guess by folks like the 38-year-old President of the "Young" Republicans, Audra Shay, who allegedly insists that the main problem with the U.S. is its "[rac]coons." Can't wait to see the 2012 electoral map.

GOP comeback. RIP.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 20, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Why do so many conservatives celebrate those like Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin who seem to take pride in and relish their appalling lack of intellect and blatant stupidity? No wonder you have reasonably intelligent conservatives like Lindsey Graham disowning these types.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | October 20, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

So far as I know 63% of 56% is a mere 35%. So slightly more than one-third of the sample in a poll with questionable methodology thinks Congress is doing too much? That is no suprise.

Once major legislation is actually passed, particularly health care reform and financial regulatory reform even that suspect number will likely decline. Also there will be action on discrete economic measures like unemployment benefits extension----which Republicans seem to be trying to delay or oppose which is certainly politically suicidal, extension of the mortgage tax credit for homebuyers, and possibly a job-creation tax credit or payroll tax cut, or both to further stimulate the economy and help the job market. Don't see any of those measures being regarded negatively.

The Republicans are likely to merely continue to be the Party of NO, the party who refuses to acknowledge there are problems that need to be solved or to offer solutions and to continue to ignore those problems. No Republican yet has come forward with a real vision of the future, of how the current problems are going to be solved. If we had listened to the Republican Party's right wing, we would be in the midst of a second Great Depression.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | October 20, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Great post zouk -- 51 minutes to come up with that?

Another classic from Ace McNumbnutz.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | October 20, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Poor zouk. Apparently his master(bation) list of Fix posters is still hanging on the wall of mommy's basement.

Posted by: koolkat_1960

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

and with that statement, we have reached the pinnicle of thought for Loud and Dumb. very clever Ace. did you lay awake nights coming up with that?

Posted by: snowbama | October 20, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

"Within that 56 percent, the vast majority (63 percent) of the sample said their unhappiness came from Congress moving too fast, a potential trouble spot for an Administration and Democratic-led House and Senate"

This is such nonsense - 56 percent of 63 percent is roughly 35%, which equals the GOP base, and they are the only ones who care about Congress acting too quickly, because they oppose "change," Obama, reforming the most expensive, inefficient health care system in the world, etc. Indeed, these are the folks who think Obama is from Kenya, is a Muslim, and who think insurance companies are just dandy. Mr. Fix completely misreads this number.

Posted by: jbentley4 | October 20, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't congress know there is a crisis? The greatest crisis since the last crisis. Rham it home !

Posted by: leapin | October 20, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Poor zouk. Apparently his master(bation) list of Fix posters is still hanging on the wall of mommy's basement.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | October 20, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Loud and Dumb returning to the history of moronic behavior.

Are you upset you weren't on the list of all time idiots we compiled the other night. don't feel too bad. you keep changing your name, Ace.

but even the alltime moonbat(ess) in chief was overlooked. but not the most ignorant of all time - CF8. Funny thing about samples, they often miss important details, or moonbats in this case.

Posted by: snowbama | October 20, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

"Republicans believe that the American public thinks Obama and the Democratic-led Congress are trying to do too much and not focusing on the things -- the economy and job creation -- that the American people truly care about."

This is the truest statement written in the article. People DO care most about the economy and jobs, compared to anything else. They want a job before they have to worry about getting healthcare. Obama has done nothing to CREATE JOBS. Unemployed people don't care about SAVED jobs. Give them a choice between a job and increased unemployment benefits, and they'll pick the job. That's why Congress has it backwards in wanting to extend unemployment benefits...they should use that money to give small business tax credits to create jobs. That, in turn, increases revenue (through taxation) and gives people money to spend (on food, clothes, electronics, sales tax, etc.).

Right now, government is doing NOTHING to work the problem (unemployment)...they are only perpetuating the problem.

Posted by: boosterprez | October 20, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

"Not true. He shows great concentration and focus whenever he tries to put his foot in his mouth.

Posted by: ceflynline"

He also has very good electoral success to positions with the word "Republican" as a part of the title.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 20, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

"Michael Steele talking about focus? He's failed at everything he's ever tried to do. Posted by: koolkat_1960"

Not true. He shows great concentration and focus whenever he tries to put his foot in his mouth.

Posted by: ceflynline | October 20, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

" "Last night on Fox News, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich joined some of his colleagues on the fringe right and urged the GOP to make repealing health reform the “number one” campaign issue in 2010 and 2012" Right. Now there's an issue to galvanize the whole country! Repeat healhcare reform. Winner! The GOP -- leaderless, rudderless, hopeless. Posted by: drindl" "

But drindl, here is the Newt, leading the hue and cry. The Republicans HAVR leaders: Rush, Newt, Hannity, Coulter (by the way, is she any relation to the world's greatest liar, John Colter?).

Further, those leaders have a real goal for their followers, Perfection of Conservatism, and a chosen path to it, anywhere but where the Dems intend to go.

Perhaps they even have a device to follow, a blue shield, with a flat hand extending a social finger, under the motto, "Hic ad Liberali"

When we meet them we ought to politely point out the nearest room corner.

Posted by: ceflynline | October 20, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

"I see this thread has a return to the usual gang of idiots.

CC - would it kill you to find a single thinking person to post on your blog?

Posted by: snowbama | October 20, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse"

Based on the comments posted on this board, your usual nonsense is even dumber than usual, numbnutz.

We realize all this math is too much for your little brain, but focus hard and you might be able to keep up.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | October 20, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

So when it comes to health care everyone has to sit down and read 1500 pages, but when it comes to the Patriot Act and the violation of the core principles of our nation it is unimportant that almost no one read it before they voted?

Posted by: caribis | October 20, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

"Last night on Fox News, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich joined some of his colleagues on the fringe right and urged the GOP to make repealing health reform the “number one” campaign issue in 2010 and 2012"

Right. Now there's an issue to galvanize the whole country!

Repeat healhcare reform. Winner!

The GOP -- leaderless, rudderless, hopeless.

Posted by: drindl | October 20, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

"Republicans believe that the American public thinks Obama and the Democratic-led Congress are trying to do too much and not focusing on the things -- the economy and job creation -- that the American people truly care about."

And little kids say they believe in Santa Claus, too. The kids have a good deal more to believe in than the Republicans.

The Republicans HAVE to support their belief system, since to reject it is to have to subject themselves to self examination, self doubt, and change. Any good Republican will tell you that those are Democratic values.

It is nice that the polls are now being triangulated, putting the President in his actual place, right there in the middle. Just remember, when 30% of the voters are to your right, voting for conservatives, and thirty percent of the voters are to your left, voting for flaming liberals, and all the voters you have in your side is the 40% of the voters in the center,

You win the election handily.

When the flaming liberal they vote for is the flaming liberal the conservatives hate the most, you, you win in a landslide.

Posted by: ceflynline | October 20, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

should have been...' more representative of an important number.'

I have to post this -- it's really quite illustrative of the continued sinking of the R party into thuggery and cretinism:

"The latest edition of Politico's "Get To Know A Congressman" series features Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS). In the interview, Harper was asked about the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, which advocates for hunters and fisherman in Congress:

POLITICO: What in the world does the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus do?

HARPER: We hunt liberal, tree-hugging Democrats, although it does seem like a waste of good ammunition."

Funny if your name is Bubba, I guess.

Posted by: drindl | October 20, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Poll done on the internet is a USELESS poll.

Chris, the most important number today is the WaPo poll number which shows that 57% of Americans support the public option.

Posted by: maritza1 | October 20, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"NOTE: The poll referred to above was conducted via the Internet not by a traditional live caller approach. That methodology remains suspect in many polling circles."

This is a pretty charitable way of saying this poll is a steaming pile of dog plop.

Hint number 1. You have a bunch of people saying Congress is doing TOO MUCH!!

Posted by: DDAWD | October 20, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Fairling,
Folks love the Iphone what can you say, but 1.6 billion ain't bad for 3 months of work.

Posted by: AndyR3 | October 20, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

"Rather, 44% of those polled either think that it's moving at about the right speed or simply don't have an opinion on the matter."

Technically you are correct, but still a more representative representation of an important number than that which was cited.

Posted by: drindl | October 20, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

If the internet polling methodology is suspect, how can this statistic be "the most important number in politics today"? Something is amiss here; and HERE:

STRONG EVIDENCE THAT WARRANTLESS SURVEILLANCE OF U.S. CITIZENS IS A PRETEXT TO HARASS AND CENSOR VIA TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Please click on this "ACLU Freedom Blog" link, scroll to the bottom and read up.

http://blog.aclu.org/2009/01/26/internet-filters-voluntary-ok-not-government-mandate

Is Team Obama naive, misinformed, or complicit in the continuing censorship of telecommunications in America?

Or, is a silent coup underway, emboldening government employees or contractors to ignore directives from Washington?

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america OR http://NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | October 20, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Have to agree generally with the bloggeratti on this one. 21% too slow and 35% too fast isn't compelling. Note: it is not true to claim that 44% think that Congress is moving at the right speed. Rather, 44% of those polled either think that it's moving at about the right speed or simply don't have an opinion on the matter.

My most important number of the day: $1,670,000,000 (Apple's quarterly profit).

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | October 20, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

"Don't the 20% realize this snarling, the menace, the ferocity scares away thoughtful people?"

They don't think, shrink, or they wouldn't beleive the preposterous garbage they do.

Posted by: drindl | October 20, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I see this thread has a return to the usual gang of idiots.

CC - would it kill you to find a single thinking person to post on your blog?

Posted by: snowbama | October 20, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Mitch is lying . The bill is online this very second, but no one can reads it thanks to the GOP blocking efforts to make it a more readable format...

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | October 20, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

No, the poll cited in the morning Fix had the most important numbers in politics today.

Americans are unchanged. They are still calling themselves liberals at numbers less than ~20-25%, conservatives and moderates generally make up about 30-40% each.

But now only 20% of the whole call themselves Republicans and this after our Summer of Discontent, the Town Halls, the outrageous behavior of Obama's banker buddies, the sad state of the wars, terrible unemployment pain, the deficit, the downward mobility of the middle class and so on.

If Republicans could not find their voice, we have to conclude they have only this:

"Anti-Obama forces will be out in force from henceforth.. the cake walk was last year.. it's a firefight and scorched earth in the future..none."

Don't the 20% realize this snarling, the menace, the ferocity scares away thoughtful people?


Posted by: shrink2 | October 20, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

This survey was conducted among online clicker-people http://www.pstrategies.com./index.php/methodology.htm , not really a nationally survey, though Chris makes no such claim.

Posted by: sfcpoll | October 20, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Boo, CC!

I mean, really. Your Most Important Number (56%) is worse than irrelevant--it is misleading. That 56% is split between two diverse groups that believe opposite things, ie 21% that think congress is moving too slow, and 35% that think its moving too fast.

The 35% of the public that think congress is moving too fast is the same 35% that wish they would not move AT ALL, at least on health care.

Posted by: mikenmidland | October 20, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Franklin Roosevelt had to listen to the same stuff from the GOP.

You're doing too much,
you're going too fast,
this isn't the time.

The simple fact is , it was always going to be too much, it was always going to be too fast and there would never be a right time. The Party of No has been saying no for a long, long time.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | October 20, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Chris,

Certain issues ARE complex, but others--or, more accurately--the fix (note lc 'f') for them is simpler.

Congress excels at making things a) complex; b) finding the lowest common denominator so as not to anger constituents; and c) doing nothing.

Frankly, I think that the health care overhaul is proceeding at a snail's pace. Ditto the financial systems overhaul. Part of the public's frustration is that they hear these little 'news' scraplets (often contradictory ones) every day without being given a clear picture of the issues, the players, the trade-offs.

Going slower isn't the issue; getting things DONE is the issue. Congress isn't good at that unless it's reacting to a crisis, usually once the horse has bolted!

Posted by: sverigegrabb | October 20, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Michael Steele talking about focus? He's failed at everything he's ever tried to do.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | October 20, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Look at this piece -- I mean, I know CC has to put things together quickly, but this is just silly. First he takes a poll which he admits might be methodologically sloppy. Then he twists the numbers [which actually are FAVORABLE to Dems, as a MAJORITY of those polled think Congress is moving at the right speed] to somehow suggest that this represents trouble for Democrats. Then he quotes two republicans and no democrats.

And really, no one should quote anything Michael Steele says. The man is an embarrassment.

Posted by: drindl | October 20, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Oh, that is a sneaky way to make it look like 56% think congress is moving to fast. Perhaps the writer has a dinner date with a lobbyist?

Posted by: gjcomm | October 20, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Republicans are always a minority.. they can't vote in Presidents.. it's the independent and crossover votes that count.. and Congress.. well they should do what Obama told the consumer banking industry to do.. use plain, concise talk and give us the facts not a million pages of gibberish.

Posted by: newbeeboy | October 20, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Koolkat is right. The survey says that 35% of people think that congress is moving too fast, 44% think it moving just right, and 21% think it isn't moving fast enough. I would think that President Obama and the Democrats will take those numbers right now.

Posted by: AndyR3 | October 20, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

So a bit less than 40 percent of the sample thinks Congress is moving too fast. In other words, that's a minority position. And what a suprise, the Republicans are the minority party now.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | October 20, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

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