Only one in five American voters believe the United States is heading in the right direction, and the overwhelming majority of them have lost confidence in President Bush to right the country’s course.
Unfortunately for Democrats, the voters appear to be in the process of losing confidence in the opposition party to do much better than Bush.
According to the latest Associated Press/Ipsos poll, a mere 21 percent of those surveyed said the U.S. was on the right track.
Bush’s approval rating, which had trended modestly upward earlier in the spring, fell back to the all-time low for AP/Ipsos surveys: 32 percent. And the number of Americans who expressed satisfaction with president’s handling of the Iraq War is at just 28 percent.
That’s bad news for Republicans, but it is not particularly good news for Democrats.
Americans are actually more dissatisfied with the direction of the country than they are with the president.
Translation: The Democrats who are in charge of the Congress have not created a sense that they are turning things around.
In fact, with their failure to effectively challenge Bush’s management of the war in Iraq, their struggling with issues such as health care and immigration, and their inability so far to hold Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to account, Congressional Democrats are starting to look to a lot of Americans like part of the problem.
Congress still gets higher marks than Bush — 39 percent approval in the latest ABC/Washington Post poll, 35 percent approval in last month’s AP/Ipsos survey. But the numbers have declined as it has become clear that Democratic leaders in the House and Senate are unwilling to hold their ground in confrontations with Bush regarding the war and a host of other issues. And the messy, often confusing and increasingly bitter debate over immigration reform won’t help.
What’s happening is that the Democrats in Congress, who as recently as April maintained a dramatic approval rating advantage over Bush — 24 percent better in ABC/Washington Post polling — have essentially lost their advantage.
Why are Democrats falling in the public esteem? According to a smart analysis by ABC News Polling Unit director Gary Langer, “In terms of their overall approval rating, the damage is almost entirely among people who strongly oppose the war in Iraq. In this group 69 percent approved of the Democrats in April, but just 54 percent still approve now — a likely effect of the Democrats’ failure to push a withdrawal timetable through Congress.”