Politics

Summer Doldrums: Approval for McConnell, Congress Sinks Below This Foreign Leader’s

More Americans trust Russia's president to 'do the right thing' than endorse the performance of lawmakers

A number of recent job approval surveys paint what is sure to be a worrying picture for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his colleagues in Congress.

When taken together, surveys released in the past few weeks by Gallup, Harvard-Harris, Public Policy Polling, and Pew Research Center suggest that McConnell and Congress are not only less popular with American voters than President Donald Trump, but they’re also less respected than even Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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A Harvard-Harris poll released on Thursday revealed that McConnell has the lowest favorability rating of any high-profile American politician, at only 19 percent. Forty-nine percent of those polled had a negative view of the Senate leader. A poll also released this week by Public Policy Polling shows that McConnell’s job approval rating in his home state of Kentucky is only 18 percent.

McConnell may find some small solace in that although he is America’s least-favorite politician, he is still marginally more popular than Congress as a whole. The latest Gallup survey of congressional job approval, taken in the first week of August, shows that only 16 percent of American voters approve of the job Congress is doing.

President Trump’s current approval rating, by comparison, is hovering at about 37 percent, which suggests he is nearly twice as popular as McConnell and more than twice as popular as Congress. The real shock for McConnell and company, however, is surely the news that the American public appears to have less faith in them than it does in a foreign leader — considered by many to be an adversary.

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The Pew Spring 2017 Global Attitudes Survey found that nearly a quarter of Americans, 23 percent, have “confidence in Putin to do the right thing in world affairs.” What’s more, 29 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Russia in general.

“Baby gators in the Okefenokee dream of being as swampy as Mitch McConnell when they grow up,” Eddie Zipperer, assistant professor of political science for Georgia Military College, told LifeZette in an email. “He embodies everything Americans — especially Republicans — rejected in the 2016 election. Just look no further than the dream team of Blue Cross/ Blue Shield donors he chose to write the repeal and replace bill.”

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McConnell and his congressional colleagues should be worried. The mainstream media have been fueling the Trump-Russia conspiracy theory with abandon, taking every possible opportunity to denounce alleged but unproven “Russian interference.” Meanwhile, Trump has been providing those media steady ammunition to use against him in the form of several high-profile communications blunders.

Despite this, the American people appear to have more trust in or respect for both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin than they have for Mitch McConnell and Congress as a whole.

“Being from Kentucky, he should be very worried about being ‘primaried’ from the right in 2020,” said Zipperer.

“Big donors, big money, and the advantages of incumbency that have sustained D.C. swampism for so many years is losing its power,” he continued. “These factors are no longer a replacement for happy constituents with so much information at voters’ fingertips.”

(photo credit, homepage image: Gage Skidmore/Kremlin.ru, Flickr; photo credit, article image: Gage Skidmore/Kremlin.ru, Wikimedia)

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