“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'”
— Ronald Reagan
That’s pretty much what North Carolina residents think about Congress. In the latest Elon University Poll, 82 percent of N.C. residents surveyed said they disapproved of how Congress was doing its job.
Flipped around, Congress barely cracks double digits in its approval rating in North Carolina. Both Republicans and Democrats give Congress a 13 percent approval rating and Independents like Congress even less — 10 percent.
Nationally, Congress got a 15 percent approval rating in a Gallup Poll.
Gov. Pat McCrory has a suggestion: “I’ve been locked up in a room as governor for the past several weeks in a room with no curtains … just doing work and that’s what I want the president and Congress to do.”
Will the low rating matter? Not in the short run. Senators serve for six years, and voters don’t have long memories. In the House, most members are in safe seats, thanks to partisan redistricting. And people — not just North Carolinians — tend to rate their own representatives higher than the institution itself.
Assistant Poll Director Jason Husser gives another reason: “Most people can’t assign blame to a specific party in Congress. This is because voters are often uninformed, divided government makes accountability difficult, and each chamber is controlled by a different party.”
Meanwhile, President Obama is doing far better. Forty-eight percent of North Carolinians approve of how he’s doing his job compared with 45 percent who disapprove. It’s to his advantage that he doesn’t have to run for re-election again, which frees him somewhat. But public support is fickle; if it wanes it will make his legislative agenda difficult to pass.
— John Robinson