Voters Really Hate Congress, Warming to Tax Increases

As The Associated Press reports:

Americans are plenty angry at Congress in the aftermath of the debt crisis and Republicans could pay the greatest price, a new Associated Press-GfK poll suggests.

The poll finds the tea party has lost support, Republican House Speaker John Boehner is increasingly unpopular and people are warming to the idea of not just cutting spending but also raising taxes – anathema to the GOP – just as both parties prepare for another struggle with deficit reduction.

To be sure, there is plenty of discontent to go around. The poll finds more people are down on their own member of Congress, not just the institution, an unusual finding in surveys and one bound to make incumbents particularly nervous. In interviews, some people said the debt standoff itself, which caused a crisis of confidence to ripple through world markets, made them wonder whether lawmakers are able to govern at all.

This is particularly interesting news as Colorado prepares to vote on Proposition 103, a measure that would temporarily raise taxes in order to fund public schools. If Prop. 103 passes, it would send a clear signal that railing only about spending and budget cuts isn’t going to get you elected in 2012.

Results like these also make us question the wisdom of Democrats in Colorado trying to accuse Republicans of supporting tax increases and being too vague in their proclamations. For example, this press release from earlier this week out of the Colorado Democratic Party:

As Washington Republican leaders have signaled that they prefer to increase payroll taxes for working families, Colorado House Minority Leader Sal Pace offered his assessment of the GOP position and their priorities.

“2.5 million Coloradans saved $1.7 billion in income taxes due to President Obama’s payroll tax holiday, and now all of a sudden Washington Republicans don’t know whether or not to support this measure again for 2012.” said Representative Pace.  “I wish I could say that I’m shocked or surprised, but this is just typical Washington politics at its worst, out-of-touch, tone-deaf, and ignorant of the interests of the middle class.  Extending the payroll tax holiday is a no-brainer, and I hope that Scott Tipton calls on Speaker Boehner when he’s here next week to extend this important tax cut for the middle class.”

While Republicans opposed closing any tax loopholes that affect the wealthy during the recent debt ceiling negotiations and many Republican Presidential candidates have signed a pledge to “oppose any and all tax increases,” the payroll tax holiday has provided relief to 160 million middle-class families. Whether Presidential candidates stick to their pledge, and whether Republican leaders in Washington fight as hard for middle-class families as they fought for corporate jet owners, remains to be seen.

The press release gets much more specific in the last paragraph, but the quick takeaway from this release is that Republicans are bad because they are supporting tax increases. The problem is that many voters, not just Democrats, are beginning to see tax increases as necessary — which means that Democrats like Sal Pace need to be very careful about making sure their message is not simplified to sound like Republicans are pushing tax increases in general. Democrats should be supporting tax increases — though certainly not the payroll tax increase — and stand up as responsible leaders. The public may not like tax increases, but as recent polls continue to show, they like irresponsible and ineffective leadership even less.  

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  1. Majority Moderate says:

    Everybody hates Congress, Congress has an all time low approval rating, blah, blah, blah.

    But when all is said and done, I’ll bet (anybody want to take me up on the offer?) that over 90% of the members of Congress who run for re-election next year will get re-elected.

    • RedGreenRedGreen says:

      the last three “wave” elections? It’s true people usually throw up their arms about Congress while they’re generally happy with their own representative, but that’s why “all-time low” approval is significant.

      • 20th Maine says:

        An overwhelming majority of incumbents still get re-elected.

        The consensus numbers are indeed useless.  What matters are the numbers of each individual congressman.  

        Take Colorado for example: with institutional numbers at an all-time low, 1 seat out of 7 is likely in jeopardy of changing hands (CO-3) – assuming the map doesn’t radically change.

        Obama is using the congressional numbers to his short term advantage.  He is basically running against congress.  Makes sense.  Though it will be a poor strategy once the Republican nominee becomes evident.  Of course he could/would/should change strategies at that point, but the transition could prove to be difficult.  

        • RedGreenRedGreen says:

          Except that they always turn out to be predictive of wave elections.

          By some indications, Obama could be setting up a run against the “Do-Nothing Congress,” as you suggest, but there’s no reason he would have to pivot from that. It worked for Truman, and the congressional Republicans he ran against weren’t doing their best to sabotage the economy.

        • BlueCat says:

          You don’t need to unseat anything like a majority of incumbents to win back a house.

          The GOP presidential field so far isn’t exactly inspiring either. Polling may be close at this point but the power of presidential incumbency is pretty potent.

    • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

      For the first time ever a majority are unhappy with their own Congressperson.

      • RedGreenRedGreen says:

        is it the right time for Joan Fitz-Gerald to return and mount a primary challenge, give voters a choice between a congressman who is part of the problem or one who will really fight for them? You raise an interesting prospect there, David.

  2. Whiskey Lima JulietWhiskey Lima Juliet says:

    Not sure they will lose, not sure i will be happy with the alernative.  But I can not take having failing employees who are content to do the minimum and collect hefty paychecks and great benefits while America falls.

    We can not keep electing the sons of Kings and expect America to do better.

    This is the classic receipe as to why every super power has fallen.

    I am done with all of them. They have all failed.

    • IndyNinjaIndyNinja says:

      At least not in 2012.

      Sen. Udall isn’t up for election until 2014 and Sen. Bennett is in til 2016.

      And you can vote against the Congresswoman all you like, she will be reelected for 20 years if she wants.

      • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

        I like Degette but even when we had majorities everywhere Congress still wouldn’t even focus on jobs and wasn’t able to accomplish much. We may need different people in there.

        • BlueCat says:

          Go feed your unicorn.

          • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

            And she said you’re a Mrs. Frowny-pants.

            • Whiskey Lima JulietWhiskey Lima Juliet says:

              Why not look at someone like DavidThi808? How about Crisanta Duran? Morgan Carroll?  Or MMJ Attorney Warren  Edson? It is a sad day if there are not some choices in a state of 4 million people.

              Look, these people work for us. They have failed us miserably and do not deserve their high paying, great benefit job.  I am 100% anti all of our elected officials.  455 of them have failed and should go.  Maybe this would be a better social uprising, than a full on revolt of the people.

              Some congress people have been in elected office so long they are clueless about a world outside of courtesy drivers, state dinners and CNN interviews.  Most are corrupt and personally responsible for this great depression.  The rest are too stupid to be paid by my hard-earned dollars.

              Ok, some are too new to have made a difference, but i feel like they should use their popularity and bully pulpit to whistle blow on level of corruption, greed and hatred that exist, in what was taught to me, as the honorable body in the world.  “The shining example of democracy and freedom” has become the House of Ill Repute.

              Yep, I am disgusted.

              • pay your taxes! says:

                That was utterly incoherent.

                Neither of our Senators are up for re-election, and DeGette has no opponent. Are you suggesting a recall for them and voting for a Republican against DeGette?

                Disgust or no, your initial comment remains puzzling.

              • Automaticftp says:

                to decry corruption and then suggest Crisanta Duran as a possibility seems . . . absurd.

              • IndyNinjaIndyNinja says:

                WlJ, criticize their votes all you want, but unless you know them personally, you aren’t in a position to make character judgements. And the general trend of ascribing corription, stupidity or greed to any elected official who doesn’t agree with your opinion of what they should or shouldn’t do is really disturbing to me.

                The fact that they live in that world 24/7 means they are far more informed and far more qualified to determine an effective course of action than you or I. And if the public would back off a little bit, turn off fox/CNN for a while and let them do their jobs in peace, i think we would have far greater results.

                IMO, the notion that “the people” as a whole could ever be knowledgeable enough on a topic as complex as health care reform that their opinion should matter is utterly rediculous. And the PR game that is played ends up being a game of who can trick more people into believing their version of what it does or doesn’t do. We have a Democratic Republic for a reason, Direct Democracy doesn’t work.

                I believe that the vast majority (though certainly not all) of our elected officials past and present are truly trying to do what they think is best for this country and its people. I think their methods are sometimes wrong, but I have never seen enough evidence to suggest that their motives are anything but honorable.

                I disagree with them, and I make my opinion known when i have it, but ultimately, its their job to do what they think is best, not what I think is best.

                • Whiskey Lima JulietWhiskey Lima Juliet says:

                  And not just from Colorado.  And are you kidding to say that congress isn’t corrupt!  Their votes are the reason that wall street fell, their votes are the reason we are losing young men and women everyday at war, their antics are the reason the world thinks we are nuts.

                  Look, feel how you want, but for the for the first time in 15 years, i am not in the political world and getting talking points for everywhere.  I am thinking for myself and coming to my own conclusions.  

                  And in my book the whole body of congress has failed America.  I will not be voting for any of them if they don’t get their act together.  And BTW, all those people that don’t read ColPols and live their lives hanging on to every scrap of bullshit congress feeds us feels the same way.  Read the title of this diary. ANd the fact that 87% of Americans are disgusted right along with me.

                  Sorry if Degette, Bennet and Udall are your friends, they are mine as well, but they have failed.  And my pocketbook, my retirement, my businesses and my country, are more important to me than my friendship with Degette, Udall and Bennet.  

                  Indy Ninja, are you kidding me….

                  ultimately, its their job to do what they think is best, not what I think is best.

                  Then you are a fool.  If this is how we feel, that we send people to congress to do what is right for them and not the country, then we are doomed as a people.

                  Degette, Bennet and Udall families are not facing a lack of health care, how about your family?  

                  Degette, Bennet and Udall families are not facing a lack of retirment funds, how about your family?  

                  Degette, Bennet and Udall families are not facing losing their business in a bad economy that they voted for, how about your family?  

                  Do what they think is best…WOW!

                • Whiskey Lima JulietWhiskey Lima Juliet says:

                  WlJ, criticize their votes all you want, but unless you know them personally, you aren’t in a position to make character judgements. And the general trend of ascribing corription, stupidity or greed to any elected official who doesn’t agree with your opinion of what they should or shouldn’t do is really disturbing to me.

                  I have worked congress for almost 20 years in NY, CA and CO.  I know their families, have raised money for many, have worked on committees and projects.  I have worked with the Black Congressional Caucus and have know many of the republicans personally because i have worked against them or have been friends with them.  Some Repubs in Cali are not that crazy.  And yes, many are corrupt, most have greed and unfortunately many are stupid.  Doug Lamborn comes to mind and i know him well.

                  The fact that they live in that world 24/7 means they are far more informed and far more qualified to determine an effective course of action than you or I.

                  How many members have served passed the point of being effective because they have no clue about the world?  Jesus, that would be a long list.  Byrd, Hall, Akaka, Kennedy, Kerry, Thurmond, Waters, etc, etc, etc….

                  And no, they are not more qualified than me to determine a course of action.  Why would you think that?  They don’t have degrees or training that give them insight, they are ordinary people that were not special before they got elected.  

                  Look at Bachman, Lamborn, or any of them.  Some are insightful, but they are no different than the rest of us and in most cases they just have a bigger ego to beleive that 150,000 or so would vote for them. There is no qualification to run for office except age and where you live.

                  IMO, the notion that “the people” as a whole could ever be knowledgeable enough on a topic as complex as health care reform that their opinion should matter is utterly rediculous.

                  You are utterly ridiculous if you believe that!!  You don’t know what you need for healthcare.  That’s easy, give me what they get.  Give America the same government sponsored program congress has, there problem solved!

                  I believe that the vast majority (though certainly not all) of our elected officials past and present are truly trying to do what they think is best for this country and its people.

                  Well you are in the minority.  These people are directly responsible for the fall America.  Their greed is what voted for deregulation.  They have all made money from wall street.  All of them are millionaires many times over.  They vote for their interest, not ours.

                  Congressional Performance

                  New Low: 6% Think Congress Is Doing A Good or Excellent Job


                  http://www.rasmussenreports.co

                  Congress’ approval rating hits new low, poll shows

                  http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/

                  http://www.gallup.com/home.aspx

                  Congress’ Approval Rating Just Sank To A Record-Breaking Low

                  http://www.businessinsider.com/congress-approval-rating-just-sank-to-a-record-breaking-low-2011-8#ixzz1WFPV5YRX

                  Fox News Poll: Record Low 10 Percent Approve of Congress

                  http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/08/10/fox-news-poll-record-low-10-percent-approve-congress/#ixzz1WFPgVTmL

                  So, it appears you are the utterly ridiculous 6% of Americans that still believe in the crap you are being fed.

            • BlueCat says:

              In case this gets lost in the thread I’m referring to the frowny pants thing.

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