ByÂ JONATHAN ALLEN, Politico
The public hates Congress â€” and, in theory, that ought to be a good thing for minority House Democrats in 2012. In theory.
Most folks, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, would purge all lawmakers from office â€” even the local representative. By a 58 percent to 31 percent margin, registered voters believe Democrats will do a better job of â€œstanding up for the middle class,â€ according to aÂ POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground poll. And in a third survey released Tuesday, conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News, only 28 percent of respondents approve of the way congressional Republicans are doing their jobs.
But buried in the Journal/NBC poll is a contradictory nugget: Registered voters, by a 47 percent to 41 percent spread, would rather have Republicans in charge of Congress. Thatâ€™s the highest level of preference for Republican control since the question was first posed 15 years ago. At a time when the White House is fond of the mantra that an election is â€œa choice, not a referendum,â€ it appears that voters arenâ€™t ready to choose Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi over Speaker John Boehner.
The POLITICO/George Washington poll puts Pelosiâ€™s favorable/unfavorable rating at 29 percent to 52 percent, while House Speaker John Boehner has a much closer 27 percent to 31 percent gap.
And generic vote testing, which historically favors Democrats, is about even: Democrats led 41 percent to 40 percent, including respondents who leaned in one direction or the other, according to the POLITICO/GWU poll.
â€œNothing that exists in the public record today represents the kind of numbers or momentum Democrats would need to pivot and take control of the House,â€ said Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies, whose firm teamed with Hart Research to conduct the Journal/NBC poll.
The control-of-Congress result could be a blip, an anomaly. Or, it could end up being a data point that helps explain a Republican victory in the 2012 congressional elections.
McInturff says itâ€™s way too early to tell â€” keep in mind itâ€™s September of an off year and the election is still 14 months away
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