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A new Associated Press/ GfK poll found that Congress really really sucks. Not surprising to plenty of us, but still it is nice to see the actual numbers. The survey, conducted Aug. 18-22, found that approval of Congress has dropped to its lowest level in AP-GfK polling – 12 percent. That’s down from 21 percent in June, before the whole debt ceiling fiasco.
The poll brought bad news to all members of Congress, but particularly the Republicans. The poll found that the tea party is losing support. Speaker of the House John Boehner is becoming more unpopular and more respondents are okay with the idea of raising taxes in addition to cutting spending, something the GOP has been fiercely fighting against.
“I guess I long for the day back in the `70s and `80s when we could disagree but we could get a compromise worked out,” said Republican Scott MacGregor, 45, a Windsor, Conn., police detective. “I don’t think there’s any compromise anymore.”
When respondents asked which party they trust more to handle fiscal issues, it was a statistical tie, 40 percent chose Republicans and 43 percent picked the Democrats. Nearly a third of independents said they trust neither party on the issue.
Republican Speaker Boehner’s favorability rating was only 29 percent, the lowest level of his tenure. Forty-seven percent of Republican respondents said they approve of Boehner; only a fifth of independents have a favorable opinion of him.
According to the poll, unfavorable views of the tea party climbed 10 percentage points since November. Thirty-two percent have a deeply unfavorable view of the movement and just a quarter of respondents say they consider themselves supporters of the tea party – the lowest in AP-GfK polling and a dip of 8 percentage points since June.
More Democrats and Independents are leaning toward an increase in taxes. Half of Democrats polled said raising taxes should be the focus over cutting services, up 10 percentage points from March.
Independents showed a clear preference for cutting services over raising taxes in March, 64 percent to 28 percent. Now, only 42 percent of independents say focus on cutting services while 37 percent say increase taxes, according to the poll.
Overall, 57 percent of respondents believe both that that taxes will rise and government services will be cut in order to balance the federal budget.