Most of the recent poll

Most of the recent poll data have been pretty consistent and pretty predictable. The most surprising data I’ve seen recently relate to Congress’ approval rating. Real Clear Politics reports that the most recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, taken July 19-21, shows a 34% approval, 48% disapproval rating for Congress. This negative 14% spread is stunning, in view of the fact that every other poll taken this year has shown a positive Congressional approval rating. As recently as the first half of July, polls were showing positive margins of 21% and 18%. To some degree the NBC/WSJ results could be a fluke, but clearly something is going on. The slide in Congressional approval may reflect discontent over the economy and corporate scandals, concern about the seemingly hapless homeland security effort, or a backlash against Democratic attacks on President Bush. If it’s the latter, the Democrats could be in real trouble. In any event, if these data are replicated in future polls, there may be many more seats in play in November than people have been assuming.

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