I haven’t tried to sort out the merits of the controversy over Nancy Pelosi’s jet, but if this Harris Poll is to be believed, she can ill afford any more bad publicity. Harris shows her, pre-jet flap, at 38 percent positive and 45 percent negative. The airplane controversy strikes at a vulnerable point, too; there is a danger that Americans could come to see Pelosi as a very rich, and very spoiled, brat.
The real message of these data, like other poll results I’ve seen lately, is that the public is in a foul mood and mad at just about everyone. The Democrats have taken great pleasure in President Bush’s chronically weak poll ratings, but their own are hardly, if any, better.
In this Harris survey, Condoleezza Rice scores best, but even she is in negative territory by two points, 46 to 48. Harry Reid is even more unpopular than Pelosi, at 23/47. But it’s unlikely that this reflects any awareness of Reid’s shady land deals; it’s just general negativity. Mitch McConnell scores about the same at 19/42, but I doubt that that many respondents actually know who he is.
The Democrats can perhaps take comfort from the fact that “Democrats in Congress” outpoll “Republicans in Congress.” But it’s hard to reconcile those numbers with the low ratings given to the Democrats’ leadership; maybe respondents are thinking of their own Congressmen.
The moral, I think, is that the voters who swept Democrats into office in November don’t actually have a great deal of faith in them. The public’s mood is negative–irrationally so, in my opinion–and it won’t take much for the Dems to be swept up into that negativity along with the Republicans.
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