CBS News/NYT poll says that only nine percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing. What I’m thinking is: are nine percent of Americans crackheads? Must be.


With nearly all Americans remaining fearful that the economy is stagnating or deteriorating even further, two-thirds of the public said wealth should be distributed more evenly in the country. Seven in 10 Americans think the policies of Congressional Republicans favor the rich. Two-thirds object to tax cuts for corporations and a similar number prefer increasing income taxes on millionaires.

On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office released a new study concluding that income distribution had become much more uneven in the last three decades, a report that could figure prominently in the battle over how to revive the economy and rein in the federal debt.

The poll findings underscore a dissatisfaction and restlessness heading into the election season that has been highlighted through competing voices from the Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party movements, a broad anti-Washington sentiment and the cross-currents inside both parties about the best way forward.

Not only do 89 percent of Americans say they distrust government to do the right thing, 74 percent say the country is on the wrong track and 84 percent disapprove of Congress — warnings for Democrats and Republicans alike.

Guess what percentage of Americans says that Occupy Wall Street expresses the views of most Americans? Forty-six percent (34 percent says OWS does not). Only 24 percent of those polled consider themselves Tea Party supporters.

Read the fine print on the poll. Look at the issues voters say are the most important ones facing the country. Jobs and the Economy account for 57 percent. Add the five percent who say “Budget Deficit,” and that’s 62 percent of Americans who say the broader economic crisis is the most important issue. Non-specified “Other” accounts for 17 percent. Everything else is in low single digits. Immigration? Two percent. Education? Ditto. Religious Values? One percent. Defense? Terrorism? Iraq? Afghanistan? Zip, nada, nichts, nil.

Only a quarter of those polled believe the distribution of wealth in this country is fair. Twenty-eight percent say the Obama administration’s policies favor the rich, but 69 percent say the Republicans’ policies favor the rich. At a moment when huge majorities are agonizing over the economy, believe the system is stacked against them in favor of the rich, and say the GOP’s policies privilege the wealthy, what the hell does it say about the Democratic Party that it’s not walking away with this election?

And: Nearly nine out of 10 people don’t trust the government to do the right thing most of the time.

And yet, and yet. I never know what to make of polls like this. Everybody hates Congress, and the picture of the electorate this poll paints is about two tics away from being pre-revolutionary. But you know what? A lot of these guys are going to be sent right back by the voters, and if not, they’re going to send in someone who is going to defend the status quo. People are angry and frustrated, but that doesn’t translate into much at the ballot box. Meh.