Nearly 90 percent of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll disapprove of the job Congress is doing.
The Democrats currently control both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Republicans, however, hope to win a majority in one or both chambers.
A two-thirds majority of respondents said they want the Republican Party to win control of the House and Senate in this year’s election.
In the House, where the Democrats’ current margin (including open seats) is 256-179, all 435 seats are up for election. In the Senate, 37 of 100 seats will be at stake on Nov. 2; the Democrats’ majority (including two independents who caucus with them) now is 59-41.
Both senators from New York, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, are up for re-election. Of four Rochester-area House seats, two are held by Democrats (Daniel Maffei, D-25th, and Louise Slaughter, D-28th), one by a Republican (Christopher Lee, R-26th). The 29th District has been vacant since the resignation of Democrat Eric Massa.
More than 680 readers participated in this week’s poll, which was conducted Sept. 7.
Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the job Congress is doing?
If the election were held today, would you vote to re-elect your congressional representative?
Does not apply (resident of 29th District): 16%
Which party do you want to win control of the U.S. House of Representatives in this year’s election?
Which party do you want to win control of the U.S. Senate in this year’s election?
What is your political affiliation?
Here are some comments from readers:
With all the hoopla about the Republicans gaining majorities in both houses, we open ourselves to two more years of mediocrity, where nothing gets accomplished except to line the pockets of a whole new batch of career politicians.
—Dan Hebert, Rochester
I entered Democrat, but that’s not true. The poll is flawed, since there are only two options. I don’t believe either established party cares about anything except how to make the system work for themselves and their pockets.
Voting will be easy this year. Incumbents: out. Non-incumbents: in.
I only want the people to be elected to be honest people who will do their best to secure effective representation. Those who are currently in office have shown their willingness to be honest or dishonest in their past votes. Those who have not been in office will have to be selected by their background efforts. We have had enough of those who speak out of both sides of their mouths.
—Bruce Bowen, BPP
While it’s hard to approve of a Congress that seems paralyzed by bipartisanship, this is exactly what we want and deserve. The cross-aisle obstructionism only allows for incremental changes. This is true of the most recent passage of the health care bill. It would seem this bill presents a sweeping change, but by the time the Justice Department is done adjudicating the many lawsuits that will no doubt occur, the health care bill will be a shadow of its original form. This is exactly how our government does and should work in its current form.
—Mark McFadden, Alfred Station
We need to have Reid and Pelosi removed from power, so by default we must pinch our collective nose and cross our fingers and give the Republicans back their legislative majorities. We can only hope that enough new leaders are elected with a renewed sense of duty to their constituents and to the Constitution and not their party that we can avoid the pitfalls of the past decade.
—Peter Short, J.J. Short Associates Inc.
Too much partisanship is going on in Washington and Albany these days. I long for the days where legislators would work for the common good and not against each other and the other party effectively grinding the legislative process to a halt. Term limits would be good for the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.
The House and Senate will have big turnover this year. I am a registered Republican but I vote for the best candidate regardless of affiliation. We need people representing us that know how to cut spending, support business and support causes that that encourages people to help themselves and discourages people that live off the system.
My selections in this survey may look like I’m voting along party lines, but I feel that the Democrats have not done what the people want and have too much power, there needs to be checks and balances in Washington and there is none with the Democrats in total control of the House, Senate and White House.
—Barry Alt, A2Z Enhanced Digital Solutions
Louise, thanks for your service, but it’s time to go.
Between Obama, Pelosi and Reid, we have three foxes in the hen house. There are no checks and balances. You can see the carnage now. We need to stop this spending madness.
A Republican Congress would be disastrous. Stem cell research and abortion rights would be endangered; "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" and the "Defense of Marriage Act" would have no chance of being repealed; tax cuts for the rich would be back on the docket; and health care reform would be in danger of being undone.
—Matthew D. Wilson
The problem with this poll is it does not allow for correcting the current ills. Neither Democrat nor Republican as a party has all the answers. We must break away from this type of thinking, get rid of the special interest groups, get rid of the lobbyists and put people in office to correct the problems regardless of political parties. This is why we should overturn the Supreme Court’s decision on political donations and this is also the reason for term limits. Any Congress that votes on a bill that they have not even read, or understand is the wrong Congress for the people of the United States! I am firmly convinced all newly elected congressmen arrive in Washington to do "GOOD." That is where it ends and the arm twisting corruption begins.
There is much commentary amongst the mainstream media that the Republican Party is too far to the right. The mainstream media also portrays the new Tea Party movement as extreme right. What the mainstream media omits to report on is the socialist agenda of the democrat party. In my opinion, the main print and TV media are biased in their coverage to the point of selectively and persuasively promoting a socialist agenda. We must not lose sight of what this country was founded on. … The current administration and its minion czars should be rendered powerless until the 2012 elections and replaced. This time in history will reflect a giant step backward for our republic. There is no room in our government for communists, socialists and radicals that oppose the principals that our country was founded on. Do your own research, look into our history, see what a manufacturing-based economy looks like (the former USA and currently China) and most of all, vote this November.
While it appears that most Americans have forgotten the Republicans had congressional control from 1994-2006, I have not. While the Democrats have stumbled, they were handed two unfunded wars, a crashing job market, a crashing economy, no health care legislation, a trillion in unfunded tax cuts and $700 billion in unfunded Medicare Part B. If people have forgotten all those Republican disasters, then they will again deserve the Republican government they elect. The "Party of NO!" to the jobless, the middle class, the health care uninsured, the Clinton balanced budget, small businesses (rejected latest Dem tax cut proposal) is the party of yes to big deficits, corporate cronyism, wealthy tax breaks, unfunded and unjust wars and deregulation (see BP spill, Wall Street frauds, housing bubble, etc.). While the Democrats are somewhat disorganized, that disorganization is much preferred to the thuggish behavior of Republicans. As George Santayana put so well, "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." A repeat of Republican policies will certainly doom many of us. I’m not a fan of either party, but, unfortunately, there are no viable third and fourth parties that offer real choice. I do feel that Democrats need more than 18 months to fix the Republican disasters 12 years in the making.
—Michael Thornton, Rochester
There’s not a one who is worth a damn. Chris Lee tries, but he’s hamstrung by the stooges in Washington. Term limits are the only solution.
—Jim Duke, Victor
Many of his supporters fail to accept the possibility that Obama is not the person they wanted him to be. They are stuck with his campaign rhetoric and not looking at his actions. Some of us think that he can’t seem to grasp the difference between giving speeches and actual leadership and as a result he has squandered his election and made the majority of the country regret that he was elected. He has given Congress free rein to implement anti-capitalism legislation that has this country headed for disaster! He and this left leaning Congress have awakened the sleeping nation and not in a positive way. November will mark the beginning of his end, and he will be placed in "check" by a new Congress with priorities that better match what the economy requires to correct itself. This Congress has driven the economy into the ditch Obama claims Bush did and the sooner it is replaced, the better we all will be. Is your congressman part of the solution or part of the problem? Our senators are definitely part of the problem!
—Dave Coriale, Webster
I believe bipartisanship squabbling is the ruin of this country! Each sides does little but say "hooray for our side," Republicans say, "I’ve got mine (and I’ll bear arms to protect it) and by the way FU!” Democrats say, "We’ve got a problem, let’s throw money at it and let it fix itself.” Meanwhile inflation and medical cost spiral out of control (as the boomer generation ages) — the gap between the VERY rich and the rest of us gets wider & wider (fodder for revolution) meanwhile the two parties play king of the hill. Sadly I think our founding fathers would be deeply disappointed at the state of political affairs in our country today.
I would like to see five members of each party in the House and Senate to step across the aisle and come to a reasonable compromise on the major issues facing our country. This would break this just irresponsible deadlock in the Congress.
I just want someone to represent me, and neither major party is responsible enough to do it.
I would like to throw out 80 percent of our representatives, especially in the state government. They have consolidated themselves in to a cozy position and do NOT want to change it. They no long represent the people but themselves. We have to figure out who the "people" are the uninformed masses, business or the government!
Replace socialists with Republicans, replace old with new.
I really don’t care which party wins control of the House or Senate, as long as they are all new legislators. Vote all incumbents OUT!
I would prefer to choose none of the above. Neither party represents the people anymore, they represent themselves. If you are a diehard Democrat or Republican, that may be a good thing, but for the majority of Americans it is not.
—Kevin Best, Best Times Financial Planning
Bush (II) and his Republicans had their eight years to destroy our American economy, start two wars and leave us in the present mess of economy, finances, and unemployment. They have been unapologetic and uncooperative to fix their mess. Give them another chance to mess up our country more? No way! While Obama may not have succeeded to have the unemployment and financial crisis fully solved, he has tried and in many cases succeeded, and has improved America’s standing in the world. Working together and being bipartisan to save our country has not been a part of the Republican creed. Instead, they are slaves to the uncaring and thus unpatriotic Tea party crowd. I have more faith in Obama and his Democrats. And I used to cheer the Republicans (before Bush II)!
—Ingo H. Leubner
I truly don’t care what “party” they are in. I just want them to shrink government and stop government spending. Last Democrat I remember doing that was Grover Cleveland (hailing from Buffalo), but who know maybe it can happen again.
—Devon Michaels, Chili
We need a party that has a backbone and is willing to stand up for the "little guy." Maybe the new party should be the Backbone Party. Anyone with a backbone, please stand up.
—Rich Calabrese Jr.
I want any party (person) to win who is not currently in office. That does mean more Republicans than Democrats at the moment, which is OK with me.
Like Clinton, whose economic policies shone with a Republican Congress, Obama may be able to recover! Right now, he’s not getting much support anyhow!
—Hutch Hutchison, In T’Hutch Ltd.
To me, voting is very simple. I want small government; I want low government interaction; I want states to have more control and federal spending to be minimized. I vote republican on almost all federal elections for these reasons. I was once asked a question: If you had a million dollars, would you give it to the federal government (and let them spend it) or would you give it to a local upstart business? I think that question strikes at the core of my political beliefs. I would give it to the local business and watch as the business grew, spent money, hired and flourished, all locally. To me it is too simple an equation to ignore. This is one of many reasons that I will vote republican this year.
—Kenny Harris, EPIC Advisors
I just want the person elected, regardless of party, to do want the people who elected them want.
—Jerry Valentine, Surmotech
The Republican line of "No" is hypocritical, as they had the chance to make the budget balance when they had control. Since they are expedient changelings, I don’t trust them.
—Jon Wilder, H & W Technology LLC
There is no Democratic Party anymore. It is the communist party in a Democratic Party uniform. If only a Harry Truman was on the horizon. Neither party is competent, but the Democratic Party is the most destructive to the constitution and thus the country. I will vote for anyone who is not a Democrat to stop the damage because I know Democrats will vote for serial killer as long as he is a loyal party member.
Perhaps if the House and Senate are controlled by different parties there would be more meaningful discussions and agreement on a variety of policies and legislation. All both sides do is point the finger at the other party. Washington is almost as bad as Albany.
—Richard Schauseil, retired
First of all, unless there is an increase in the commitment to a bi-partisan effort to solve long term, systemic issues, it really makes no difference who has the majority. Having said that, with a Democrat in the White House, a resounding Democratic majority in both houses would make a difference in getting traction toward problem solving. Even if Republicans gain some seats in both houses, it’s unlikely that they would get enough to get any legislation approved that would forge tangible progress. Let’s not forget that Republicans have stymied progress for decades, and have contributed significantly too many of the problems we face today. Tax breaks for the wealthy, very costly, unsuccessful military campaigns, deregulation that triggered multiple catastrophes, expanding the size of government and our national debit increased to historically unprecedented levels. The only solutions Republicans offer are negative rhetoric and fear. No thank you! I hope the American people wake up and realize that solutions take time and concerted effort. Changing teams in midstream will not solve our nations’ problems.
—Frank Orienter, Rochester
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