This month the decline in the approval ratings of Congress has set record lows. A Rasmussen survey reports, “. . . the approval rating of Congress has slipped into single digits. It now stands at just 9 percent, tying an all-time low.” The survey also says, “Just 16 percent of survey respondents say Congress has passed legislation in the past year that will improve life in America significantly,” contributing to the second month of its 9 percent rating.
According to pollster Scott Rasmussen, who started his survey in 2003, “If we ever found a Little League team behaving as poorly as the Republicans and Democrats or the congressman and senators, we'd probably disband the team and go home.” Of course he also has a book to promote, In Search of Self-Governance. But the findings of the survey that bears his name are consistent with Gallup’s, if not a bit more pessimistic.
The Rasmussen survey also says, “Eighty percent of respondents say members of Congress care more about advancing their own careers than helping their constituents.” That would make it the House of Self-Representatives, like Bachmann and Paul who haven’t posted scores yet.
Ratings aside for the moment, service in the lower chamber of congress, self and otherwise, has been the big league beginning for the careers of 19 presidents and 33 major presidential nominees. According to the Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives, “Only Henry Clay (1824), James A. Garfield (1880), and John Anderson (1980) ran for President in the general election as sitting House Members.” Garfield became president. More familiar House members were Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Bush the elder, and contenders McGovern, Anderson, Dole, Gore and McCain. The most famous president to come from the House is Abraham Lincoln, Whig of Illinois.