I would be surprised if Republicans take Congress this November but perhaps my surprise should be diminished. After all, looky here.
With only 18% of Americans in August saying they approve of the job Congress is doing, similar to the average 20% approval rating for Congress all year, the Democrats in Congress have additional cause for concern. This scant level of approval could signal that voters are in the mood for change, disproportionately hurting Democratic incumbents.
The last time the yearly average for approval of Congress approached this low a level was in 2006, when the Republicans lost majority control of Congress after 12 years in power. The previous occasion was in 1994, when the Republicans wrested control from the Democrats. In both of these midterm election years, the average congressional approval score was 25%. However, with an 18% approval rating for Congress in 1992, the Democrats succeeded in holding their majority in Congress. That was a presidential year in which the Democratic candidate, Bill Clinton, won.
Well, if your party’s nominee for President wins, that certainly helps. The question, however, increasingly seems to be whether Barack Obama will win. I would have to say that the odds still favor him but all of the sudden, curtain-makers for the Oval Office may be more willing to put John McCain on their speed-dials.