Public opinion pollster Scott Rasmussen tells Newsmax that Congress’ approval rating is at an all-time low because Democrats have been growing increasingly “disenchanted” with elected officials in Washington.
Rasmussen also disclosed that Americans remain firmly opposed to the Democrats’ healthcare reform plan, said Republicans have momentum going into the midterm elections, and declared that President Obama’s low approval rating will cause problems for his agenda.
Editor's Note: See the full Newsmax.TV interview below
Rasmussen is founder and CEO of Rasmussen Reports and co-founder of the sports network ESPN. He has been an independent public opinion pollster for over a decade, and most major news organizations cite his reports.
He is also the author of a new book, “In Search of Self-Governance.”
The latest Rasmussen poll found that only 44 percent of Americans favor the healthcare reform plan, and those who strongly oppose it outnumber those who strongly favor it by a margin of nearly 2 to 1.
“The numbers have been so steady for month after month,” Rasmussen said in an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV.
“We find that somewhere from the high 30s to the low 40s support the plan. The majority consistently oppose it.
“Democrats love it, Republicans and independents don’t. The healthcare summit [on Feb. 25] did nothing to change those basic fundamentals of public opinion.
“About a third of the nation really wants us to have a single-payer national healthcare plan. They’d like the government to take this over, and that’s where the core support comes for the legislative effort in Congress.”
If Democrats use reconciliation as an end run to force through their healthcare reform plan, that would please Democratic activists who are “so frustrated” that they have majorities in the House and Senate and can’t get anything done, Rasmussen said.
“However Republicans and unaffiliated voters would react very negatively. Overall I think that would just increase the momentum for the Republicans heading into the midterm elections.”
More than 7 out of 10 respondents in a recent Rasmussen survey said Congress is doing a poor job, the highest disapproval level ever recorded.
“The biggest change in the past couple of months is that Democrats have become disenchanted with Congress, and that’s what pushed the poor rating all the way up to the 71 percent level,” Rasmussen said. “It’s up 24 points over the past year.
“But in general it’s a mix of a couple of things. People don’t like the deficits in the budget. They don’t like the bailouts. They didn’t like the cash for clunkers program. They don’t like the healthcare bill.”
There is also frustration building because the single most important issue to most people is the economy and jobs, and they don’t see Congress focusing attention on that, Rasmussen said.
“Put it all together you’ve got 75 percent of Americans who are angry at the policies of the government, 63 percent who say it would be great if most incumbents were defeated in their bid for re-election this year, and only 27 percent — one out of four Americans — who believe their own representative in Congress is the best person for the job.”
In Rasmussen’s latest tracking poll, just 25 percent of respondents said they strongly approve of Obama’s job performance, while 42 percent strongly disapprove. And that “certainly does” cause problems for his agenda, according to Rasmussen.
“It’s an indicator of the overall public mood right now. It’s a measure of why the Democrats are having this difficult political environment. The question is where will he be in two more years. It’s impossible to tell from today’s numbers what that will look like.”
Rasmussen said a loss by Charlie Crist in his quest for the Republican nomination for a Senate seat from Florida would not hurt the GOP, because both Crist and his challenger Marco Rubio would both be a heavy favorite in the general election.
He told Newsmax that the federal bailouts were what most angered Americans, and said the political class in Washington “has really lost touch with the notion of a self-governing society.”
He added: “As for the Republican Party right now, they need to be doing more and more to focus attention on Democrats. As long as the election is about ‘Do you like the Democratic message?’ Republicans will do well.”
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