Congressional approval ratings did something unexpected over the past month, according to a new poll from Gallup: They went up. And all Congress had to do to become more popular was go on vacation.
Nearly a fifth of Americans now say that they approve of the job that Congress is doing, despite Congress having not done its job at all since before its extended August recess. That's the highest level of approval since last fall — and a level that Gallup notes it has reached "on only a few occasions over the last three years."
What's more, the increase happened across political ideology. Republican voters' approval increased five percent; independents, six; Democrats, three. Overall, approval increased five percent.
Gallup speculates that it may in part be due to the fact that Americans largely agree with congressional opposition to military action in Syria. Which seems like a good theory. After all, Congress has been spectacularly unproductive so far this session, so it's not as though the debate- and legislation-free period of the recess was a major change. While a number of elected officials held town halls and got yelled at, many didn't do anything during the break, so it's not as though they were out there reconnecting with the electorate.
The trend will likely change next month, as Syria fades into the background and fights over government funding and the debt ceiling move to center stage. All is not lost, however. In order for Congress to have a majority of support from the American public, all it needs to do is repeat its August success for seven more months. That would bring approval up to 54 percent, and mean they would just need to stay off the job until April. Pass a funding bill; hit the links.
We're confident that a bipartisan coalition could be found to support that plan.
Photo: Speaker of the House John Boehner and Tiger Woods discuss chemical weapons, or something. (AP)
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.