Mike Berman’s Washington Watch

September 3, 2011 11:55 AM

The Congress

84% of Americans now disapprove of the job being done by Congress. This is the highest disapproval rating ever recorded by Gallup. 86% of Independents have that view, as do 84% of Republicans, and 83% of Democrats. Fox News has found only 10% approving of the job Congress is doing. The AP-Gfk survey in August found a similar result, with 87% disapproving the job being done by Congress.

It is a “pox on both of their houses.” 68% disapprove of the way Democrats in Congress are handling their jobs, and 75% disapprove of the way Republicans in Congress are handling their jobs. [AP-Gfk 8/11]

70% think that most members of Congress should not be re-elected, the highest number Gallup has recorded in the last 20 years. Yet 54% think their Member of Congress should be re-elected. The lowest re-elect numbers for individual members of Congress was 48% in 1992 and 49% in 2010.

In early August, when registered voters were asked whether they would vote for the Democratic Congressional candidate or the Republican Congressional candidate if the election were held then, the Democratic candidate enjoyed a 7- point advantage, 51% to 44%. At the same time in 2009, leading up to the Republican takeover of the House in 2010, the spread on this measurement ranged from a slight Democratic lead to even to a slight Republican lead.

The Senate

Not much has changed in the basic structure of the Senate contest in the last couple of months. 23 Democratic seats and 10 Republican seats are up. One current Democratic seat, North Dakota, is gone. If the Republicans can put together four additional wins, they will own the Senate. This assumes that none of their incumbents up this year will be surprised. Of course, there is always the possibility that a Republican will be elected President. In that event, the Republicans can control the Senate by winning 3 additional seats.

Of the 9 current Toss Up seats, the two Republican seats are Massachusetts and Nevada. The Democratic candidate has not emerged in Massachusetts, where Elizabeth Warren is contemplating a run. It is not clear how good a candidate she will be, given the fact that she has never run for public office. In Nevada, incumbent House member Shelley Berkley will be the Democratic standard bearer.

This will be a competitive race.

Two other Democratic races that could well end up in the Toss Up column are Florida and Ohio.

The U.S. Senate

  • Democrats 51
  • Republicans 47
  • Independents 2 (caucus Dem)
Here is how the 33 Senate elections -- 23 Democratic incumbents (includes 2 Independents), 10 Republican incumbents -- look to me at this time . (D=Dem incumbent in office, R=GOP incumbent in office, I=Ind. Incumbent in office) Underlining reflects retirement.

Safe Democratic (9) Leaning Democratic (6) Toss-Up (9) Leaning Republican (4) Safe Republican (5)
California Connecticut Massachusetts Arizona Indiana
Delaware Florida
Missouri Maine
Hawaii Michigan
Montana North Dakota Tennessee
Maryland Ohio
Nebraska Texas
Minnesota Pennsylvania Nevada
New Jersey Washington
New Mexico

New York Virginia  
Rhode Island
  W. Virginia  
Vermont   Wisconsin  


  Democrats Republicans
Seats not up in 2012 30 37
Safe in 2012 9 5
Leaning in 2012 6 4
Total 45 46
Toss-ups 9 (2R/7D)  

The House of Representatives

WW has regularly reprinted the “House Dashboard” published by the Cook Political Report. The data below, through May 16, 2011, is from the Dashboard. However, the Dashboard is not being published at this time because of the uncertainties caused by re-districting. Therefore the chart below reflects the Cook’s current Competitive House Race Chart through August 12, 2011.

The U.S. House of Representatives

  • Democrats 241
  • Republicans 194

1/20/11 3/28/11 5/16/11 6/21/11 8/12/11
TOTAL Dem 193 193 191 --- ---
Solid Dem 150 151 153 --- ---
Likely Dem 27 24 21 22 22
Lean Dem 12 10 11 13 17
Toss-up 10 16 16 17 15
D 4 8 6 6 6
R 6 8 10 11 9
Lean GOP 15 18 16 18 20
Likely GOP 38 38 41 42 40
Solid GOP 183 178 177 --- ---
TOTAL GOP 242 242 244 --- ---

[As always, thanks to “The Cook Political Report.” It is the best when it comes to analysis of Congressional races (as well as other electoral matters)].

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