There are a few lessons for Washington in the new ABC/Washington Post poll released today. One is that (non-Republican) people still like Obama. The second is that one option for Congress to turn its horrible ratings around would be for it to actually do something.
First, the overall tally. The president's net approval rating is 16 percent — the same as the Supreme Court's, but more people have no opinion on the Court. (Though that may change.) Congress continues to be rated poorly, with a net approval of -35 percent. If Congress were running for reelection as a group, it would almost certainly lose. Happily for Congress, it doesn't.
Opinion runs much stronger on Congress and the president, unsurprisingly. Much of the president's more-than-50-percent of approval strongly approves of his performance — and likewise with those who view him unfavorably. Those who like Congress do so tepidly; those who oppose it do so with a lot of energy.
There's a lot of detail in ABC and the Post's poll — the most interesting of which lies with Congress.
Alone among the three branches of government, there's not much partisan divide on Congress. Democrats are slightly more appreciative of the body, as are those with a lower income status. But, as ABC notes, there's a stark racial gap. The only group with higher than 50 percent favorable rating for Congress is Latinos. And that figure has jumped dramatically since 2011.
ABC speculates that the increase is due to the body's focus on immigration reform efforts, which certainly makes sense.
The most interesting part of the breakdown on the Supreme Court is the group which is least likely to approve of its performance: conservatives. There's a split among those who identify themselves as conservatives, as well. Those who identify themselves as "somewhat conservative" have a positive opinion of the body. Those who identify as "very conservative" have a much more negative view — a difference of 33 net percentage points. That's a big swing for a small stretch of the political spectrum.
Nearly five months after his reelection, the numbers on Obama are perhaps the least interesting, mostly because they're the least surprising. Democrats love him; Republicans don't. Young people do; older people don't. It is a by-now familiar tale.
Let's recap those lessons from the morning. One: If you're elected to represent people, they appreciate it when you represent them.Two: If you don't want anyone to care a lot about what you do, don't let your job be subject to election.