Last week, the New York Times/CBS News poll put an emphatic point on the acrimonious debt debate by producing a new record: the highest disapproval rating that Congress had ever received in the survey since it began in 1977.
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The reasons are pretty obvious: not only did Congress, and specifically the House GOP play chicken with the US credit rating (and actually succeed in drawing a downgrade from one rating agency, S&P), the legislative branch took that chance with an economy still struggling to emerge from a deep recession with the added strife of three current military entanglements abroad. In other words, it was actually hard to make the situation much worse, but Congress did.
The sad distinction now is between the usually low approval ratings of Congress, and historically high disapproval ratings. And behind that distinction is a simple question: does it even matter when it comes to elections?