TPM News

As midterm elections loom, it's no secret that a great number of Americans are unhappy with Congress. But do they trust their representatives?

According to at least one new poll, the answer is an emphatic "no".

A recent Gallup survey asked respondents how much trust and confidence they have in the legislative branch of government. The results were a historical low for the polling firm. Only 36% of Americans indicated they have either a great deal or fair amount of trust and confidence in the branch, down from the previous all-time low of 45% in September 2009. The question has been posed annually by the pollster since 2001, and sporadic results from the 1990s and 1970s also exist.

To put this in context of past midterm election years: 2006 saw 56% of Americans saying they trusted the legislative branch, 2002 had 67% expressing that sentiment, and in 1998, 61% said they trusted it. At the time of the 1974 midterm elections, the poll yielded a 68% level of trust from the public.

As Gallup notes, "the substantial drop in Americans' trust in the legislative branch of government reflects the same underlying attitudes that have resulted in low congressional job approval ratings and a number of other indicators underscoring the public's disenchantment with its elected representatives."

The pollster continues that "the overall record-low levels of trust in the legislative branch undergird the expectation that voters this fall may be attempting to express their frustrations with Congress by voting out incumbents and/or members of the incumbent party."

Gallup also asked respondents to indicate whether have trust in the executive and the judicial branches of government. The results show noteworthy declines from the amount of trust registered this time last year -- 49% of those polled said they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the executive branch, compared to 61% last year, while 66% said they trusted the judicial branch, versus 76% in 2009.

The TPM Poll Average for US Congressional Approval reiterates these latest findings. Currently, disapproval is at 72.2%, while approval is only at 22.0%. For the US Congressional Generic ballot, the TPM Poll Average finds Republicans leading Democrats 46.8%-43.1%.

A federal judge ruled today that an Air Force major discharged in 2003 under Don't Ask, Don't Tell should be reinstated.

Judge Ronald Leighton ruled that former Maj. Margaret Witt was discharged unconstitutionally under the policy because the government hadn't shown that her firing benefited the military.

Read More →

The House GOP is seriously working on a large-scale playing field for this midterm election, Roll Call reports, with the National Republican Congressional Committee having now reserved a total of $35 million in advertising for 55 districts.

The NRCC had previously reserved $22 million in 41 districts, and has now expanded that even further.

Notably, only one district among the 55 is currently held by the GOP -- that of Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL), who is running for Senate in Illinois and vacating a district that was previously won by both Barack Obama and John Kerry in presidential elections.

Of course, there is another way to look at this, too. In 2006 and 2008, Republicans lost a total of more than 50 districts, with the Democrats taking over nearly every seat they possibly could. As such, the GOP is in a position where they have nowhere to go but up. And lucky for them, they're in a political environment where they're expected to really go up.

1||September 16, 2010: President Barack Obama fist bumps Vice President Joe Biden, with Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett looking on.

Here's more from behind the scenes at the White House... ||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

2||August 28: Obama kayaks while spending time with friends at a beach in Edgartown, Massachusetts.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

3||September 9: The President plays fetch with Bo, the family dog, in the Rose Garden of the White House.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

4||September 14: Obama waves as he leaves Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, after a flight from Philadelphia.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

5||September 8: First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a "Let's Move!" launch event with members of the National Football League at Woldenberg Park in New Orleans. At right are former NFL coach Tony Dungy and former Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George. ||Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton&&

6||August 18: Obama helps spell out "Ohio" with the Weithman family in their home in Columbus, Ohio.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

7||September 20: The President greets vendors during a stop at Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

8||September 14: Biden votes in Delaware's primary.||Official White House Photo by David Lienemann&&

9||September 6: Obama celebrates the 20th anniversary of Air Force One with members of the crew during a flight from Milwaukee to Joint Base Andrews.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

10||September 11: The President pauses during a moment of silence in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House at 8:46 a.m., in remembrance of the time that the first plane hit the World Trade Center in 2001.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

11||August 25: Obama greets people at Mink Meadows Golf Club in Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

12||August 29: The President and First Lady greet members of Maude Smith's family at her home in New Orleans.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

13||August 17: Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton, right, listens as President Obama holds a round table discussion with local small business owners during a stop at Grand Central Bakery in Seattle, Washington.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

14||August 17: Obama and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke look out a window at Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier during a flight aboard Air Force One from Los Angeles to Seattle.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

15||August 30: The President signs a banner at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

16||August 18: Obama meets the Weithman family in their home in Columbus. ||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

17||September 10.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

18||August 31: The President delivers an address to the nation from the Oval Office, declaring the end of the official combat mission in Iraq.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

19||August 31: Obama, photographed from South Lawn of the White House, delivering his speech on Iraq.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

Here are the line-ups for the Sunday talk shows this weekend:

• ABC, This Week: White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod, Senate Minority Leader MItch McConnell (R-KY), Queen Rania of Jordan.

• CBS, Face The Nation: Senate candidate Marco Rubio (R-FL), Senate candidate Ken Buck (R-CO), Tea Party Express chief strategist Sal Russo.

• CNN, State Of The Union: Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT).

• Fox News Sunday: House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD).

• NBC, Meet The Press: House GOP Conference Chair Mike Pence (R-IN), Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, Emergency Financial Manager for the Detroit Public Schools Robert Bobb, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.

The founder and president of the lobbying firm PMA Group Inc. pleaded guilty on Friday to making hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions and making false statements to a federal agency.

Paul Magliocchetti orchestrated a scheme to make illegal federal campaign contributions in an effort to enrich himself and PMA, according to the indictment.

Read More →

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and Fox News host Megyn Kelly were pretty steamed earlier about Stephen Colbert's testimony earlier today on behalf of the United Farm Workers Union. "I think it's an insult to the time, an insult to the intelligence of the American people," King said.

Kelly agreed: "Many people perceive that as a huge waste of your time and our taxpayer dollars."

But King also suspected there was something more nefarious afoot in Colbert's testimony. After watching video of Colbert's day working as a migrant farm worker, King concluded: "The video looks to me like it was staged." He added: "He didn't do real work. They said it was hot, it was hard. I saw no sweat."

Read More →

Republicans have an extremely high opinion of Paul Ryan.

In an appearance on Fox News last night, Kevin McCarthy -- one of the co-authors of Young Guns -- once again raised the possibility of Republicans defunding the health care bill if the GOP retakes the House in November.

In doing so, McCarthy imagined a standoff between Congress and the White House over the federal budget, with Republican budget maestro Paul Ryan staring down and outsmarting President Barack Obama.

Read More →

The attack ads are now flying in the West Virginia Senate race, where Republicans hope to beat two-term Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin in a state that has been trending their way -- and thus capture the seat that was held for over 50 years by Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has now launched a $1 million ad buy against Manchin. Polling data has consistently shown Manchin himself to be very popular in this state, and he is without a doubt the strongest candidate that the Democrats could have recruited for the race. But the GOP has an argument on its side, too -- President Obama remains very unpopular in West Virginia, a state where he received a mere 43% of the vote back in 2008, and has only gone downhill since then. As a result recent poll have shown either Manchin or Republican businessman John Raese ahead by close margins.

The new NRSC ad continues the anti-Obama theme. "Joe Manchin supports Barack Obama's big government agenda," the announcer says, naming issues as the stimulus and health care reform. "Big spending. More government. Less freedom. We don't want a rubber stamp for Obama. We can't afford Joe Manchin in Washington."

Read More →

LiveWire