Of the leaders tested in this latest GW-Battleground Poll, the image of both President George W. Bush (45% favorable/53% unfavorable) and Vice President Dick Cheney (42% favorable/51% unfavorable) are net negative. Equally negative are the image ratings of Democratic leaders like frontrunner for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination Sen. Hillary Clinton (45% favorable/51% unfavorable) and Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean (31% favorable/45% unfavorable). Of all the Washington leaders examined, only Sen. John McCain (65% favorable/18% unfavorable) has chiseled out a positive "bi-partisan" image with the American electorate.
On the issue of congressional reform and lobbying reform, every reform tested, with one exception, has the support of at least two-thirds of the likely electorate. This includes diverse proposals like greater disclosure by lobbyists about their work and their level of congressional contacts (87% support), greater disclosure by members of Congress about their contact with lobbyists and about campaign contributions from lobbyists (86%), a broader gift ban (79% support), greater transparency on congressional pay raises (76%), increasing the lobbying ban on former members to two years (75%), changing the contribution limits on PACs and individuals (73%), banning lobbying on the floor of the House and in the House gym (67%), a broader travel ban (67%), and ending earmarks (59%).
The anti-Washington mood is especially evident when respondents are asked to choose which party is most at fault for the current state of affairs. 64% of voters polled believe both parties are equally responsible for the current problems facing Congress. 92% of voters who want Congress to find practical, workable solutions to the nation's ills believe that Washington puts partisan politics before the good of the electorate. With the leaders of both parties suffering from this negative public perception, third-party grassroots candidates and movements have a unique opportunity to present viable political alternatives if they can organize, raise money, and find a voice. Regardless, the old guard has been warned. With numbers like these, all the 'framing' in the world can't put a positive spin on the current political crisis.