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House vote on debt ceiling/National Journal
Do you know how your representative voted on the debt bill? Do you know why? Here's a ready explanation from National Journal on the latter.
Among Republican representatives, the higher the support for Sen. John McCain’s presidential candidacy in 2008, the less likely it was that the member voted “yes” on the debt-ceiling deal. Fifty-four of the 61 Republican members from districts that President Obama carried supported the bill, a rate of almost 90 percent.

But that rate declined with each step up in McCain’s support. In the districts the Arizonan won with 55 percent of the vote or less, 58 of 75 Republicans voted yes. But less than three-fifths, 38 of 64, of House Republicans voted for the compromise in the strongest McCain districts, where the Arizona senator won 60 percent of the vote or higher.

The same story held true on the other side of the aisle. Of 13 McCain-district Democrats, 12 supported the deal, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., who made a dramatic return to the House floor to cast her vote in favor. Only North Carolina’s Mike McIntyre voted no among that small group of Democrats living on the political edge. The percentage of Democrats supporting the deal declined with each jump in President Obama’s 2008 performance. In the strongest Obama districts, where the president carried at least 60 percent of the vote, a majority of House Democrats voted against the debt-ceiling increase.

In Congress, politics always trumps policy.

So how's that approach working out? In a companion piece, NJ looks at a recent (thru 7/31) poll and find Congress looks worse than ever:

Opinion on debt/National journal
Opinion on debt/National journal
Amidst a tumultuous fight over raising the debt ceiling, Americans are deeply dissatisfied with Washington and eager to elect fresh faces to Congress, raising warning flags for Democrats and Republicans alike. The poll showed discontent at about the same levels seen in the 2006 and 2010 “wave” elections.

The results appear in the latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll. When asked if they think “most members of Congress have done a good enough job to deserve reelection or do you think it’s time to give new people a chance?” 79 percent of respondents said it was time for new people and only 10 percent thought that most members are doing a good enough job to deserve reelection.

As to how this will look in a few days, we'll have to wait and see. Gallup's tracker has modest improvement for Obama, but we will need more data over time for any final judgment. But then again, as of now (meaning within the last two days and before today's Senate vote)...

Speaking of which, Mark Blumenthal has some overnight survey results with this caveat:

Instant reaction overnight polls pose a huge challenge for pollsters, who typically need to call sampled households multiple times over more than one night in order to obtain a representative sample. However, many pollsters are willing to compromise those procedures for breaking news stories.

Given the quick turnaround and the lack of familiarity with the specifics, opinions on the deal may change or appear different on surveys conducted in the next few weeks based on more rigorous samplings of the American public.

Still, with that in mind, Americans are not happy. CNN (8/1, +/- 3.5, via

• 65 percent approve of $1 trillion in cuts in government spending over the next 10 years (30 percent opposed)
• 60 percent disapprove of the fact that the agreement does not include any tax increases for businesses or higher-income Americans

The survey also included an unusual question that dramatizes the way Americans feel about the overall debate. More than three out of four respondents said elected officials in Washington that have dealt with the debt ceiling debate have behaved "mostly like spoiled children" (77 percent) rather than "responsible adults" (17 percent).
and from SUSA (via
Among those who said they were familiar with the deal, reactions were negative by a roughly two-to-one margin. But the SurveyUSA poll also includes a cautionary result: Roughly 60 percent of the adults surveyed said they were unfamiliar with the terms of the deal.
With Obama at 45 and Congress at 14 in the CNN poll, I wouldn't put too much in all the happy dancing form Congress. That they simply suck at their jobs, and that the public knows it, couldn't be clearer. Taken with the National Journal poll above, no one in Congress should feel overly secure about their own jobs, not after spending so much time doing so little about ours.

Added: BTW, the Senate vote had different dynamics. You can find the list here.

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