Friday, June 15, 2007

POLLS: Article Five'ing the Bioregional State? Demographics of Political Upset in U.S. Approaching Constitutional Convention Support Levels

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Unlike any other government that I am aware of, the U.S. Constitution allows for non-governmental changes to the Constitution when three-fourths of the populace agree (i.e, in three-fourths of all States). It is an intentional and perfectly legal escape route against federal forms of corruption, grandstanding, and gatekeeping that the Founding Father's expected to happen or they would have hardly put this process into effect.

Given the poll numbers relayed below, are we entering an "Article Five" situation? A three-fourths majority for systemic change? It seems we have the demographics for it actually.

Would tabling the bioregional state principles via Article Five work, presently? Before I address that, I will clarify a few points about the bioregional state--if they are hardly clear yet.

1. The Bioregional State Is Hardly an Argument Limited to the United States: It Is an Argument Applicable to Any Government

On the one hand, stepping back from mere U.S. politics, one point about the bioregional state is that it is the first attempt at general "green constitutional engineering" as a solution to both democratic corruption as well as a route toward sustainability, instead of merely about the United States. Full democracy and sustainability are one in the same, just as gatekept democracy and unsustainability are the same. Therefore, the bioregional state argument is bigger than mere U.S. politics: it is about how systematic state corruption in general is involved in perpetuating and protecting unsustainability and its externalities in health [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8], ecology [1] [2] [3] [4], and self-destructive economies (meaning crony uses of technology and materials [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] to stop or hamper consumer choices moving toward sustainability [1] [2]). So its principles can be adopted anywhere, hardly limited to U.S. politics. From the book:
First, in terms of what Enlightenment theorists neglected, different formal institutions of democracy always are involved in different informal political and environmental contexts which have been left under-theorized as to their interactions with the formal institutional frameworks. These three factors of formal institutions, informal politics, and environmental contexts should instead be considered holistically as one piece in the bioregional state, instead of simply concentrating on a biased approach that only analyzes formal institutions by themselves. Otherwise, only formally degradation states which facilitate and underwrite informal politics of environmental degradation can result because existing formal institutions are based on ignoring and denying these innate interconnections. Second, following from this, I would argue that on these informal political and environmental factors that influence all formal states, existing democracies are innately biased on levels of formal design by informal political interests toward expanding environmental degradation and ignoring citizen input from particular geographic areas that aim to re-prioritize state politics toward more sustainable developmental paths. Formal institutional biases are what are maintaining an informal politics of environmental degradation. It is a gatekept arrangement of informal frameworks of power that receive little formal feedback as to their degradation organization itself. Instead, at present, formal institutions are seen only as something by informal groups to enhance environmental degradation instead of provide a feedback against such depredations. This “appropriation” of formal institutional frameworks--whether state, science, finance, or consumption--to organize only environmental degradation will keep occurring unless additional formal checks and balances are introduced to check and balance on the level of informal politics in the name of geo-specific localities....[U]nless additional checks and balances are added that address from the beginning these biased interactive effects, nothing called democracy can ever be achieved or sustainable—socially or environmentally. Without the bioregional state, all that democracy will ever become is a repetition of aristocratic-royalty states under different symbolic legitimations and under an ecological tyranny. Environmental degradation as a process of informal corruption expansion is innately wound around expanding ecological and social tyranny in informal and formal politics as much as in economics. The issue becomes the formal illegitimacy of existing democratic institutions when it comes to sustainability because they are the facilitators for, instead of the feedback mechanisms against, this ecological tyranny (Whitaker 2005, xi, xviii).
So, unsustainability and broken democracies are of one piece--and of one solution. Removing this ecological tyranny of unsustainable developmentalism in pre-existing formal democracies is to move toward the “Ecological Contract” of the bioregional state, an update of Rousseau’s humanocentrist Social Contract, “for understanding how both citizenship is changed and for understanding how the responsibilities of the democratic state are changed in an era of sustainability.” (Whitaker 2005, xviii) It is being more widely recognized worldwide that the state’s Social Contract implies an Ecological Contract. The bioregional state continues this interest in facilitating competitive party democracy as much as human health, ecological, and economic security. The common thread through all the additional checks and balances coalesce around the demotion of a single factor working against competitive democracy and environmental amelioration: this ‘gatekeeping issue.’

In other words, the bioregional state demotes the informal clientelism issue of power that destroys both competitive democracy as well destroys citizenship developmental feedback toward ecological security. That same issue of informal gatekeeping in formal democracy takes the blame for supporting and expanding ecological and human health damage as well as holding back the widespread public outcry against it. Thus, in the bioregional state, the issue of competitive political party democratic facilitation and ecological security circle back on each other as one in the same. The bioregional state argues sustainability is a completed democracy, and argues unsustainability is an institutionalized, gatekept, crony, informal corruption in developmentalism which innately creates an ecological tyranny over people’s health, ecological soundness, and economic sustainability--and destroys the state’s own capacity to survive.

2. Yes, Formal Institutional Changes Can Start at the Top, Though they Can Start at the Grass Roots, right now; Top Down Formal Institutional Change is Hardly Enough

Another point is that, yes, formal institutional changes are required because of systematic forms of corruption have become the basis for operative democracies wherever they exist worldwide. However, top down approach is unlikely to be completely satisfying without some form of basis of local organizing capacities as well--and likely occurring first or at least coordinated with top town approaches. I talk about that here in a previous post.

3. Regardless of Top Down Bioregional State Approaches Stalled or Working, Grass Roots Institutional Watershed Approaches Can Start Right Now

The points at that above link note regardless of the contexts in the larger corrupt state--Article V or otherwise--those grassroots and watershed-based institutions are issues that can be done right now. Moreover, they would be facilitative later of such "Article V" style solutions. So, on the one hand it's hardly enough to work only the grass roots--since much of developmental unsustainability is hardly grass roots. It comes from a corrupt state apparatus that requires other ecological checks and balances. However, without these watershed based institutions, I would argue, a mere top down framework of additional ecological checks and balances however required would only be a piecemeal move toward sustainability, as equally piecemeal as if only the grass roots attempts were achieved.

With those three points said, let's talk more about the implications of the U.S.'s Article Five.

The United States Constitution describes the process whereby the Constitution may be altered--by private citizens acting collectively. Amendments may be proposed in two separate ways:

1. by the United States Congress or

2. by a national convention assembled at the request of the legislatures of at least two-thirds of the several states.

Either way, route #1 or #2, three-fourths of the states require approval to make official Constitutional change. A grass roots version of #2, followed by three-fourths state legislature approval, was actually the manner in which the heavily federally corrupt Prohibition Amendment outlawing various drugs, was repealed, I think--even though it was only a Federal Prohibition that was repealed, since it was left to the many states to maintain various different prohibition standards instead, many still in force.

The demographic political upset on the whole easily tops two-thirds of the citizenry on many hot button issues of health, ecology, and economics. However, there is that (more than) slight difficulty of corrupt collusive Democratic and Republican parties gatekeeping against the citizenry. This is mostly because of gerrymandered districts that keep the Democrats and Republicans in place as one-party states generally, in a 'voters-eye-view' of U.S. politics. So given this type of gerrymandered corruption, the path of #2, a 'request from current two-thirds of (gerrymandered) state legislatures' seems to be a stlllborn and gatekept option to address corruption, at least with the gerrymandered districts in place and a lack of competitive parties or competitive district representation in most U.S. legislative districts, State or Federal, currently.

So, to become valid for route #2 in Article V, amendments so tabled at such a two-thirds state legislature approved national convention would then ratified by either three-fourths of the state legislatures--or since those are currently unrepresentative, corrupt, and gerrymandered--by a separate state level ratifying conventions in three-fourths of the several states. What would this separate ratifying convention entail? It's hard to say, though it is clear that it only comes with federal gatekeeping approval--instead of simply citizen desire.

Here's the actual text from Article V:

"The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress;...."

The phrase "as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress" implies however that any alternative grass roots 'outside the State legislatures' ratification framework comes only with approval of the Federal Congress in the beginning, set out as such. Thus the Framers only considered that the check and balance against a corrupt State legislature blocking (which the federal Congress was seen as checking against, in giving it the power to authorize state conventions to change the Constitution) or route #1 was seen against a corrupt Federal Congress (from two-thirds independent State legislatures agreeing, then three-fourths of them agreeing to ratify). However, WHAT THE U.S. has right now is corruption in both the State and Federal Legislatures. On the whole then, both legal routes of Constitutional change through Article Five seem completely halted, currently.

An additional formal check and balance point integrated into the bioregional state is thus that another third Article V type of route of Constitutional Change shall be possible as a check and balance against this situation of dual State and Federal legislative corruption that the Framers overlooked. This third route is something that Jefferson seemed to have a mind for--with his Jeffersonian Rules for the Congress, which allows just such a 'people's referendum' through a Single State Legislature to be tabled and 'expedited' into the Federal Legislature, when passed as such by State legislatures. Thus, there is actually a "third route Article V" through Jefferson's Rules of the Congress. For example, a State Legislature could table a motion to be sent to the Federal Congress that would force the second route of Article V into effect. A single State can thus table a motion for unlocking route #1 or route #2 Constitutional changes (i.e., Congress voting on it right then and there; or Congress so authorizing right then and there the three-fourths version of state convention ratification). However, that implies a non-corrupt Federal Congress as well as a hurdle to get over to pass anything by this potential "third route", which seems out of context, currently.

It seems that current grass roots frameworks are the only way, however enticing 'quick fix' Article V may sound on the surface.

Here's some updated demographics (like previous poll posts [1] [2] [3]) mentioned by Joel S. Hirschhorn that show there are such "Article V" levels of desire for change in the United States, right now.

Hirschhorn argues for the Article V's 'outside' capacity to call and formulate a Constitutional Convention. However, quite silly (and even suspect) he is, because first this would require two-thirds of the State Legislatures agreeing on it beforehand, which is highly unlikely with Democratic and Republican collusion across the board. The second silly (and even suspect) issue is that Hirschhorn fails to actually reveal what people or he would like to do with an Article V Convention, once he gets it!

Instead, I know what I would like to see. I would definitely table the ideas of the bioregional state as an important rectification for more ecological checks and balances. However, as noted above current Article V pathways are entirely blocked, so Hirschhorn seems like a loose cannon or a pointless endeavor in implying that it is currently possible--given gatekeeping Democratic and Republican political parties 'occupying' the U.S. legislatures.

Other Routes Besides Article V Romanticism

Three routes currently possible are the watershed level institutions mentioned above.

Another route would be toward dismantling gerrymandered districts in states via referendums--in the states that have it.

A third route would be toward state referendums that could institute proportional representation in that State's Electoral College vote, which can be done state by state to generate a more competitive party framework and a more accurate reflection of the demographics of a State's Presidential Vote. See the book for more elaboration on those other routes.

Either way, if a truly competitive party framework and working democracy had this level of political upset, it would be translated into something like an Article V Constitutional Convention. However, what people are upset about is the Democratic Party and Republican Party intransigences and destruction of their U.S. Constitution.

Earth to Hirschhorn: when you are upset with the gatekeepers, the gatekeepers are hardly going to call a Constitutional Convention to remove themselves--they would only call one currently to further solidify their gatekeeping and their further destruction of the U.S. Constitution, so beware.


Here's Hirshhorn's view, mentioning those polls showing "Article V" upset levels.

newswire article reposts united states 14.Jun.2007 11:00
economic justice | government

Americans Unready to Revolt, Despite Revolting Conditions

author: Joel S. Hirschhorn

New poll data show how little confidence Americans have in their government. So why are they incapable of rebellion?

Americans Unready to Revolt, Despite Revolting Conditions
Joel S. Hirschhorn

The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal national poll results vividly show a population incredibly dissatisfied with their nation's political system. In other countries in other times such a depressing level of confidence in government would send a signal to those running the government that a major upheaval is imminent. But not here in the USA. Why?

First, here are the highlights of the poll that surveyed 1,008 adults from June 8-11, with a margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points.

A whopping 68 percent think the country is on the wrong track.

Just 19 percent believe the country is headed in the right direction - the lowest number on that question in nearly 15 years.

And most of those with the positive view are probably in the Upper Class.

Bush's approval rating is at just 29 percent, his lowest mark ever in the survey. Only 62 percent of Republicans approve, versus 32 percent who disapprove.

Take Republicans out of the picture and a fifth or less of Americans have a positive view of Bush.

Even worse [than Bush's numbers], only 23 percent approve of the job that Congress is doing. So much for that wonderful new Democratic control of Congress.

Bipartisan incompetence [and intentional Republican-Democrat collusion against the voters] is alive and well.

On the economic front, nearly twice as many people think the U.S. is more hurt than helped by the global economy (48 to 25 percent).

Globalization does not spread wealth; it channels it to the wealthy, making billionaires out of millionaires.

I have long asserted that Americans live in a delusional democracy with delusional prosperity and these and loads of other data support this view. There is a super wealthy and politically powerful Upper Class that is literally raping the nation. Meanwhile, the huge Lower Class continues to lose economic ground while their elected representatives sell them out to benefit the Upper Class. Yet no rational person thinks that a large fraction of the population is ready to rise up in revolt against the evil status quo political-economic system that so clearly is not serving the interests of the overwhelming majority of Americans. Why not?

For a nation that was built on a revolt against oppressive governance by the British, something has been lost from our political DNA. We apparently no longer have the gene for political rebellion. It has been bred out of most of us. And those of us that urge a Second American Revolution are seen as fringe, nutty subversives.

Part of the genius of our contemporary ruling class elites is that they have engineering a state of political and economic oppression that paradoxically is still embraced by the Lower Class. The rational way to understand this is that ordinary, oppressed Americans are in a deep psychological state of self-delusion. Despite all the empirical, objective evidence of a failed government, they fail to see rebellion opportunities. Many still believe they live in the world's best democracy. But across all elections considerably less than half the citizens even bother to vote anymore.

Yet, as the new NBC/Journal poll results show, people are cognitively aware of just how awful the political-economic system is.

Yet they are not feeling enough pain to seriously consider rebellion. And it is visceral pain that must drive people to the daring act of rebellion.

Why is there insufficient pain for revolution? This is a deadly serious issue. What is historically unique about America is that even the most oppressed and unfairly treated people are distracted by affordable materialism, entertainment, sports, gambling, and myriad other aspects of our frivolous, self-absorbed culture.

Even failed school and health care systems do not drive people, paying enormous sums to fill up their SUVs, to rebellion. So, Americans are aware of their oppression, but the power elites have successfully drugged them with a plethora of pleasure-producing distractions sufficient to keep them under control. We are free to bitch, but too weak to revolt. The Internet has provided a release valve for some pent up anger and frustration. But it too has mostly become another source of distraction, rather than an effective tool for rebellion.

Though these new poll statistics make news, those in control of the political-economic system are not afraid that the population is on the verge of retaking their constitutionally guaranteed sovereign power and take back their nation. Thousands of people like me keep writing books and articles and creating protest groups and events. Those in power just find new, ingenious ways to keep the population distracted - if not through pleasure, then certainly through fear of terrorism. Growing economic insecurity also contributes to self-paralysis, as do never-ending political lies.

What a system.

Even as the population has growing awareness of the dire condition of their nation, the move by the politically powerful on the right and left continues to seek a new immigration law that will solidify the selling out of America.

Business interests want more of those fleeing Mexico and other nations to keep wages low. Instead of Mexicans rising up in rebellion against their oppressive government and economic system they escape to the USA. But Americans have no such viable escape solution. Though global warming will certainly make Canada increasingly attractive.

So what do Americans have - other than a terribly bleak future? Where is hope in our dismal world?

In a bizarre twist of history that further illustrates just how impotent Americans have become, virtually all citizens are either unaware of or unreceptive to the ultimate escape route that the Framers of our Constitution gave us. They anticipated that Americans could become quite dissatisfied with the federal government. They feared that the political system could become incredibly corrupted by moneyed interests. They were right.

So here we sit over 200 years after our nation was created unwilling to use what is explicitly given to us in Article V of the Constitution - the option to have a convention outside the control of Congress, the President and the Supreme Court to make proposals for constitutional amendments. Do we really believe in the rule of law?

If so, then we should understand that the supreme law of the land - what is in our Constitution - is the ultimate way to obtain the deep political and government reforms to restore true democracy and economic fairness to our society.

Make no mistake: an Article V convention has been stubbornly opposed by virtually all groups with political and economic power.
This is most evidenced by the blatant refusal of Congress to obey the Constitution and give us an Article V convention, even though the single explicit requirement for a convention has been met.

This fact alone should tell rational people that they are being screwed and oppressed. The rule of law is trumped by the rule of delusion. Our lawmakers are lawbreakers.

Come learn more about the effort to get an Article V convention at www.foavc.org and become a member. Do not keep witnessing the unraveling of American society, voting for lesser evil candidates, and believing the propaganda that putting different Democrats or Republicans in office will actually improve things for most of us.

Choose peaceful rebellion by using what our Constitution gives us. Fight self-delusion.

[Joel S. Hirschhorn is the author of Delusional Democracy (www.delusionaldemocracy.com); and a founder of Friends of the Article V Convention (www.foavc.org).]

---
http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2007/06/361017.shtml

11 Comments:

Blogger Mark said...

Well, we're at 3/4th's...just a few weeks later.


NEWS/POLL: Only 25% approve of Congress; (26% for Bush)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- How do people think the Democratic Congress is doing after six months? Lousy. But better [hardly!] than the alternative.

In a new CNN/Opinion Research poll, only 25 percent of those polled approved of the job Congress is doing.

It's midyear, and the Democratic Congress is taking a break. Well-deserved? No, say Republicans.

"We are now halfway through the first year of the 110th Congress," Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, said. "And there is no question that the failure on the part of the Democrats in terms of their midterm exam is really a letdown to the expectations of the American people.''

Democratic leaders are inclined to agree. "I'm not happy with Congress, either," Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said.

And the American people? Look at the grades. President Bush is doing terribly -- an average of 30 percent job approval in six recent polls. Congress is doing worse -- 25 percent on the average in five polls.

Why the low marks? Democrats point to one issue where not much seems to be getting done. "The war in Iraq is dragging down people's confidence in what's going on in this country," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said.

Republicans point to another issue. "One of the reasons that confidence is at an all-time low is because of the immigration bill," Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, said.

So, are voters ready to change horses again and go back to a Republican Congress? Nope.
Don't miss

* Complete poll results (PDF)
* Poll: Support for Dems wavers
* Senate immigration bill suffers crushing defeat

A solid majority says it's good for the country that the Democratic Party is in control of Congress. Even though they're doing a lousy job? Yes.

People think, OK, the Democrats aren't so great. But the Republicans are worse.

Just a bare majority of Americans now holds a favorable opinion of the Democratic Party (51 percent). But only 36 percent like the Republicans. That's the Republican Party's second-lowest rating in 15 years. Only in December 1998, when the Republican Congress voted to impeach President Clinton, were Republicans held in lower regard.

So Democrats blame Republicans. "The fact is that the Republicans aren't allowing us to proceed,'' Reid said. And Republicans blame Democrats.

A Web video just released by the National Republican Congressional Committee highlights what it calls "the Democrat majority's broken promises, abysmal record and rock-bottom approval rating."

But Americans are not convinced that changing parties will make much difference. The new dynamic in American politics right now isn't Democrat versus Republican.
advertisement

"It is a sad commentary in America today that many Americans have lost faith in their government," Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Arizona, said. He added, "Americans don't believe that their government is representing them, is acting on their behalf. The polls show it."

The new dynamic is the people versus the government. ....

---
http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/06/29/schneider.angry.voters/index.html?eref=rss_topstories#cnnSTCText

7/05/2007 3:23 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Democrats took office in January with a 43 percent approval rating, which has now dropped below 30 percent.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=11823643

Politics
Iraq War Sinks Congress' Approval Rating
by John Ydstie and Cokie Roberts

Morning Edition, July 9, 2007 · Congressional approval rates tumble amid the country's sour mood stemming from the Iraq war. Democrats took office in January with a 43 percent approval rating, which has now dropped below 30 percent. The biggest drop is among Democrats. The most disaffected are independents.

7/11/2007 6:38 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

To repeat the above:

Other Routes Besides Article V Romanticism

Three routes currently possible are

1.

the watershed level institutions mentioned above.

2.

Another route would be toward dismantling gerrymandered districts in states via referendums--in the states that have it.

3.

A third route would be toward state referendums that could institute proportional representation in that State's Electoral College vote, which can be done state by state to generate a more competitive party framework and a more accurate reflection of the demographics of a State's Presidential Vote. See the book for more elaboration on those other routes....


ADDING A FOURTH:

4.

Assuring that particular representative actually are long term residents of the district and/or state they represent. You would be surprised how many shallow (or non-existent long term residency) requirements there are for people to 'represent' a particular area. For instance, after 2000, Hillary Clinton quickly moved to New York City. She never lived in the state in her life. Suddenly, she was running for
'representing New York State' in the federal Senate? Obviously not, regardless. It additionally, came out that in the potential challenge of Cindy Sheehan against Nancy Pelosi, that under current U.S. laws such as they are, that neither would necessarily have to live in the district to run in it in California law?

Anyway, the bioregional state solution here is in the text of the Constitution of Sustainability in the book. Excerpted here:

Article II

Section. 1.

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the Constitution of Sustainability, which shall consist of a Senate and House of
Representatives.

Section. 2.

The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States associated with the Constitution of Sustainability, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite
for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.
No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of eighteen Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the Constitution of Sustainability, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State or watershed in which he shall be chosen for a period less than two years for watersheds,
and six years for states.


[these being of course tied to the length of being a representative and senator. It only makes sense that they at least live in the area at least as long as they claim to be about to represent it! However, currently, the U.S. does not have any such requirements of making its local leadership truly drawn from a particular geographic area.]


5.

Another would be public election funds, as noted in Maine for instance in a previous post.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

REPORT: Voter Owned Elections in Maine via Clean Election Fund, Echos Bioregional State Ideas, And It Works

It works so well that the Corporate DemocratsTM seem to be attempting to defund it to remove competitive elections!

http://biostate.blogspot.com/2006/02/report-voter-owned-elections-in-maine.html

7/12/2007 3:15 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

6.

Paper based voting ballots and paper based auditability.

The scanning machines as well can be a source of corruption, so simultaneous hand counts should be conducted of all ballots.


7.

No 'calling of elections' at all before the full vote is counted, even if it takes days. There is lots of corruption in calling the election, and then going back and muddying up the actual records to match how it was called on TV. This is according to the excellent book Votescam, which I recommend everyone read. Thus, one of the clearer ways to avoid this is to entirely remove pre-calls like that that are the source of such corruption.

7/12/2007 3:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Americans Stuck In Political Stupor

author: Joel S. Hirschhorn

What incredible levels of voter pessimism and cynicism exist!
Americans Stuck In Political Stupor

Joel S. Hirschhorn

The latest bipartisan George Washington University Battleground Poll rightfully received media attention because of its depressing data. There is historic political pessimism and cynicism. But something is more troubling than the data on the dire views of Americans about their elected representatives and government. It is that 72 percent of voters still believe that "voting gives people like me some say about how the government runs things." Unbelievable! Such confidence in a system that has failed them.

Despite untrustworthy elected officials and a dysfunctional government that takes care of the Upper Class more than everyone else, Americans retain still believe in their democracy. This logical absurdity - or delusional state - is best explained by avoidance of the pain of cognitive dissonance. Americans resist the reality that they are living in a sham representative democracy where the rule of law is a growing fiction.

It should be noted (but was not in the media coverage) that 75 percent of the likely voters were 45 or older, with a third retired. That makes the results even more unsettling. They should know better than to keep believing they can vote the nation into a better condition. Self-identified Republicans were 41 percent, Democrats 42 percent, and Independents 15 percent.

Consider these reasons for giving up on voting and elections under the grip of the two major parties: Some 53 percent have an unfavorable view of politicians, with 55 percent believing that most elected officials are untrustworthy. A majority of 52 percent disapproves of the performance of the Democrats in Congress and 61 percent disapprove of Republicans there.

An incredible 93 percent feels that lawmakers in Washington put partisan politics first compared with citizens. But the biggest shift in voter opinion is that 71 percent think their own Member of Congress puts partisan politics first compared with them, with 63 percent feeling strongly that way.

For the big picture:

Seventy-percent are now convinced that the country is off on the wrong track - and 58 percent feel strongly that way.

This is the worst score recorded in the history of the Battleground survey.


Democrats are universally agreed about this point, but so are 71 percent of Independents and 49 percent of Republicans.

A plurality of 38 percent believes their children will be worse off in the future and only a third said they "think their own children will be better off than they are right now -- a drop of 7 points since January."

Pessimism is worst among white Americans: Only 29 percent believe that their children will be better off; 38 percent believe their children will be worse off.

Dan Balz of the Washington Post summed up: "the American people have entered this campaign with a wholly cynical view of the political process."

One trick of the political status quo establishment to keep many Americans (but still less than about half of all eligible voters) believing in voting is advertising.

Consider the current crowded presidential primary season. The mass media constantly work to play up the races among Democratic and Republican contenders. Why not?

They make a ton of money from all the money spent on campaign advertising. Televised debates and endless state and national poll data are entertainment that fuel fake competition. It is sheer manipulation of the electorate - to keep them interested in the election and, worse, to keep them believing that it really matters who wins in each party.

In the end, greedy and arrogant power elites will ensure that only a "safe" candidate will be chosen so that the two-party duopoly loses no power and no presidency rocks the political boat or harms corporate America.

Having so many contenders in the primary season is a farce. The eventual Democratic ticket will be Clinton and Obama. Period. End of story. It is the lowest risk, smartest political strategy. On the Republican side there is more uncertainty, but the likely ticket will be Giuliani and Thompson.

The true wildcard is whether Michael Bloomberg enters the race as a third party candidate. I am rooting for this. [he's crazy. Just what the U.S. requires another billionaire President (sarcasm).] ... [Hirschhorn ignores that third party runs historically by elites instead as actual populist challenges were entirely artificial means to make it easier to elect someone else by splitting the demographic they were worried about. This was how Lincoln was elected. This was how Wilson was elected (with close friend of Taft, Teddy Roosevelt, running against Taft--to make it easier to seat Wilson as President--who had really been the one to agree to various Teddy Roosevelt desired policies, while Taft disagreed with them].

[Joel S. Hirschhorn is the author of Delusional Democracy, www.delusionaldemocracy.com, and a founder of Friends of the Article V Convention, www.foavc.org.]

8/02/2007 6:00 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Only 19% of Americans approve of Bush

February 20, 2008

Concerns over Economy Push
George W. Bush's Overall Job Approval to New Low

George W. Bush's overall job approval rating has dropped to a new low in American Research Group polling as 78% of Americans say that the national economy is getting worse according to the latest survey from the American Research Group.

Among all Americans, 19% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 77% disapprove. When it comes to Bush's handling of the economy, 14% approve and 79% disapprove.

Among Americans registered to vote, 18% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 78% disapprove. When it comes to the way Bush is handling the economy, 15% of registered voters approve of the way Bush is handling the economy and 79% disapprove.

A total of 78% of Americans say the national economy is getting worse and 47% say the national economy is in a recession. A total of 42% of Americans, however, say they believe the national economy will be better a year from now, which is the highest level for this question in the past year. This optimism does not spread to improvements in household financial situations as 17% of Americans say they expect their household financial situations to be better a year from now, which is the lowest for this question in the past year.

The results presented here are based on 1,100 completed telephone interviews conducted among a nationwide random sample of adults 18 years and older. The interviews were completed February 16 through 19, 2008. The theoretical margin of error for the total sample is plus or minus 2.6 percentage points, 95% of the time, on questions where opinion is evenly split.

Overall, 19% of Americans say that they approve of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president, 77% disapprove, and 4% are undecided.
Bush job approval Approve Disapprove Undecided
Feb 2008 19% 77% 4%
Jan 2008 34% 59% 7%
Dec 2007 32% 66% 2%
Nov 2007 31% 64% 5%
Oct 2007 25% 67% 8%
Sep 2007 34% 60% 6%
Aug 2007 28% 65% 7%
Jul 2007 25% 71% 4%
Jun 2007 27% 67% 6%
May 2007 31% 64% 5%
Apr 2007 33% 62% 5%
Mar 2007 32% 63% 5%
Feb 2007 39% 56% 5%

Among Republicans (29% of adults registered to vote in the survey), 45% approve of the way Bush is handling his job and 50% disapprove. Among Democrats (43% of adults registered to vote in the survey), 1% approve and 99% disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job. Among independents (28% of adults registered to vote in the survey), 17% approve and 75% disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job as president.

Overall, 14% of Americans say that they approve of the way George W. Bush is handling the economy, 79% disapprove, and 7% are undecided. Among registered voters, 15% approve and 79% disapprove of the way Bush is handling the economy.
Bush handling the economy Approve Disapprove Undecided
Feb 2008 14% 79% 7%
Jan 2008 29% 63% 8%
Dec 2007 28% 71% 1%
Nov 2007 32% 62% 6%
Oct 2007 23% 67% 10%
Sep 2007 33% 58% 9%
Aug 2007 29% 64% 7%
Jul 2007 23% 73% 4%
Jun 2007 29% 64% 7%
May 2007 31% 62% 7%
Apr 2007 33% 63% 4%
Mar 2007 32% 64% 4%
Feb 2007 40% 54% 6%

Among Republicans, 41% approve of the way Bush is handling the economy and 54% disapprove. Among Democrats, 93% disapprove of the way Bush is handling the economy and 1% approve. Among independents, 8% approve and 83% disapprove of the way Bush is handling the economy.

A total of 1% of Americans say that the national economy is getting better, 20% say it is staying the same, and 78% say the national economy is getting worse.

National economy


Getting better


Staying the same


Getting worse


Undecided
Feb 2008 1% 20% 78% 1%
Jan 2008 8% 22% 64% 6%
Dec 2007 7% 28% 64% 1%
Nov 2007 18% 26% 55% 1%
Oct 2007 8% 18% 69% 5%
Sep 2007 14% 20% 63% 3%
Aug 2007 8% 29% 59% 4%
Jul 2007 12% 28% 58% 2%
Jun 2007 16% 28% 55% 1%
May 2007 19% 24% 53% 4%
Apr 2007 23% 17% 59% 1%
Mar 2007 19% 29% 50% 2%
Feb 2007 22% 20% 57% 1%

Among those saying they approve of the way Bush is handling his job, 1% say getting better, 52% say staying the same, and 41% say getting worse. Of those saying they disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job, none say getting better, 14% say staying the same, and 86% say getting worse.

A total of 42% of Americans say they believe the national economy will be better a year from now, 30% say it will be the same, 27% say it will be worse, and 1% are undecided.

National economy a year from now



Better than today



The same as today



Worse than today



Undecided
Feb 2008 42% 30% 27% 1%
Jan 2008 32% 35% 21% 12%
Dec 2007 28% 28% 43% 1%
Nov 2007 24% 29% 39% 8%
Oct 2007 18% 27% 53% 2%
Sep 2007 32% 26% 38% 4%
Aug 2007 32% 20% 42% 6%
Jul 2007 22% 31% 42% 5%
Jun 2007 22% 33% 42% 3%
May 2007 16% 29% 48% 7%
Apr 2007 26% 29% 41% 4%
Mar 2007 22% 27% 49% 2%
Feb 2007 29% 23% 44% 4%

Among those saying they approve of the way Bush is handling his job, 93% say better and 3% say worse than today. Among those saying they disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job as president, 32% say better, 34% say the same, and 33% say worse.

Overall, 47% of Americans say they believe that the national economy is in a recession, 29% say they do not believe the economy is in a recession, and 24% are undecided.
National economy in a recession Yes No Undecided
Feb 2008 47% 29% 24%
Jan 2008 35% 24% 41%
Dec 2007 7% 28% 65%
Nov 2007 34% 41% 25%
Oct 2007 40% 38% 22%
Sep 2007 25% 52% 23%
Aug 2007 31% 38% 31%
Jul 2007 29% 37% 34%
Jun 2007 22% 41% 37%
May 2007 36% 38% 26%
Apr 2007 28% 53% 19%
Mar 2007 25% 46% 29%
Feb 2007 19% 57% 24%

Among those saying they approve of the way Bush is handling his job, 16% say the national economy is in a recession, 64% say is it not in a recession, and 20% are undecided. Of those saying they disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job, 53% say the national economy is in a recession, 20% say the national economy is not in a recession, and 27% are undecided.

A total of 25% of Americans rate the national economy as excellent, very good, or good and 74% rate it as bad, very bad, or terrible.

National economy



Excellent



Very good



Good



Bad



Very bad



Terrible



Undecided
Feb 2008 1% 7% 17% 44% 10% 20% 1%
Jan 2008 2% 14% 27% 21% 17% 18% 1%
Dec 2007 7% 16% 12% 31% 16% 17% 1%
Nov 2007 16% 11% 21% 25% 12% 14% 1%
Oct 2007 8% 10% 20% 29% 14% 18% 1%
Sep 2007 13% 14% 21% 27% 7% 17% 1%
Aug 2007 9% 19% 21% 22% 16% 12% 1%
Jul 2007 9% 11% 23% 28% 12% 16% 1%
Jun 2007 16% 11% 20% 31% 9% 12% 1%
May 2007 12% 15% 16% 25% 16% 15% 1%
Apr 2007 17% 12% 29% 30% 8% 3% 1%
Mar 2007 16% 13% 25% 26% 12% 5% 3%
Feb 2007 12% 18% 26% 23% 3% 15% 3%

Among those saying they approve of the way Bush is handling his job, 66% say excellent, very good, or good and 33% say bad, very bad, or terrible. Among those saying they disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job, 85% say bad, very bad, or terrible and 14% say excellent, very good, or good.

When it comes to rating their household financial situations, 59% of Americans give an excellent, very good, or good rating and 40% give a bad, very bad, or terrible rating.

Household financial situation




Excellent




Very good




Good




Bad




Very bad




Terrible




Undecided
Feb 2008 6% 17% 36% 22% 11% 7% 1%
Jan 2008 12% 13% 45% 15% 6% 8% 1%
Dec 2007 14% 16% 36% 12% 17% 4% 1%
Nov 2007 13% 14% 38% 27% 6% 1% 1%
Oct 2007 11% 22% 32% 27% 2% 5% 1%
Sep 2007 12% 17% 44% 18% 3% 5% 1%
Aug 2007 11% 19% 25% 33% 9% 2% 1%
Jul 2007 5% 24% 39% 15% 9% 7% 1%
Jun 2007 8% 19% 41% 22% 6% 3% 1%
May 2007 15% 9% 38% 19% 12% 6% 1%
Apr 2007 11% 16% 51% 17% 3% 1% 1%
Mar 2007 11% 16% 44% 24% 2% 2% 1%
Feb 2007 11% 19% 29% 28% 7% 4% 2%

Among those saying they approve of the way Bush is handling his job, 100% say excellent, very good, or good. Among those saying they disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job, 46% say excellent, very good, or good and 53% say bad, very bad, or terrible.

A total of 8% of Americans say they think the financial situations in their households are getting better, 45% say staying the same, and 41% say getting worse.

Household financial situation



Getting better



Staying the same



Getting worse



Undecided
Feb 2008 8% 45% 41% 6%
Jan 2008 22% 25% 49% 4%
Dec 2007 20% 50% 29% 1%
Nov 2007 14% 54% 26% 6%
Oct 2007 17% 45% 35% 3%
Sep 2007 24% 39% 34% 3%
Aug 2007 21% 37% 41% 1%
Jul 2007 15% 47% 37% 1%
Jun 2007 11% 48% 37% 4%
May 2007 21% 44% 34% 1%
Apr 2007 24% 41% 31% 4%
Mar 2007 20% 40% 39% 1%
Feb 2007 18% 46% 34% 2%

Among those saying they approve of the way Bush is handling his job, 29% say getting better, 52% say staying the same, and 12% say getting worse. Among those saying they disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job, 4% say getting better, 40% say staying the same, and 48% say getting worse.

Looking to a year from now, 17% of Americans say that they think their household financial situations will be better than today, 52% say the same as today, and 25% say worse than today.

Household financial situation a year from now


Better than today




The same as today




Worse than today




Undecided
Feb 2008 17% 52% 25% 6%
Jan 2008 28% 41% 24% 7%
Dec 2007 36% 37% 25% 2%
Nov 2007 29% 43% 19% 9%
Oct 2007 26% 48% 23% 3%
Sep 2007 48% 29% 18% 5%
Aug 2007 32% 33% 24% 11%
Jul 2007 34% 39% 22% 5%
Jun 2007 29% 39% 23% 9%
May 2007 29% 33% 33% 5%
Apr 2007 30% 33% 36% 1%
Mar 2007 35% 30% 29% 6%
Feb 2007 38% 46% 12% 4%

Among those saying they approve of the way Bush is handling his job, 32% say better than today, 52% say the same as today, and 16% say worse than today. Among those saying they disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job, 14% say better than today, 50% say the same as today, and 29% say worse than today.



About this Survey -

Survey Sponsor: American Research Group, Inc.

The American Research Group has been conducting national surveys of consumers since 1985.

Sample Size: 1,100 completed telephone interviews among a random sample of all adults age 18 and older living in telephone households in the continental United States.

Sample Dates: February 16-19, 2008

Margin of Error: ± 3 percentage points, 95% of the time, on questions where opinion is evenly split.

Question Wording:

How do you rate the condition of the national economy these days - would you say it is excellent, very good, good, bad, very bad, or terrible?

Do you think the national economy is getting better, staying the same, or getting worse?

Would you say that the national economy is in a recession, or not?

A year from now, do you expect the national economy to be better than it is today, the same as it is today, or worse than it is today?

How do you rate the condition of the financial situation in your household - would you say it is excellent, very good, good, bad, very bad, or terrible?

Do you think the financial situation in your household is getting better, staying the same, or getting worse?

A year from now, do you expect the financial situation in your household to be better than it is today, the same as it is today, or worse than it is today?

Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president?

Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling the economy?

---
http://americanresearchgroup.com/economy/

2/22/2008 11:27 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Bush's disapproval rating worst of any president in 70 years

By Susan Page
USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — President Bush has set a record he'd presumably prefer to avoid: the highest disapproval rating of any president in the 70-year history of the Gallup Poll.

In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday, 28% of Americans approve of the job Bush is doing; 69% disapprove.

The approval rating matches the low point of his presidency, and the disapproval sets a new high for any president since Franklin Roosevelt.

The previous record of 67% was reached by Harry Truman in January 1952, when the United States was enmeshed in the Korean War.

Bush's rating has worsened amid "collapsing optimism about the economy," says Charles Franklin, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who studies presidential approval.

Record gas prices and a wave of home foreclosures have fueled voter angst.

Bush also holds the record for the other extreme: the highest approval rating of any president in Gallup's history. In September 2001, in the days after the 9/11 attacks, Bush's approval spiked to 90%. In another record, the percentage of Americans who say the invasion of Iraq was a mistake reached a new high, 63%, in the latest poll.

Assessments of Bush's presidency are harsh. By 69%-27%, those polled say Bush's tenure in general has been a failure, not a success.

Low approval ratings make it more difficult for presidents to maneuver, limiting their ability to get legislation passed or boost candidates in congressional elections.

...

Bush has had dismal ratings through most of his second term. His approval rating hasn't reached as high as 50% since May 2005. He has been steadily below 40% since September 2006.

Views of Bush divide sharply along party lines.

Among Republicans, 66% approve and 32% disapprove.

Disapproval is nearly universal — 91% — among Democrats.

Of independents, 23% approve, 72% disapprove of the job he's doing.

---
http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20080422/a_pollbox22.art.htm

4/24/2008 9:28 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Only 9% approve of U.S. Congress

Congressional Performance

Congressional Approval Falls to Single Digits for First Time Ever

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The percentage of voters who give Congress good or excellent ratings has fallen to single digits for the first time in Rasmussen Reports tracking history. This month, just 9% say Congress is doing a good or excellent job. Most voters (52%) say Congress is doing a poor job, which ties the record high in that dubious category.

Last month, 11% of voters gave the legislature good or excellent ratings.

Congress has not received higher than a 15% approval rating since the beginning of 2008.

The percentage of Democrats who give Congress positive ratings fell from 17% last month to 13% this month.

The number of Democrats who give Congress a poor rating remained unchanged. Among Republicans, 8% give Congress good or excellent ratings, up just a point from last month. Sixty-five percent (65%) of GOP voters say Congress is doing a poor job, down a single point from last month.

Voters not affiliated with either party are the most critical of Congressional performance. Just 3% of those voters give Congress positive ratings, down from 6% last month.

Sixty-three percent (63%) believe Congress is doing a poor job, up from 57% last month.

Just 12% of voters think Congress has passed any legislation to improve life in this country over the past six months. That number has ranged from 11% to 13% throughout 2008. The majority of voters (62%) say Congress has not passed any legislation to improve life in America.

Voters hold little positive sentiment about the future. Just 41% find it at least somewhat likely that Congress will address important problems facing our nation in the near future, while 55% find this unlikely.

Despite these negative attitudes towards Congress, Democrats continue to enjoy a double digit lead on the Generic Congressional Ballot. ...


Most voters (72%) think most members of Congress are more interested in furthering their own political careers. Just 14% believe members are genuinely interested in helping people.

A separate Rasmussen survey found that half of all voters believe America’s best days are in the past. However, another survey found that 64% of voters also believe that the world would be a better place if more countries were similar to the United States.
...

Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.

The Rasmussen Reports ElectionEdge™ Premium Service for Election 2008 offers the most comprehensive public opinion coverage ever provided for a Presidential election.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade.

This national telephone survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports July 1, 2008. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

---
http://rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/mood_of_america/congressional_performance/congressional_performance

7/12/2008 12:59 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Poll: 86% of Americans Say Government "Broken"

Wide majorities of Americans do not trust elected officials and think the federal government is “broken,” according to excerpts of a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Monday.

Eighty-six percent of the 1,023 Americans surveyed nationwide said that the government is “broken” compared to only 14 percent who said it is not.

However, only 5 percent of the 86 percent who think government is “broken” believe that it “cannot be fixed.”

The percentage who believe that government is broken has gone up 8 percentage points since CNN/Opinion Research Corp. surveyed the question in October 2006. Twenty-two percent of those polled in 2006 said government is “not broken.”

Additionally, 75 percent said the word “honest” does not describe their officials in Washington, while only 22 percent said it does.

That number is also up from the October 2006 survey, when 65 percent said they would not call government officials “honest.”

The poll was conducted February 12-15 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0210/33280.html#ixzz0gNYVRuFv

---
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0210/33280.html

2/24/2010 1:58 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Why people dislike government ...

A new Pew poll (of April 2010) finds historic levels of unhappiness about the federal government and its role in the lives of average Americans, ...

The current conditions in public opinion amount to a "perfect storm" of disgust/distrust toward government, according to Pew poll director Andy Kohut, who cites "a dismal economy, an unhappy public, bitter partisan-based backlash, and epic discontent with Congress and elected officials" as the critical factors in this building tempest.

While the report -- all 140 pages of it -- is chock full of great data, a few numbers stand out as typifying the current discontent coursing through the public.

* Roughly one in five voters (22 percent) said they can trust the government in Washington always or almost always, the lowest ebb on that question in 50 years.

* Just 38 percent said the federal government has an overall positive effect on their daily lives while 43 percent see its impact as broadly negative. Those numbers mark a considerable reversal from an October 1997 Pew poll when 50 percent said the government had a positive effect on their lives while 31 percent said it had a negative one.

* The public blames Members of Congress more than the system itself for their malaise. A majority (52 percent) said the political system can work but Members are the problem. Roughly one in three (31 percent) blame the system, not the Members.

Those soaring levels of dissatisfaction have to worry incumbents of both parties -- although the electoral pain will almost certainly be felt more by Democrats since, well, they have a lot more incumbents in the House and Senate.

More potentially problematic for Democrats is that the Pew poll also shows that the discontent toward the federal government runs far stronger among Republicans and independents and appears to be directly correlated with voter intensity.

More than eight in ten Republicans that are highly dissatisfied with the federal government told Pew they are absolutely certain to vote in the midterms while 67 percent of self identified GOPers who are less dissatisfied said it was a certainty that they would vote in the fall.

Independents, too, mirror that trend. Nearly eight in ten (78 percent) of those highly dissatisfied with the government are a lock to to vote in the fall as compared to 58 percent who are less unhappy that said the same.

(Democrats, by contrast, don't have that sort of dissatisfaction split; 63 percent of those who are very frustrated with the government said they are certain to vote while 64 percent of those who are less frustrated said the same.)

...

4/22/2010 12:30 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Kohut, in typically understated fashion, concludes after a look at the numbers that "the public's hostility toward government seems likely to be an important election issue favoring the Republicans this fall."

All elections are about intensity and passion -- and midterm elections are even more so.

Democrats saw across-the-board gains in 2006 because the party base as well as lots of Democratic-leaning independents were dead-set on sending President George W. Bush a message.

Republicans -- and Republican-leaning independents, on the other hand, were significantly less energized to vote, feeling as though Bush had abandoned them on spending and size of government issues, not to mention the cloud cast by his Administration's handling of Hurricane Katrina.

The White House and congressional Democrats insisted that the best political outcome from the passage of the health care bill last month was that it re-energized what had been a very listless party base since Obama's election in 2008.

Perhaps. But, the Pew numbers suggest that Republicans today still hold the high ground in the intensity battle heading into the fall campaign. Eliminating that edge may well be impossible -- the party out of power is always more motivated to "throw the bums out" -- but Democrats must find ways to mitigate it if they hope to keep their losses at historic norms (or below) in November.

---

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/house/why-people-dislike-government.html

4/22/2010 12:30 PM  

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