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Democrats are right about one thing, poll confirms -- voters are suffering social amnesia

Thirty-seven percent of Americans say Congress accomplished less this year than in the last few years while just 23% say it accomplished more, according to a Gallup poll. Never mind the significant legislation passed on healthcare, financial reform and economic stimulus.

October 29, 2010|By Michael Muskal | Los Angeles Times

Democrats, including President Obama, repeatedly say that if voters really knew all of the things Congress has done, then the people would be rushing to vote for Democrats.

Now, a new poll has confirmed the Democrats' worst fears about social amnesia. According to a Gallup poll released Friday, 37% of Americans said Congress had accomplished less this year than in the last few years while just 23% said it had accomplished more.

Even though Congress has passed significant legislation on healthcare, financial reform and economic stimulus, more than a third of the people say lawmakers have done little and slightly more than a third said this Congress has done just about the same as past congresses. The results are especially telling with election day just days away on Tuesday.

The seeming lack of knowledge on Congress' action cuts both ways. Republicans have based on their campaigns on attacking the Obama administration's policies while many Democrats have had to defend their actions. In some districts, Democrats have tried to run away from their actions in a tip of the hat to the voter anger over the economy and some policies such as healthcare insurance overhaul.

But top Democrats have maintained a "know-us-is-to-love-us" attitude. One recent example was President Obama's appearance on "The Daily Show," a comedy showcase starring Jon Stewart.

In his sparring with the comedian, usually a progressive ally, Obama suggested that his administration has done so much that "we have done things that some folks don't even know about."

Stewart did his famous stunned face look, then said, "What have you done that we don't know about? Are you planning a surprise party for us, filled with jobs and healthcare?"

Obama laughed along with the audience.

Results for the Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews with 1,021 adults conducted Oct. 21-24. The margin of error is plus or minus four percentage points.

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