Congress goes on vacation with most Americans unhappy with the work it's doing these days.
A FOX News poll released Monday shows that 30 percent of voters say they approve of the job Congress is doing, while twice as many -- 60 percent -- disapprove. In May, 41 percent approved and 49 percent disapproved.
The drop in Congress' approval rating comes almost entirely from Democrats and independents. Some 42 percent of Democrats say they disapprove of Congress, up significantly from 25 percent two months ago (12-13 May 2009). Similarly, 66 percent of independents disapprove, while 53 percent said so in May. Disapproval among Republicans is essentially unchanged at 76 percent.
When asked to think ahead to the next congressional election, 43 percent of Americans say they are more likely to vote for the Democrat "to help Barack Obama pass his policies" and 38 percent for the Republican to provide a "check on Obama's power." The current 5 percentage point Democratic advantage is down from a 12-point edge earlier (12-13 May 2009).
The change tracks another of the poll's findings: More Americans identify themselves as Republicans in this survey than have since late last year.
In the current poll, by a 6 point margin, more voters say they are Democrats than Republicans: 40 percent call themselves Democrats, 34 percent Republicans and 24 percent independent/other. In May it was a 12 point margin, as 42 percent considered themselves Democrats and 30 percent Republicans.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's personal ratings have slipped and most people think the best job for her now that she has resigned as governor is away from the world of politics.
About a third of Americans think the best job for Palin is homemaker (32 percent), while nearly one in five see her as a television talk show host (17 percent). Vice president of the United States comes in third (14 percent), followed closely by college professor (10 percent), with president coming last (6 percent).
Republicans think the best job for Palin is vice president (27 percent), followed by homemaker (18 percent), talk show host (14 percent), president (12 percent) and professor (7 percent).
More Americans have a negative view of Palin than have a positive one. While 38 percent say they have a favorable opinion of her, 51 percent have an unfavorable view. Even so, her ratings are better than those of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: 29 percent favorable and 47 percent unfavorable.
The last time views of Palin were tested voters were evenly divided: 45 percent viewed her favorably and unfavorably (31 March-1 April 2009). When Palin was first introduced to the country as Arizona Sen. John McCain's running mate in September 2008, 54 percent had a positive opinion of her -- double the 27 percent who said they had a negative opinion.
2012 Republican Presidential Nominee
Among Republicans, Palin is their third choice when read a list of potential candidates for the 2012 nomination. Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney takes the top spot (22 percent), though he bests former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee by just one point (21 percent). Palin receives the backing of 17 percent and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giluiani comes in at 13 percent. The remaining candidates receive single-digit support.
Opinion Dynamics Corp. conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News from July 21 to July 22. The poll has a 3-point error margin.