The Iffy-ness Behind Approval Ratings

    Approval ratings show up in almost everything, but mainly in politics. Politically, many people focus on the President’s approval ratings, in this case Obama’s. However, recently with the government shutdown and the worry over the debt ceiling, the attention has shifted onto Congress’ approval rating. 

   Many news sites, such as CNN, Fox, Gallup, Huffington Post, etc. have been reporting on the significant drop in Congress’ approval rating. Many of these sources estimate that the approval rating for Congress is between 5 and 11%. These percentages are extremely low. These low approval rating can be described by the people’s dissatisfaction with the how the government shutdown was handled, the deadlock between the two parties and their unwillingness to compromise, and the looming debt ceiling.

   It’s discouraging to see how little people approve of Congress currently and how little Congress is doing to essentially fix the problems that most people are upset about. Politics is a strange game, and many are aware of the power of public image and reputation in this game. So, why then aren’t any Congressmen changing their plans to win favor with the public and then better their image and ultimately the approval ratings of Congress?

   One of the reasons is because approval ratings aren’t definitely accurate. Most are gathered from a random sample of the population that is statistically designed to try and accurately portray the total population. But bias and poorly sampled samples can cause a lot of error, giving some inaccuracy to these rates. Politicians often use this as an excuse.

   Yet in reality, politicians often don’t want to address the issue because of the fear of losing their reputations. It seems right now though, that if Congress doesn’t address these issues, all Congressmen will begin to tarnish their reputations. They need to take a risk and suggest solutions, no matter how provocative or how much they compromise some key values. Politicians need to step up and do what’s right. Being stubborn in this situation is only going to make matters worse.

   Politicians right now, no matter how many errors there could be in approval ratings, need to look at them as a a warning that they need to change their plans and really step up to find solutions, which often means compromising. 

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