WHAT DO WE APPROVE OF THESE DAYS? We've been hearing about Bush's sinking public opinion ship a lot lately, and the Reuters/Zogby poll released yesterday put him at a mere 29 percent approval rating. But despite the glee with which we repeat that ever-shrinking figure, Congress has been getting bad marks too -- even worse then the man in the White House. Only 11 percent of Americans gave Congress a positive rating, down three points from the previous low of 14 percent in July.

Granted, the polling sample wasn't huge, but still, 11 percent is pretty unsightly. The low marks are likely tied to pessimism about the economy, the war, and a lack of any news of positive advancements coming out of Congress. Yesterday's failure to restore habeas corpus or limit time spent in combat probably didn't help, and neither does the perception of Congress as helpless as Bush threatens to veto positive moves like expanded funding of SCHIP or a comprehensive energy package. I'm leaning toward the public being generally unhappy about what's going on rather than having real beef with the current Congress, but either way, it seems that they won't be able to do much to improve that image anytime soon.

--Kate Sheppard