72% disapprove of the job being done by Congress while only 20% approve.

The last time the disapproval number was lower was in February of this year when it was 60%, before that it was February 2011 when the disapproval number was 69%.

When asked whether they prefer a Republican controlled Congress or a Democratic controlled Congress, respondents select a Democratic-controlled Congress by 47% to 43%. [NBC/WSJ, 4/17]

50% of Americans are not confident that Congress’ investigation of Russia’s role in the 2016 election will be conducted fairly. 42% have the opposite view. [WP/ABC, 4/17]

The House

[WW relies on the Cook Political Report for the House data below.]

  • Democrats 194
  • Republicans 239
  • Vacancies 2
  Democrats Republicans
Safe in 2017 173 205
Likely 12 24
Lean 7 12
Tossup 3 2

The Cook Political Report has published the 2017 (20th anniversary edition) version of the Partisan Voter Index. (Compiled by David Wasserman and Ally Flinn)

There is no way to fully describe the wealth of data that is included. The following is a minor amount of information that is included.

“The most striking House statistic in the last 20 years may be the decline of competitive districts, places where members have the greatest political incentives to work on a bipartisan basis.

“In 1997, our Partisan Voter Index scored 164 districts between D+5 and R+5, more than a third of the House, and greater than both the number of strongly Democratic and strongly Republican seats.

“After the hyper-polarized 2016 election, there are only 72 districts between D+5 and R+5 – this is less than one sixth of the House and a 56 percent decline since 1997. This also represents a 20 percent decline from just four years ago, when there were 90 swing seats.

“Over this same period the number of Republican districts rated R+5 or greater has grown from 148 to 195. The number of Democratic districts rated D+5 or great has grown from 123 to 168.

“As it turns out, gerrymandering wasn’t as much of a factor in the House’s polarization as some redistricting reform advocates might argue. Of the 92 “Swing Seats” that have vanished since 1997, 83 percent of the decline has resulted from natural geographic sorting of the electorate from election to election, while only 17 percent of the decline has resulted from changes in district boundaries.” [Morning]

Four Democrats hold seats in the 25 Republican–trending districts. Eight Republicans hold seats in the top 25 Democratic-leaning districts.

A look at the top 25 most Democratic and most Republican districts reveals the top Democratic districts are further left than Republican districts are far right. There are 13 Democratic districts rated D+35 or greater. There are zero Republican districts rated R+35 or greater. The most Republican district is R+33. [Quorum Analytics]

Of 395 members of Congress whose personal voter registrations were examined by the Washington Post, 20 members do not live in the district they represent. It turns out that members of Congress are only required to live in the state in which the district they represent is located. [WP]

The Senate

  • Democrats 52
  • Republicans 46
  • Vacancies 2
  Democrats Republicans
Seats not up in 2018 23 44
Safe in 2018 12 7
Likely 4



Lean 5



Toss-Ups 4 Democrat


0 Republicans

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the only U.S. Senator of them all who has a negative approval rating in his home state? Mirror, mirror on the wall who is the U.S. Senator who has the highest disapproval rating in his state of any other senator?

The answer to both questions is … Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the most popular Senator of them all in his home state?

The answer is Bernie Sanders of Vermont (I) who has an approval rating of 75%. The following are the rest of the Senators who have the highest approval ratings.

2. Patrick Leahy of Vermont (D) – 70%
3. John Barrasso of Wyoming (R) – 69%
4. Michael Enzi of Wyoming (R) – 68%
5. Angus King of Maine (I) – 67%
6. Susan Collins of Maine (R) – 67%
7. John Thune of South Dakota (R) – 66%
8. Brian Schatz of Hawaii (D) – 65%
9. Ron Wyden of Oregon (D) – 65
10. John Hoeven of North Dakota (R) – 65%

[Morning Consult.Com, 3/17]

The following are the approval ratings from the Morning survey of those senators who are up in 2018 and whose race is not rated as safe.

Likely Dem Likely GOP
Stabenow, MI (47%)
Menendez, NY (40%)
Casey, PA (49%)
Kaine, VA (50%)
Lean Dem Lean GOP
Nelson, FL (53%)
Tester, MT (57%)
Brown, OH (52%)
King, ME (67%)
Baldwin, WI (44%)
Flake, AZ (44%)
Heller, NV (43%)
Dem Toss-Up  
Donnelly, IN (46%)
McCaskill, MO (47%)
Heitkamp, ND (60%)
Manchin, WVA (57%)


Only 4.9% of Washington-based U.S. Senate staffers are African American. [WP, 4/25]

Charlie Cook wrote a piece on April 6, 2017 about the United States Senate and the “nuclear option”. (Exercise of the “nuclear option” ended the filibuster as a device to be used during consideration of presidential nominations subject to Senate confirmation.) The filibuster on presidential nominations other than the Supreme Court ended during the leadership of Harry Reid when he was the Majority Leader of the Senate.

For those of us who revere Congress and, in my case, particularly the Senate, having first worked there as an intern 44 years ago, these are sad times. Partisanship is strangling what was long a functioning and effective institution, whose slow pace was in keeping with its claim to be the world’s greatest deliberative body. Republicans acted shamefully last year by refusing to act on Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama’s choice to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Now, Democrats’ treatment of Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee for that same Supreme Court slot, is equally shameful. Both men are eminently qualified and do not deserve to be whipping boys for the ugly partisanship that has poisoned Capitol Hill.

What makes the situation so unfortunate is that the uniqueness of the Senate as an institution has been rendered moot. It is now simply a redundancy. Originally elected not by voters but by state legislatures, representing the more diverse states rather than individual congressional districts, and with six-year terms as opposed to two year terms, the Senate was supposed to be very different from the House. It was supposed to be a bit removed from politics and taking the broader and longer approach to issues. The rules of the Senate were initially designed to bring about wisdom and consensus, while the House would reflect contemporary public opinion by majority votes.