New polls show ominous signs for Democrats in Congress - or do they?

Meanwhile, there's one interesting nugget in an otherwise rather empty Gallup poll.  This survey ranks Obama next to a generic Republican in a 2012 match-up, and shows an essential tie, with 11% undecided (shouldn't it be higher since it's somewhat of an incomplete question to ask?).  But the one piece of information that can't be comforting to the White House or its supporters is this:

Independents currently show a greater preference for the Republican candidate than for Obama, by 45% to 31%, though about one in four do not have an opinion.

Obviously, that erosion in support from indies, and not from disaffected Democrats, is the reason Barack Obama has been hovering below 50% in public approval ratings for the past few months.

In other Washington based news, In Miami, longtime GOP Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart announced he will not run for re-election next year.  His brother Mario says he'll run for his seat this November, making his seat an open one this fall.

The Miami Herald reports that all types of Republicans are vying for the seat,  but the best known Democrat in the area, Joe  Garcia, who lost to Mario Diaz-Balart in 2008, won't run again.   Still,  the Herald reports,

a race could be competitive: Republicans John McCain and George W. Bush have carried the district, but so have Democrats U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink.

This news comes after Democrat Patrick Kennedy in Rhode Island is to announce that he won't run for re-election in November.  But according to the Washington Post's Chris Cillliza and Paul Kane, more Republicans (18) than Democrats (14) have decided to retire this year in the House.

It's become somewhat of a cliche,  but the fact is that large majorities of the American public seem more disgusted with Congress than ever before.  According to a new NY Times/CBS News poll, less than 10% say members of Congress deserve re-election (of course, the public generally is critical of that body, but reliably votes for their own member, in large part because the opposition is usually token in nature).

Because the Democrats are in power, however, they look increasingly vulnerable this fall.  From that poll:

The level of dissatisfaction with both political parties — and the fact that 56 percent of Americans in the poll want a smaller government — suggests that the Tea Party movement has an opportunity to draw more support. The poll found that 51 percent of Americans now view the Democratic Party unfavorably, nearly matching the highest in the history of the Times/CBS News poll. At the same time, 57 percent have an unfavorable view of the Republican Party.

The survey also shows President Obama getting his lowest rankings in the NY Times/CBS poll (which I have found to generally skew a little more liberal than other polls), with a 46% approval rating.  Reporters Adam Nagourney and Megan Thee-Brennan suggest a way for Obama to perhaps gain ground, however, by going negative:

Still, the poll suggests that Mr. Obama and his party have an opportunity to deflect the anger and anxiety if they can frame the election not as a referendum on the president and his party, but as a choice between them and a Republican approach that yielded results under Mr. Bush that much of the nation still blames for the country’s woes. That is what the White House has been trying to do since the beginning of the year.

However, the poll does say that Obama enjoys an edge over the GOP.  And in both the Times and in a Washington Post/ABC News Poll, huge majorities favor the President eliminating the U.S. military's  "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on gays serving in the ranks.

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