The failure of a special Congressional committee to reach a budget compromise appears to have set off a race to the bottom of popular opinion polls for lawmakers.
A CBS/New York Times poll last month showed only 9 percent of Americans approved of the job Congress was doing.
Even oil giant BP was more popular during the worst of its 2010 oil spill than Congress now. Only Fidel Castro ranked lower with a 5 percent approval rating.
"We are now at 9 percent," Sen. Michael Bennett (D-CO) said last week in a floor speech. "We're almost at the margin of error for zero."
The poll was conducted before the the 12-member debt reduction "supercommittee" failed to reach an agreement Monday to reduce the federal deficit by $1.2 trillion, which prompted even more public criticism of lawmakers.
Some analysts are predicting voter outrage is likely to show in the November 2012 election as members of Congress seek re-election.
Incumbents will have to work "extra hard" to get re-elected, David Brady, a Stanford University political science professor, told ABC News.
"What it means is it changes the game," Brady said. "It could be that that low rating might mean there are 20 or 25 incumbents that don't get re-elected or who resign, which is not insignificant, especially if you are one of the 25 that loses."
Even before the bipartisan supercommittee announced its failure, pessimism was obvious in other polls about their chances of success.
A McClatchy-Marist poll showed 85 percent of voters doubted the supercommittee of six Republicans and six Democrats would reach an agreement. A CNN/ORC poll showed nearly 80 percent of Americans surveyed said an agreement to significantly reduce the deficit was likely.
Both polls showed voters blamed Republicans more than Democrats for the inability to agree.
A Pew Research Center poll implied Congress does not follow a course of action voters want.
It showed most American want lawmakers to compromise, even if they do not agree with everything in the budget legislation.
However, statements from the supercommittee showed compromise was beyond their grasp during three months of negotiations.
"Despite our inability to bridge the committee's significant differences, we end this process united in our belief that the nation's fiscal crisis must be addressed and that we cannot leave it for the next generation to solve," said the panel's co-chairmen, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), in a statement.
Republicans and Democrats said any concessions the other side made during the negotiations lacked substance.
Much of the time they rehashed the political rhetoric being taken up by candidates in the 2012 presidential race.
Democrats accused Republicans of protecting the interests of high-income voters as a top priority. Republicans said Democrats were evasive in trying to take on tough issues of cutting entitlement spending, which includes Social Security and Medicare. Republicans also accused President Barack Obama of failing to take a leadership role on deficit-cutting.
Obama said that "there are still too many Republicans in Congress who have refused to listen to the voices of reason and compromise…coming from outside of Washington."
Now economists and political analysts are wondering what price will be paid for the supercommittee's failure to compromise.
A budget agreement reached in the summer calls for automatic spending cuts to take effect, beginning in 2013. It would include a $550 billion reduction in defense spending, $294 billion in non-defense programs and 2 percent reductions in Medicare.
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