"Congress' approval rating is 11 percent. You know who's higher? Dick Cheney and HMOs."

Bill Richardson on Thursday, November 15th, 2007 in Las Vegas

Congress and Cheney beat HMOs

Gov. Bill Richardson took a humorous jab at his fellow candidates who serve in Congress during the Democratic debate in Las Vegas on Nov. 15, 2007, saying their approval ratings are lower than Dick Cheney's and HMOs'.

First of all, Congress' approval rating is not as low as 11 percent. Polls in October 2007 have hovered between 19 and 28 percent.

Vice President Cheney's approval rating is not polled as often as Congress, but his most recent approval rating, in October 2007, was 23 percent.

Polls on health maintenance organizations (HMOs) are even less frequent. But the Gallup Poll annually queries the public on opinions about the honesty and integrity of specific professions. The most recent poll in December 2006 rated HMO managers with approval ratings of about 12 percent, just above advertising practitioners and car salesmen.

In fact, in that poll, both senators and congressman rated higher than HMO managers. Senators were at 15 percent and congressman were at 14 percent.

So Richardson is wrong on all counts. Congress and Cheney are arguably neck-and-neck for approval ratings, while HMO managers lag behind. We rate his claim False.