Here is a bit from an article in the McClatchy newspapers. I've bolded the key bit:
"I think the polling data got their attention," said John Pitney, a professor of politics at Claremont McKenna College in California and the author of "The Art of Political Warfare."
The data show that Congress' approval ratings remain dismal. A Sept. 8-11 Gallup poll found only 15 percent of the public approved of how Congress was doing its job, while 82 percent disapproved. The margin of error was 4 percentage points.
Nothing frightens politicians like numbers that low, especially when the economy remains sluggish, consumer confidence is bleak and businesses are reluctant to hire.
Republican pollster Bill McInturff found that public disgust with the summer debt-ceiling debacle had eroded confidence in the economy and the federal government profoundly, on a scale similar to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina. That, McInturff warned in an analysis earlier this month, could lead to "unstable and unpredictable political outcomes" in next year's elections.