Which branch of the US govt is most influential domestically

Last I heard, the approval rating of congress was much lower then that of the president.

It seems to me that the recent rescue plan was on hold till congress approved it.

Congress foiled the Clinton administration proposal for health care.

State of the Union addresses are often issue repititious in imploring of Congress.

Other than supreme court appointments and foreign policy (where even there the congress can decline ratification and controls the purse strings) I expect all the domestic program promises of both McCain and Obama are subject to the approval of congress.

So I why does the presidential election coverage dwarf the coverage of congressional campaigns ?

What am I missing?

People only get to vote for the congress-critters representing their own area. Everybody gets to vote for President. Thus, Presidential candidates buy ads to run nation wide, and get covered in the national press. Congressional candidates buy local ads, and get covered in the local press…unless they screw up in a newsworthy way.

There has been plenty of coverage of Missouri and southern Illinois congressional races in my local paper, at least of the competitive ones.

But, as Oakminster said, they’re going to be mostly ignored at the national level, except if any scandals or major upsets rear their head. After all, between the House and the Senate, there are ~468 races. No national media is going to attempt to cover them all in any detail.

The President is the face of the nation. The person who will represent us to the world for four years. When Harper comes down to the U.S., he doesn’t care about William Clay, my Representative. He comes down to talk to the President.

The President also has the bully pulpit and his honeymoon period. During the honeymoon period (which typically falls right after election, excluding some cases like Bush Jr who seemed to have it right after 9/11) you can get damn near ANYTHING through congress, oftentimes even if the party in power is the other one.

And even so, unless the President has become a COMPLETE joke, or Congress has a much higher approval rating (which almost never happens) the President can pretty much call a press conference and say “the meanies in Congress aren’t passing my bill to help you, write them and tell them you’ll never cast a vote for them again unless they pass it.” And oftentimes he can still get it through with that, though this admittedly works a lot better when the majority party is that of the president. The president can, of course, also call a press conference at the same time as congress to make certain that less people know what they said, or at least not know it too soon (because the president’s conference is always the one focused on), though that’s a bit circular, the media focuses on him because of his power, he has power because the media focuses on him.

Not to mention the President appoints judges, who are the REAL powerhouses, yes, Senate confirms, but that’s still a pretty big power - considering the fact that I’d argue the judicial branch is the most powerful branch of the government (hell, you could argue they were since Marbury v Madison established judicial review, they’ve only gotten more powerful since then).

Add that with what the posts above said about the Senate being only elected by local bodies.

Since the IRS is IMO, by FAR the arm of government that has a direct impact on each and every citizen, I’m gonna have to go with the executive branch.

Not to mention that presidents seem to be able to whip us into wars while Congress sits on the side gawking.