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“While four months can be a lifetime in politics, the reality is, it is just about 18 weeks until the elections in November,” says Regina A. Corso, director of the Harris Poll. “In those 18 weeks, there are a lot of outside events that can occur which cannot be predicted. There is always that ‘October surprise,’ which can shift an election. The way this year is going, do not be surprised if there are surprises in July, August and September.”

Voters are short-tempered these days. A Harris Poll released Monday finds that 85 percent of Americans overall give Congress a negative rating. Among Republicans, the number is 97 percent; among Democrats it’s 75 percent. The ‘tea party’ is still a factor; about two in five Americans support the movement, with large partisan divisions. Sixty-nine percent of Republicans are tea party fans, while 56 percent of Democrats flat out oppose it.

“It would be better news for the Democrats if a tea party candidate enters the race. Just over one-third of Americans would still vote for the Democrat, but 18 percent would vote for the Republican candidate and 14 percent would [back] the Tea Party candidate,” Ms. Corso says.

The survey of 2,227 adults was conducted June 14-21.

BY THE BOOKS

Sh-h-h-h? No way. Librarians are vexed and unhappy that 77 percent of local and state funds have been cut for libraries around the nation, though 156 million people now have library cards — the largest number in history. More than 1,000 librarians will defy the entrenched stereotype that theirs is a “quiet profession” and rally in Upper Senate Park by the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday morning to drawn attention to their plight. Sen. Jack Reed, Rhode Island Democrat, plus Reps. Vern Ehlers, Michigan Republican, and Raul Grijalva, Arizona Democrat, will be on hand to help them out.

Organizers at the American Library Association have definitely gotten in touch with their inner advocate; the group now publishes the “Beltway Insider” and is speaking out on many technology and social issues — pointing out that the public is increasingly dependent on library services to help in job searches, resumes, certification tests and education advancement. See this new breed of librarian at www.ala.org.

IT’S CATCHING

Could they be fretting about MRSA and other hair-raising, antibiotic-resistant germs? The American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians and the Trust for America’s Health are just a few of the myriad medical groups now supporting the development of 10 new antibiotics in the next decade.

The call for jump-starting the effort was originally made by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), which has at last corralled researchers and analysts from both the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who will actually be in the same room for some serious talks. The groups will have their big “bad bugs, no drugs” sit-down in late July.

“The dry antibiotic pipeline puts every American at serious risk even from common bacterial infections. Infectious-diseases physicians are pleased that Congress and the Obama administration are beginning to pay attention to this critical public health crisis,” IDSA public policy vice president Robert Guidos tells the Beltway.

POLL DU JOUR

*66 percent of Americans plan to take a vacation this summer.

*56 percent will seek “less expensive” activities; 54 percent, less expensive meals.

*46 percent will vacation closer to home; 23 percent plan a “stay-cation” at home.

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