Poll Shows Anti-Incumbent Mood

Wednesday, 28 Apr 2010 07:54 AM


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American voters are riding a tide of anti-incumbent sentiment, with fewer than a third of them likely to back their representatives in mid-term November elections, a new poll showed Wednesday.

The figure represents the lowest such numbers since the Republican Party capitalized on massive voter discontent to snatch control of the Senate and House of Representatives from Democrats in 1994.

The Washington Post-ABC News poll showed widespread dissatisfaction carrying across political parties and ideologies, with less that 25 percent of independents and just three in 10 Republicans saying they are leaning towards voting for an incumbent.

But President Barack Obama's Democrats, who control the White House and both chambers of Congress, could see a silver lining in the figures because poll respondents trust Democrats over members of the minority party by a double-digit margin to deal with the country's major problems, the Washington Post reported.

That raises the lead the Democrats had just two months ago when lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives engaged in a fierce battle over health care, one of Obama's top domestic priorities.

When asked who they would vote for in November from their congressional district, registered voters divided narrowly in favor of Democrats, 48 to 43 percent -- a five-percent slippage for Republicans since February.

Obama himself maintained a majority job approval rating of 54 percent, versus a disapproval rating of 44 percent, and poll respondents said they expressed more trust in Obama than in Republicans to handle major issues like the economy, health care and financial reform.

The poll comes as Democrats seek to paint Republicans as in the pocket of Wall Street executives for the minority party's blockage of financial reform legislation supported my most Americans.

Breakdowns on specific issues provided a mixed bag for the president. He has a 49-49 percent approval rating split on the economy, and suffers a 55 percent disapproval rating on his handling of the federal deficit.

But many more Americans, they poll said, blame the sour economy and the soaring budget deficit on predecessor George W. Bush than on Obama, by 59-25 percent on the economy and by 60-22 percent on the deficit.

Obama himself will not be on the ballot in November, but his vulnerabilities affect Democratic lawmakers up for re-election.

Just 39 percent of Americans think Obama policies have improved the economy, while only 44 percent say he is doing the right amount to support middle-class Americans -- a dramatic drop from the 66 percent who thought so in June 2008.

The poll was conducted April 22-25 among a sample of 1,001 adults, and has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

© AFP 2014

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