Kick Them Out: Pew Finds Voters Want Incumbents Gone

Image: Kick Them Out: Pew Finds Voters Want Incumbents Gone

Wednesday, 16 Oct 2013 08:15 PM

By Elliot Jager

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Nearly four in 10 voters are so disillusioned with Congress that they want their own representatives kicked out of office.

A new survey from Pew Research Center finds that 38 percent of voters don't want their senators and representatives re-elected.

Anti-incumbent sentiment is nothing new, but voters traditionally have been more indulgent of their own elected officials. In 2010, for instance, 29 percent of voters were willing to give their representatives the boot.

Pew found Americans overwhelmingly dissatisfied with the way the fiscal battle in Washington has played out. Looking to 2014, 74 percent of Americans want to see most incumbents defeated in the midterm elections.

But dissatisfaction with incumbents may not translate into gains for the opposing party. In many states, the number of House seats in "swing districts," which are not solidly in the hands of either party, has declined in recent years because of gerrymandering.

Pew's survey, released Wednesday, pointed out that 90 percent of House members were re-elected in their last race and only one senator — Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown — was beaten in the General Election, and Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar lost in a primary.

Of 435 House members, 391 sought re-election in 2012 and only 40 lost, a phenomenon referred to as congressional stagnation. That, Pew said, is making red districts redder and blue districts bluer.

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