Poll: Voter Support for Congressional Incumbents Near Record Low

Tuesday, 19 Aug 2014 01:56 PM

By Andrea Billups

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Americans seem ready to throw the incumbents out, a new poll from Gallup, released ahead of much-anticipated midterm elections, has found.

Just 19 percent of U.S. voters say members of Congress deserve re-election, marking what is likely to be the worse incumbent support in Gallup's history since the pollster started asking the question in 1992.

Support for re-election peaked in 1998 as voters rode an era of positive feelings about the nation and lawmakers. The latest Gallup findings come after Gallup found congressional job approval waning at just 13 percent, only a bit higher than the all-time-low sentiment polled in that category.

The pollster said the newest numbers on re-election could portend strong voter turnout in midterm elections come November.

"Two other years in which this measure was relatively low — 1994 and 2010 — saw major shake-ups, although the same party [Democrats] controlled the House and the Senate in both of those years, which may have made it easier for voters to take out their frustrations," Gallup noted in announcing its findings. "Still, the 19 percent of American voters who on average this year say most members do not deserve re-election is significantly lower than in 1994 or 2010, providing a negative general context for the coming elections."

Much like positive public sentiment directed at local schools, Americans feel better about their own representative, the polling, which was completed in August, found.

About 50 percent of voters gave a thumbs-up for re-election for their own representative in Congress. While the number is low, Gallup said it does not approach record lows when voters were asked about "most members" of Congress being re-elected.

GOP members have high hopes that they are on track to ride a wave of backlash against Democrats and anti-Obama sentiment, the Washington Times reported.

"The incompetence of the Obama administration, the incompetence of Harry Reid’s leadership in the Senate has worn thin on the American people," said Rob Collins, the National Republican Senatorial Committee's executive director. "So we just need to provide an alternative that says we can grow our economy, we can create more jobs, we can tackle this debt, and we can fix Obamacare."

Democrats were also undeterred, with Reid telling reporters last weekend that he believes Democrats could still hold the Senate, according to the Associated Press.

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