Most Americans continue to think that Congress is doing a poor job, but if the election were held today an equal number of Democrats and Republicans would be sent back to Washington. According to a new Harris Interactive poll of 2,016 adults taken online Jan. 16-23, 38 percent of Americans would vote for Democrats in this year’s congressional elections and 38 percent would vote for Republicans.
Meanwhile, 16 percent are not sure how they would vote, while 8 percent would vote for some other party’s candidate.
As for the job Congress is doing, only 6 percent of Americans give it a positive rating, while 94 percent view it negatively. Those figures represent only a slight change from last month when another Harris poll registered a 95 percent disapproval rating for Congress.
When it comes to the congressional leadership, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., still draws higher negative marks at 53 percent than any other leaders on Capitol Hill.
But House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, doesn’t fare all that well himself when it comes to popularity. About 46 percent of those surveyed gave him a negative approval rating and 44 percent said they didn’t know enough about him to venture an opinion.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., meanwhile, did a little better, drawing a 42 percent negative rating from survey participants. But half of those surveyed said they weren’t familiar enough with him to rate his job performance one way or the other.
Breaking down opinions of the two major political parties, the Harris survey found that more than half of Americans view the job both Republicans and Democrats are doing in Congress unfavorably.
Fifty-six percent of Americans said they have a negative opinion of Republicans and 53 percent said they have a negative opinion of Democrats.
A third of those surveyed ventured no opinion on either party.
As for what the numbers mean, Harris officials said in a statement that incumbents on both sides of the aisle should be nervous about their chances for re-election.
“Representatives have to hope that the old adage of ‘hate the Institution, but like my Member’ holds true for November, or it could be another watershed year with incumbents not able to win re-election,” they said.
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