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Anti-Incumbent Mood at Its Strongest Compared to Previous Elections

5 years ago
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As restive voters head to the polls today in 11 states to set the table for the November elections, two new polls show a greater anti-incumbent mood in the nation than previous years when the public was unhappy, with many saying they are dissatisfied or angry with government and ready to dispense with current members of Congress.

Sixty percent of Americans say they are "inclined" to look around for another candidate when it comes to how they vote in this year's midterm elections, while 29 percent would re-elect their current representative, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted June 3-6.

That is tempered somewhat by the response Americans give when asked if they approve or disapprove of the way their current representative is doing his or her job. Forty-nine percent say they approve and 44 percent say they disapprove.

anti-incumbentSimilarly, newly released numbers from a USA Today/Gallup poll of registered voters conducted May 24-25 says 60 percent would rather vote for a candidate who has never been in Congress compared to 32 percent who favored the incumbent, with 8 percent undecided. Sixty-three percent say most members of Congress do not deserve re-election, compared to 32 percent who say they do, the highest negative figure Gallup has recorded since 1992.

But 50 percent in the Gallup survey say their own representative deserves re-election, compared to 40 percent who do not believe that, although that is the lowest percentage to come down on the side of re-election since 1992.

In the Washington Post/ABC poll, 71 percent disapprove of the job Congress is doing, compared to 63 percent in May 2006 -- when voter unhappiness with years of GOP rule helped the Democrats re-capture the House -- and 61 percent in June 1994, the year the Republicans took control of the House for the first time since 1954.

The extent of voter unhappiness is not all good news for the Republicans. Six in 10 say they have a negative view of policies put forward by congressional Republicans and only a third trust them over the Democrats to tackle the nation's most important problems, according to the Post/ABC News poll.

And while the Tea Party movement has been scoring victories within the Republican Party, the poll says half of Americans have an unfavorable impression of it.

Forty-seven percent of registered voters say they would vote for the Democratic congressional candidate if the election were held today, while 44 percent would vote for the Republican. But 59 percent of those surveyed said they could change their minds or are undecided, with 26 percent of Democratic supporters and 24 percent of Republican backers in the category of those who could change their minds.

Sixty-nine percent of Americans in the Post/ABC poll said they were dissatisfied or angry with the way the government works, while 30 percent were enthusiastic or satisfied.

In the USA Today/Gallup poll, Republicans and independents were far more likely than Democrats to be in favor of a candidate who has never been in Congress. Seventy-one percent of Republicans and 69 percent of independents felt that way, compared to 41 percent of Democrats. Forty-five percent of Democrats said they favored a candidate who had been in Congress.

"A stronger-than-usual anti-incumbent bias is another challenge for a majority Democratic Party that is trying to minimize the losses usually dealt to the president's party in a midterm election year," Gallup said. "[Election] day is still nearly five months away, but typically, voters' attitudes toward incumbents do not change dramatically over the course of an election year. To the extent change has occurred in a given election year, it has usually been toward a more negative rather than a more positive view of incumbents."

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Big Daddy

The senate and the congress should be moved to one of the closed military bases. There is communal housing so they will have to actually associate with each other. There is a nice mess hall where they can eat and not dine with lobbyists. They can do our business in open cubicles instead of private offices. By logging in at the gates we'll know who their meeting with. By placing them in some desolate location You'd know where the lobbyists were. And they could still get a pass to go on liberty or visit Hooters and relax. They could use the base pool and other recreation facilities on the base. Hell they could even form paint ball teams and use the base training course to destroy each other. The money to be saved on their entitlements would more than pay for it, and they might get something done.

June 08 2010 at 10:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rob & Kathy

How about bringing back some common sense, responsibility and accountability?....

June 08 2010 at 9:53 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

You know IF I WAS A INCUMBENT.....I would go to the bar order a couple of doubles of Jack and review how I went against the wishes of the voters in my area...then pull out the " HELP WANT ADS" .""IN THE LONG RUN AS LONG AS THE PUBLIC HAS THE RIGHT INFORMATION ,THE PUBLIC WILL MAKE THE RIGHT DECISIONS." It was either Franklin
or Jefferson...who said that but I can't remember which.
But this one I am sure of "America is not great because of her strengths,but in her ability to address her faults"

June 08 2010 at 6:18 PM Report abuse +12 rate up rate down Reply

American voters are reminding politicians just who is boss.

June 08 2010 at 5:43 PM Report abuse +11 rate up rate down Reply
Hi Doe

We need nominees that understand that their first responsibility is to the people and their party affiliation is way down the line. We need laws that state if a nominee promises something during the election process he must try to fulfill his/her promise or voluntarily resign or be impeached. We need a 5 party government to disable the hold one party has over all else. We need to stop the greed and special benefits of all encumbents. They should have the same Social Security and Health benefits and nothing more than the taxpayers that put them into office. REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER!!!!

June 08 2010 at 5:39 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply

"Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new is their right,it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new guards for their future security.
-----Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence

June 08 2010 at 5:07 PM Report abuse +13 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Ruffie's comment

You are partly right. But you forgot one big thing. If you were a Republican in office and the other party shut you out of the meeting drafting the bill like the democrats have done in the past 4 years. Then when you have good input to be added they say no , but when it comes time to vote they want your yes vote or you become the party of NO.
Guess wht if that is hw they wanted to play so be it I would have voted no also. Just remember what the Democrats did with Bush for the last 2 years of his term, nothing but say no! all I have to say is if you can not take it do not dish it out. What goes around comes around.

June 08 2010 at 8:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


June 08 2010 at 4:35 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply

Anyone who votes for major legislation such as the health care bill, and then exempts themselves from the legislation that effects the rest of us, should be thrown out!!! In fact they should be deported since they don't want to live under our laws. Let them live somewhere else!

June 08 2010 at 4:07 PM Report abuse +16 rate up rate down Reply
I love USA

i do not know why political analysts do not get it.....any politician who either supported or voted for obamacare will not be voted into office.....even if you are a state politician but made it quite clear you were backing obamacare...good luck! you really do not think all of that hard work of Tea Party Movements and 9/12 Movements...month after month...ending with obama and democrats spitting into the faces of the votes and passing obamacare while Americans said "NO" will pass without a huge price to pay for any democrat? you just do not have the pulse of Americans if you think they will vote for anyone who wanted way!

June 08 2010 at 3:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh so PD is allowing comments again? Well how refreshing. Now this article is written about "mood" and of likely voters. Real simple the country is headed in the wrong direction and it will take the majority of us quite a long time to get it back on a path that is the right direction. The corruption is so deep that the gouge we will have to make will take an awful long time to heal. It will heal only by diligent attention and powerfully correct voting by a majority of us for a good 20 to 30 years. We need term limits that halt career polaticans from their current practice of rulerwannabeitis.

June 08 2010 at 3:13 PM Report abuse +18 rate up rate down Reply

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