May 12, 2010

Throw the Bums Out

43%

Just four-in-ten voters want to see their representative reelected this year.

As voters begin to head to the polls for political primaries, some incumbent office holders are getting a first-hand message about how voters across the country feel about politicians in Washington, regardless of party. In a poll conducted this spring, just 43% of voters said they would like to see their member of Congress reelected in the fall. In 16 years of Pew Research polling, this is the lowest level of incumbent support ever measured. In polls conducted in 2006 and 1994, recent years that saw a change in political control of Congress, half the public or more still wanted their representative reelected. In fact, in November 1994, 58% supported their own representative’s reelection. This year, however, anti-incumbent sentiment is widespread. Only 41% of Republicans, 54% of Democrats and 36% of independents say they would like to see their representative reelected. This marks the lowest percentage of support for incumbents among both Republicans and independents over the last five midterm election cycles. And Democrats are no more supportive of incumbents this year than they were in 2006, when the GOP controlled Congress. Similarly, opinions about whether most members of Congress should be reelected now matches previous lows. Just a quarter (27%) of voters say they would like to see most members reelected; down from earlier in the year and at about the same level as in the fall of 1994. Read More