October 16, 2013

Nearly 4-in-10 voters don’t want to see their own lawmaker re-elected


The share of voters who say they don’t want to see their own representative re-elected is high as it’s been in two decades.

Eight-in-ten Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the U.S. – particularly as the fiscal battles in Washington have dragged on – and that grim mood is reflected in the share of voters (74%) who want to see most members of Congress defeated in next year’s midterm elections, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

anti-incumbencyBut while that finding points to a general anti-incumbent mood in the country, it is often the case that these same voters regard their own representative differently. That’s why the telling number in the Tuesday’s survey is the 38% of voters who say they want their own representative to be defeated. That’s as high as this figure has been in two decades.

In the run-up to the 2010 election year, when Republicans regained control of the House, 29% of those surveyed had said they did not want to see their own lawmaker re-elected. In the September prior to the 2006 midterms, when Democrats won control of the House for the first time in 12 years, 25% had said they wanted their own representative ousted.

An early read of voter preferences in next year’s midterms gives Democrats a six-point edge over Republicans (49% to 43%) on the so-called “generic” ballot (which measures partisan sentiment but does not include actual candidate matchups). Independent voters are evenly divided: 43% say that if the elections for Congress were being held today, they would vote for the Republican candidate in their district, 43% say they would vote for the Democratic candidate.

The caveat when it comes to all these findings is the number of variables at work between now and Election Day in 2014. While the anti-incumbent mood is high, it is also the case that the number of House seats are in what are considered true “swing” districts” – and not firmly in the hands of either party – has declined sharply over the years.

Category: Daily Number

Topics: U.S. Political Parties, Political Attitudes and Values

  1. Photo of Bruce Drake

    is a senior editor at Pew Research Center.


  1. rufas4 years ago

    It is my firm belief that until the American public decides to remove any incumbent politician that was in office 10 to 15 years ago, things will not change much. The incumbent politicians don’t believe they will be voted out of office. Feeling safe they do what is best for themselves and not what is best for the country.

  2. DaBudaMasta4 years ago

    As far as Conservative republicans and tea party idiots are conserned, they do not pay attention to polls. The polls are irrelevant and inconsequential. They simply do not care what the rest of america wants, they only focus on what they want, that is to make ObamaCare irrelevant. If they wait long enough, it may prove them correct because the implimentation of Obama Care is incompetently administered. However it may be different if Obama can find someone to fix the problem for him. Mr. President I can fix it for you. Just give me 3 weeks.

  3. Jeff Thomas4 years ago

    Oh, I forgot to add, most voters will forget any of this by Christmas, much more by next mid term in 2014. A year is eons away in politics

  4. Jeff Thomas4 years ago

    You are right, because 6 out of 10 don’t know who their lawmaker is. So…. the incumbent wins 60% to 40%, which is just about the national average in races that are contested. Also, a well known fact is that 80% plus think Congress should be replaced, just not their own Congressman.

  5. Donald4 years ago

    Wouldn’t it be great to start over, beginning with the White House? Our forefatherss were “amateurs” and they did a great job!

  6. Jack4 years ago

    I strongly feel that if Congress can not come up with a signed budget, they should be removed from Congress. If Congress does put together a signed budget but it is not signed by the President, he should be removed from office as soon as possible.