Poll: Record Low Would Re-elect Their Representative

Poll: Record Low Would Re-elect Their Representative
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Ask a member of Congress about that institution's low approval rating and he or she will invariably counter that voters tend to hold their own lawmaker in high regard.

That dynamic appears to be changing, though, according to a new Gallup poll that finds a record low percentage of registered voters -- 46 -- say the member from their congressional district deserves re-election. The findings suggest that more voters are seeing their own representative the way they see Congress generally.

The survey also found that just 17 percent of respondents believe most members of Congress should be re-elected, also a record low.

In 2012, 59 percent of voters said their member should be re-elected and 33 percent said most lawmakers should be as well. Even in 2010, a historic election year that saw control of the House shift from Democrats to Republicans, 51 percent of respondents thought their representative should be re-elected, and 33 percent said the same for most other members.

This changing view does not appear to be directed at one party in particular: 18 percent of Republicans and 18 percent of Democrats say most members deserve re-election.

While these results suggest a shake-up ahead in the 2014 midterms -- as occurred when similar findings predated elections with high turnover, such as 1994 and 2006 -- it isn’t as clear which party will be affected most. Since Republicans currently control the House, the party has more incumbents and thus more seats to lose. But because of redistricting, many of these districts appear safe for the GOP, so the anti-incumbent mood may be reflected more in the primaries than in the general election, at least in some areas.

The poll, which surveyed 1,018 adults Jan. 5-8, has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

Caitlin Huey-Burns is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at chueyburns@realclearpolitics.com. Follow her on Twitter @CHueyBurnsRCP.

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