Just 25% Think Their Own Member of Congress Deserves Reelection, Says Poll

A new HuffPost/YouGov poll found out that one-quarter of Americans would not reelect their representatives in Congress.

Americans have traditionally said that while they might not like Congress, they usually like their own representatives. But that sentiment appears to have shifted. Photo: divaknevil/ Flickr

The Huffington Post and YouGov have recently conducted a poll that showed Americans don’t think most Congressmen deserve to be re-elected.

In the new survey, 25 percent of respondents said they believe the member of Congress from their district deserves to be reelected, while 47 percent said they did not. Another 27 percent said they weren’t sure.

Last November the Gallup poll showed that 59 percent said their own representative deserved reelection, while only 30 percent said he or she did not. Since Gallup began tracking the question in 1991, the percentage of Americans saying their own representative didn’t deserve another term has never been higher than 40 percent.

Another poll conducted by NBC News and Wall Street Journal revealed that about 60 percent of American would love to fire the present Congress and replace every single member of Congress, including their own representative, they would. Just 35 percent say they would not.

The 60 percent figure is the highest-ever in that question recorded in the poll, registered in the wake of the government shutdown and threat of the U.S. defaulting on its debt for the first time in history. If the nation’s debt limit is not increased one week from now, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warns that the entire global economy could be in peril.

“We continue to use this number as a way to sort of understand how much revulsion there is,” said Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted the poll with Republican Bill McInturff. “We now have a new high-water mark.”

The numbers reflect a broader trend over the last few years. Americans have traditionally said that while they might not like Congress, they usually like their own representatives. But that sentiment appears to have shifted.

Actually it is not so surprisingly, as the HuffPost/YouGov survey found that even more Americans would get rid of most members of Congress if they didn’t have to make a choice specifically about their own. Only 11 percent said they think most congressional lawmakers deserve to be reelected, while 70 percent said most don’t.

In October 2010, a majority of Americans – 50 percent to 47 percent – said they would not fire all congressional members. But by August 2011, 54 percent said they would toss every lawmaker from office; in January 2012, 56 percent said that; and just three months ago, in July, it was 57 percent.

Congress in general is not very popular among Americans, as a new poll conducted by the Associated Press suggests that approval of Congress is at the stunningly low figure of 5 percent — slightly more Americans than earlier this year said they believed lizard people controlled the government, as Politico’s Jonathan Allen points out.

The point of the poll was generally to gauge Americans’ reaction to the shutdown, which was already several days old when the polling began. What the AP found echoes what most other pollsters have found: People blame Republicans. Democrats get slightly better ratings on how they’re dealing with the budget than Republicans, but both get terrible marks.

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