PRINCETON, NJ — Americans who believe most members of Congress do not deserve to be re-elected support their position by saying representatives are simply doing a bad job, that they have been in office too long, that they are not making decisions based on what’s best for the country, or that they are too focused on self-interest, special interests, and partisanship. Relatively few cite Congress’ performance on specific issues.
More than 6 out of 10 Americans in Gallup polls conducted this year have consistently said “most members of Congress” do not deserve re-election. These are the highest numbers in Gallup’s history of asking this question.
These data underscore this year’s conventional wisdom that 2010 is a particularly bad time for congressional incumbents. Americans’ approval of Congress in the same June 11-13 USA Today/Gallup poll is at 20%, at the low end of the historical range of that measure. Favorable ratings of both political parties are also near record lows. A recent Gallup poll also found that, by about a 2-to-1 ratio, Americans prefer a candidate who has never been in Congress to an incumbent.