October 23rd, 2008
01:00 PM ET
6 years ago

Poll: Voters think most of Congress should go, especially GOP

A new poll suggest a majority of Americans are not happy with most members of Congress.
A new poll suggest a majority of Americans are not happy with most members of Congress.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A new national poll suggests that a majority of Americans don't think most members of Congress deserve to be re-elected. But most of the anger appears to be directed at Republicans rather than Democrats, who have controlled both houses of Congress for the past two years.

Fifty-eight percent of registered voters questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Wednesday said that most members of Congress do not deserve to be re-elected; 37 percent said most members should be returned to office.

"It's a "throw the bums out" sentiment similar to how the public felt in 1994, when Congress switched to GOP control, and 2006, when Congress switched back to Democratic control," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

But which bums should be thrown out?

Fifty percent of those questioned said most Democratic members of Congress deserve to be re-elected, but that number drops to 36 percent for Republican lawmakers.

"This is just not shaping up to be a good year for Republican candidates," Holland said. "It's possible that voters are so angry at George W. Bush that they are thinking about voting against anyone whose name is followed by an 'R' in parentheses."

But while many voters are ready to "throw the bums out," that doesn't mean they think their own member of Congress is a bum. Fifty-five percent of those questioned said their member of Congress deserves re-election; 38 percent said no.

"Americans tend to dislike large groups, such as all bankers or all lawyers, but they also tend to like their own banker or their own lawyer - or their own member of Congress," Holland said. "It's a phenomenon that pollster David Moore calls the 'BIMBY effect' - Americans tend to believe that things are 'better in my back yard.' The BIMBY effect has helped incumbents get re-elected to Congress for years, and 2008 looks like it will follow the same pattern."

Democrats currently control 235 seats in the House of Representatives. Republicans control 199. One seat is vacant.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. Poll was conducted October 17-19, with 1,058 adults questioned by telephone. Because each question was asked of only half the respondents, the survey's sampling error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.


Filed under: Congress
soundoff (218 Responses)
  1. Terry - Ontario,Canada

    Too bad you did not see that G.W. Bush was as dumb as a
    "sack of hammers", 4 years ago, huh ????

    Always had that slight smirk on his face when he was talking,
    kinda like, " wow I can't believe how gullible most voters are".

    October 23, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  2. Robert the Man

    Well I hope most of you are ready to give up your basic rights as an American come January. With a democratic contolled everything, there will be no system of checks and balances. You democrats disgust me. Honestly you are vile. I hope everyone is ready to be poor, but Obama he's great!, he's going to bring change! Give me a break. You people should not be allowed to call yourselves Americans

    October 23, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  3. jane in Columbus,ks

    I just came back from early voting in Ks. What a good peaceful feeling to mark my ballot comfortably for every democrat on the ballot.In this highly republican state we still have good alternatives to the power machine they have created here with high quality people running against entrenched career politocos.I was somewhat surprised that I was only the 61st person to avail myself of this early voting option in my small town and further surprised that I have seen only 3 yard signs supporting Obama but in talking with the townspeople strongly suspect, in the secrecy of the voting booth, while Ks will never go totally democratic that he will get alot more votes than polls are showing.

    October 23, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  4. I've Voted for "THAT ONE"

    From the months of primaries, conventions, debates, news reports, and even blogs, I have come to the conclusion that this election is about two issues: experience and race.

    Experience: In 2000, we elected a governor from Texas. Eight months after taking office, 09/11 happened. His response? Go against the UN, lie to the nation about WMD's, go to war in Iraq, sacrifice over 4,000 of our men/women, and STILL Osama bin Laden is on the lose. He and his friends (McCain) allowed greed and corruption on Wall Street hurt us on Main Street. The question is, do we still want that same "experience"?

    Race: We cannot choose our parents. Obama was born to a black Kenyan and a while woman from Kansas (Dorothy and Toto-land...how more "American" can you get?). He was orphaned and raised by his grandparents. Received a law degree and became a professor of Constitutional Law. I'll betcha he knows the role of the VP! It's 2008, and I am shocked at the racism that still exists in America. It's not the 1840's, folks. Vote for the half that's white if that makes you feel better.

    I have voted Republican until I early voted on Tuesday for Obama. Florida is still up for grabs, but don't count on us being "red" again. We see through all the lies and distortions coming from our "experienced" leaders. It's time they all go home and sit in the corner and think about the wrong decisions they've made.

    October 23, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  5. John in Ohio

    Anybody thinking of voting for McCain should be voting for Bob Barr!

    October 23, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  6. Dave g, minneapolis

    Wow,
    I'm impressed that the CNN moderator has actually posted comments about Bob Barr!!

    Must be that after all of his appearances on CNN, it still took his appearance on PBS Lehrer Newshour to gain legitimacy within the mainstream media.
    Well Bob Barr will be on NBC nightly news next week, but you should check out his website and youtube for his views on issues...

    Again, Bob Barr, for you and me, not for bailouts, not for more taxes, not for bigger government.

    October 23, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  7. Crank

    When are you going to do a "popularity" poll on the "Best Political Team in Television?" Bet those numbers might scare a few folks.
    CNN is about MAKING news, not reporting it. They serve more kool aide than any network on the air.

    October 23, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  8. FactCheck

    There are two things which I am really happy about that CNN and Obama's campaign have allowed myself and many others to see.
    _____________

    Maybe if you actually went out, got an education and socialized with
    humans, you wouldn't seem as bitter and angry as your hero McCain.

    October 23, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  9. Bridgette-PA

    12 MORE DAYS.....AHHHHHH

    OBAMA/BIDEN -08!

    October 23, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  10. frank

    Palin and McCain (and the GOP in general) want less regulation! Who is going to watch big business. Look at China to see what big business without regulation can do. Can you say " poisoned babies"!

    October 23, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  11. Dave

    I say throw all the bums out. Mainly the ones who voted in favor of the robbery/bailout bill. Sorry folks, but there are Dems and GOP who need booted out on their heads. Maybe it is time to get a viable third party that will better adhere to the Constitution in there and reclaim the Republic.

    October 23, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  12. I've Voted for "THAT ONE"

    CNN: Please post...I've tried four times!!!

    From the months of primaries, conventions, debates, news reports, and even blogs, I have come to the conclusion that this election is about two issues: experience and race.

    Experience: In 2000, we elected a governor from Texas. Eight months after taking office, 09/11 happened. His response? Go against the UN, lie to the nation about WMD's, go to war in Iraq, sacrifice over 4,000 of our men/women, and STILL Osama bin Laden is on the lose. He and his friends (McCain) allowed greed and corruption on Wall Street hurt us on Main Street. The question is, do we still want that same "experience"?

    Race: We cannot choose our parents. Obama was born to a black Kenyan and a while woman from Kansas (Dorothy and Toto-land...how more "American" can you get?). He was orphaned and raised by his grandparents. Received a law degree and became a professor of Constitutional Law. I'll betcha he knows the role of the VP! It's 2008, and I am shocked at the racism that still exists in America. It's not the 1840's, folks. Vote for the half that's white if that makes you feel better.

    I have voted Republican until I early voted on Tuesday for Obama. Florida is still up for grabs, but don't count on us being "red" again. We see through all the lies and distortions coming from our "experienced" leaders. It's time they all go home and sit in the corner and think about the wrong decisions they've made.

    October 23, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  13. Bob Indianapolis IN

    Uh Jerry...Arlen Specter is a Republican fom Penn. Low information much?

    October 23, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  14. Mccain is a Liar

    They should even democrats i am a democrat and alot of them need to go. Especially the one that sided with Hillary it is time to put a whole new and Younger Congress together Hopefully under President Obama leadership it will happen

    October 23, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  15. Chuck, Tennessee

    The sad thing is that polls often say what this one says. Yet, the voters continue to send their incumbents back to Washington

    October 23, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  16. FactCheck

    > The TRUTH is that this country has see exceptional growth throughout
    > most of Bush's presidency.

    You want to explain that to the people of New Orleans, or the car maker in Detroit?

    October 23, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  17. Team America

    Yeah, yeah...let's kick out the GOP since they controlled the House 2 years ago...let's forget the majority NOW, PRESENT DAY, cuz they've done such a magnificent job. CNN, in one of its magical polls where the people being polled are never talked about, say voter's think more of the GOP should be replaced. Why? So we can get less accomplished with an all liberal Congress and a possible liberal President? Get real CNN, no one with a working brain thinks that....only hippies.

    October 23, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  18. Shari, NY

    LOL, LOL!, Barbara, you are too much. Jay Leno could use someone like you. It is not my style to laugh at anyone but hey, there are exceptions, especially since some of these politicians are clowning around and their naive followers are egging them on.
    .

    October 23, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
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