November 11th, 2009
05:57 PM ET
8 years ago

Poll: Anti-incumbent sentiment strong

A new poll suggests that Republicans are more enthusiastic than Democrats about voting in next year's midterm elections.

A new poll suggests that Republicans are more enthusiastic than Democrats about voting in next year's midterm elections.

Washington (CNN) - When it comes to Congress, a 'throw the bums out' attitude appears to be alive and well.

According to a new Pew Research Center poll, 52 percent of registered voters would like to see their own member of the House of Representatives re-elected next year, while just over one in three say that most members of Congress should be returned to office. Both numbers come close to the all-time lows seen just prior to the 1994 election, when the Republicans won control of Congress, and the 2006 contest, when the Democrats returned to power in both chambers.

The survey indicates that only 42 percent of independent voters want to see their own representative re-elected in 2010, and just one in four independents think most members of Congress should be returned to office.

The poll suggests that Republicans are more enthusiastic than Democrats. Fifty-eight percent of people who say they plan to vote for Republican in next year's elections say they are very enthusiastic about voting. That's 16 points higher than the 42 percent of people of plan to vote for a Democrat who describe themselves as enthusiastic.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released last week also indicated that Republicans are more energized right now than Democrats.

"The party that is out of power usually gets to play on offense, while the party in power is essentially playing defense," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Playing offense gets your team pumped up. Maybe the same psychology is at work on the political playing field this year."

Next November, all 435 seats in the House and more than a third of the Senate seats are up for grabs. Democrats currently hold a 258-177 advantage in the House, and a 20-seat margin in the Senate.

The Pew Research Center poll was conducted October 28-November 8, with 1,644 registered voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: 2010 • Democrats • Extra • GOP • Poll • Popular Posts
soundoff (109 Responses)
  1. John Ferguson

    Shouldn't the REAL story be "A Gallup poll released today gives the Republicans a 48 percent to 44 percent edge over Democrats if the 2010 elections were held today." ? What's this slant about "throw the bums out" and ignoring the fact the republicans are ehad in the polls? I think it's time for the democrats (Pelosi and Reid and crew) to smarten up.

    November 11, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  2. usualone

    If the Republicans win in 2010, then we really won't get anything done. Maybe the American government will never get things done again as long as it is so divisive, and people only believe in their party, no matter what are its choices. This President inherited a mess from the last administration. He cannot produce a magic bullet in one year and it is fair for him to comment about the previous 8 years of mess. No one tells him how to fix things from the other party; they just put up roadblocks.

    November 11, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  3. howie

    The democrats simply don't get it. America is fed up with give away programs as well as spend, spend, spend. The public has said over and over that it doesn't want a government run health program and the democrats do not understand their message, so it is pay back time at the polls.

    November 11, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  4. Common Sense '08

    Monday – "Throw the bums out!" Alive and well today
    Tuesday – "Throw the bums out!" Dead and off the radar
    Wednesday – "Throw the bums out!" Still dead and off the radar
    Thursday – "Throw the bums out!" Almost alive and well today
    Friday – "Throw the bums out!" Dead in the water!
    Saturday – "Throw the bums out!" People not ready for change.
    Sunday – "Don't throw out the bums!" Unemployment up; economy improving; health care reform is working.

    People changes their minds according to what they feel on any given day. 8 years of political madness! 8 months of change for the better! YOU DO THE MATH!

    November 11, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  5. bob in LA

    "We" may not like incumbants but the alternative is having waht we got away from just a short 10 months ago.
    The grass is not always greener my friends- give it some time.

    November 11, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  6. Carlos

    Throw all the libs out of office and install term limits on the rest of them.

    November 11, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  7. Jason

    more coverage of the house! stop covering the presidency! i'd bet half the people in the country don't even know who their congressperson is.

    November 11, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  8. Jerry in Florida

    I hope this is just one more wake up call for the morons that have taken over our Democratic party. This goes double for you Mr. President!

    More to come. Stay tuned!!

    November 11, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  9. old timer

    Vote out all who have done a bad job of voting. Get their voting results. These jobs were never ment to be life long jobs. Vote the old timers out or put in term limits. Get rid of the yes people who represent you.

    November 11, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  10. OldUncleTom

    Districts have been drawn to ensure that we all like "our" reps, but not anyone else's. This is deliberate and gets more effective with every census.

    Most Americans think their rep is some guy named "Incumbent" anyway, so it matters little.

    I'd like to see Term Limits, fairly drawn congressional districts, and the end of Seniority in the Senate and House, but then I also know I'm dreaming.

    November 11, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  11. Four and The Door

    The way the Democrats in congress have been voting this year, they must have been feeling 10 feet tall and bulletproof because of their historic victories in 11 '08.

    They are not bulletproof and they have given Republicans so much ammo to campaign with it will be a Grand Party for the Grand Ole Party after 2010 votes are counted.

    Obama's got more time to clean up his act, but he has dug a deep hole to crawl out of.

    November 11, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  12. Daniel, Denver

    really? who comes up with this stuff. These people figuring out these numbers are just awful, and are ruining our government.

    November 11, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  13. ran

    The Democrats will be coming out in force 2010and 2012 especially if the party of "NO" continue their obstructionist ways.

    November 11, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  14. cbk16

    Rassmussen polling has been showning this for months, this is not new for those who read the Why hasn't CNN covered this story earlier?

    November 11, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  15. This sets it up for......

    Sarah Palin/Liz Cheney in 2012'

    Obama is ONE and DONE.

    November 11, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  16. Darth Vadik, CA

    And this is news why?
    The people are always PO's at the incumbents during their terms, you really have to be crazy and go coo-coo bananas like the Republicans did for 6 years to have them thrown out on their butts.

    3:1 odds we get a new poll in a day saying something like people are unhappy with incumbents but they prefer the Democrats anyway.

    November 11, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  17. Kim

    Without a public option I will vote them out.

    I don't believe that this country can survive 80 Million baby boomers relying on medicare and medicaid. I believe the healthcare companies should be held in line just as we had to do with the telephone and power companies.

    With pofits climbing our national debt will climb. It"s good to be different but we can watch and learn from what works in other countries.

    November 11, 2009 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  18. Kirk

    Wow. Texting, Twitter, etc. have really ruined the memory span of Americans. Remember, George W. Bush spent 8 years getting our country into this mess, and might take 8 years or more to get back out.

    Give the Democratic Party a chance. Give them your patience and support. Bear in mind the last time we enjoyed peace and prosperity was under the most recent Democratic president, Bill Clinton. It will happen again, but Bush did so much damage that it might take a while to heal.

    November 11, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  19. Idi Amin

    This is a figment of your imagination...
    the power that mobilized millions in 2008 is alive, vibrant, and strong as ever. It persists underground, behind the scenes, and as adimant as it was in 2007-2008 to change this nation. It takes time, and we Dems are still strongly behind our nations President, as we are behind the power in our own transitions to make this a better nation.
    Time will tell. I predict an overwhelming silent majority to vote in Dems and Barack Obama again as out nations continued Presidency – easily, hands down. Republican propaganda only works for the feable minded.

    November 11, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  20. Vietnam vet

    people have such short memories. Did you forget who wiped out a Federal surplus to the largest deficit, did you forget who was in office on September 11, 2001, did you forget that we invaded a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, did you forget that by invading Iraq we allowed Iran to grow unfettered, did you forget that the recession started in 2007 and the Administration did nothing, did you forget that it was the Bush administration that gave the banks and insurance companies billions, in less than a week. If you vote Republican in the next election, you deserve what you get.

    November 11, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  21. RLA

    Americans are feeling that government is totally out of control in terms of spending, size, and by injecting itself in everyone's lives. Americans also feeling that they're paying too much in taxes...having to work harder to underwrite those who won't. On top of that, they feel that their elected leaders just aren't listening.

    2010 will be a time of change. 2012 will be a time of greater change.
    It's a wonder the Democrats in office aren't sensing this...or maybe they just don't care. One wonders.

    President Obama promised change. Looks like he's going to get it in a way he never expected. It's time to take back America!

    November 11, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  22. Mike

    With great joy I just heard Lou Dobbs announce that he would soon leave cnn. This was destined to be as Dobbs drifted ever more into the very far right wing of the political spectrum. In no way did Dobbs succeed in his pretence of being 'independant' or balanced in his radical right ,nightly rants. Now Dobbs can freely join fellow neo con nut ball Beck in the rapid Fox den.

    November 11, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  23. Willy Brown

    Democrats have had control since 2006 and have done nothing but obstruct and whine. Now we know who the real do nothing party of "no" is. Hee Haw!

    November 11, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  24. once upon a horse

    Republicans, the group that so far has had NO answers for anything at all are more enthusiastic than Democrats are. ABOUT WHAT?? The tea party bunch? Last time I saw that only 20% of Americans consider themselves to be Republicans, the GOP approval rating was in the mid 30s at best. How in the heck can they talk about taking over Congress? I just wonder who CNN polled here, must have been the tea baggers and Glenn Beck several times over.

    November 11, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  25. NYCgirl

    I am open to voting for anyone – I'm a center/left independent voter. To give you an idea – I adore Olympia Snowe...Mike Bloomberg...that type. I have no problem with incumbents per se...but I am made very nervous by all this Christian right republican stuff being shoved down my throat. I hate to break it them, but not everyone in this country is a conservative Christian and I stop hearing their valid points when they cloak it in theology.

    November 11, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
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