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. Senior Lilarose in Oregon

    Ah, well, people who abandon our president in the coming terms will have to suffer the consequences.

    More George W. Bush types.

    November 11, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  2. mjm

    That's because most voters didn't sign up for Socialism.

    There will always be small fundamental differences between parties, but the country will ALWAYS be right of center. You cannot spend people’s tax dollars recklessly and expect to say in office.

    At least $1.2 trillion on health care? 5 years in jail if you don’t buy health insurance? All based on a Medicare system that’s going broke in 10 years? Are you kidding?

    Fiscal responsibility worked for Reagan, it worked for Clinton and JFK, and it would have worked for Bush if he had controlled spending a little better (that and the Dems refusing to control Fannie and Freddie).

    Liberals will NEVER be in office again. It’ll be Conservatives and Blue dogs from now on.

    November 11, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  3. Dwayne

    Seriously? If Bush can get re-elected on his terrible numbers and terrible job he was doing, then I guess the future for the Democrats don't look so grim after all. Keep your numbers...we'll see on election day. Talk is cheap. By the way CNN. Thanks for either getting rid of Lou Dobbs or for letting him resign so quickly either way you may feel it's a loss to your network, I believe it's of benifit to your network.

    Let Fox have him. That's where someone like Lou a network that misinforms and minipulates it's audience on a regular to keep manufactured opposition up and running.

    November 11, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  4. Tired of stupidity

    I find this one funny since everyone here in Maricopa Country Arizona is throw out the incumbents, Impeach Congress get rid of Pelosi and Reid although they are not in thier districts they complain, but they will step up and put the morons like Shadegg and Flake back in office. This poll has no real meaning.

    November 11, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  5. tata mcgee

    CNN is such an ideology driven organization is doesn't understand what the hell is going on with Obama and his cadre of radicals.

    November 11, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  6. MatthewDetroit

    Time to vote EVERYONE out....
    They are all running the country into the ground...
    The last 17 years INCLUDINgthis year has been all bad.

    November 11, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  7. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Republicans take no responsibility for the mess we are in but sure know how to play the blame game with no solutions. If this country is taken back by Republicans there will be no recovery, just continued wealth for the 1% out of 300,000 million and growing population that aren't included.

    November 11, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  8. Right Leaning Independent

    I will vote mine out if you vote your's out!!

    November 11, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  9. Alex

    Hopefully plenty of 3rd Party and independent candidates will grace the ballots nationwide, to spare the people the choice between the neanderthal right and the bait-and-switch "left" (Ha! Left of Mussolini, maybe...).

    I want to see my representative, Ed Markey, out of office, not because his name is on a horrendous piece of climate legislation that rewards long-term polluters, but because he has now voted twice in support of Israeli war crimes, just this year; first in January in the midst of the Gaza massacre, and then last week, condemning to the crucial Goldstone report, which confirms Israel's actions as essentially genocidal.

    Almost no one in Congress really deserves to keep their job... Possible exceptions include the great Dennis Kucinich, Russ Feingold, Bernie Sanders, Jerry Nadler, John Conyers, Alan Grayson, and Al Franken.

    November 11, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  10. Tony


    I guess the natural reaction to being gut kicked by your opponent is revenge. I think there is enough public anger against the lack of will amongst Republicans to just do the right thing for AMERICA and equally against the Democrats to just get something done that any warm body with common sense and a love for this country has a shot in 2010.

    Hell I may run. Then at least I would have the best health care the government can offer. Just ask a Senator or a House Rep. Oh wait that's socialism.

    November 11, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  11. Mike, formerly from Syracuse

    So let's see, which party has the most seats to defend? Hmmm, tough one, is it the Dumocrats?

    November 11, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  12. aliou

    The only reason a democrat would not be reelected at any position is if they do not pass a strong public option.

    Republicans know they are fried and for a long time.

    November 11, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  13. Independent Bob

    It is time for voters to re-establish their rightful place as the ultimate power in this country. We need to ensure our elected officials appreciate that fact in 2010. For too long they have gotten comfortable and more insolated and isolated from us. Political careerism and incumbency re-election rates has given rise to a lack of accountability.

    The perpetual campaign cycle has led our elected officials to make policy decisions based on political considerations – what decision pays the most political dividends. Decisions that are not necessarily the best or most principled ones.

    The Constitution established a system of frequent elections to allow voters to be the ultimate power. Let's find and elect candidates that will re-establish the tradition of the voluntary quit, candidates that will impose term limits on themselves. By doing so we can elect candidates whose policy decisions will not be driven by the need to gain political advantage or capital. If our elected officials were not in a perpetual campaign cycle we would actually get better policy decisions.

    November 11, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  14. Glen Wilson

    I am only surprised that the support for incumbents is not lower. Regardless of party affiliation, our elected leaders have a collective record of failure. Failure to regulate the financial markets, failure to control spending and debt, failure to acknowledge and act on the financial crisis in government. The list could go on and on.

    It is time for new leaders and maybe even a new political party.

    November 11, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  15. IVOTE

    Look out everyone...Lou Dobbs just quit his job. He will let us know when he joins the tea baggers.

    November 11, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  16. DJ in the Silicon Forest

    Is this poll a trick question? What a joke! Of course we the people are all hacked off! I'm sick and tired of these exalted, pompous do-nothings DOING NOTHING except running this country into the ground and taxing us to death in the process! As someone who has NEVER missed any election (big or small) in 31 years, I can't wait to vote out all the incumbents in my district/state on Nov 2, 2010! Hopefully Sen. Murray will be shown the door FOR GOOD!!

    November 11, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  17. Perusing-through


    Vote out the Republicans and all will be okay. With the Republicans out, there will be no more fights and the "thinking & true compassionate people" will lead.

    November 11, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  18. ThinkAgain

    People need to start THINKING! Not all incumbents are bad – some actually become more effective as they gain experience.

    Our country also need to grow the heck up and stop being so impatient with everything! We also need to start using our heads – it's unbelievable how many people accept what they hear without checking out the facts for themselves.

    THAT'S the problem with our electorate! We're getting lazy, folks – as evidenced by all the people who listen to Fox, Limbaugh and others who are proven liars and yet still have an audience.

    November 11, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  19. Real TN Christian

    Sixteen years of winter, G.O.Goobers!!!!!

    November 11, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  20. Jennifer W

    I SAY FLIP THAT HOUSE NEXT YEAR!! These politicians forget who they really work for, US! Maybe they'll think twice about who's buying their votes and remember that if they dont vote the way the constituents who put them in office want them to, they'll be among the many unemployed!! Tea Party Express here we come next year!!

    November 11, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  21. lila

    Getting a good health care bill passed will help put blood back into the democratic party. After that Obama/congress need to put serious regulations on banks. Really. I can't stress the need for that enough. I understand the economy and job growth.. ect ect ect... but the White House and congress now look like they are in the Bank lobby pocket and it will hurt them very badly come election time if that image is not fixed fast. What ever bubble they are living in, that message has to be received by them if they want to hold on to the house.

    November 11, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  22. Unemployed In Iowa because of Obama

    Vote all the bums out and impeach obama.

    November 11, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  23. jerry

    It is time for a new Congress. Every voter should not vote for an incumbent, Democratic or Republican. For eight years the Republicans had a chance to reduce the budget but continued spending and putting the pork out and now the Democrats have done more in less than two years to do the same thing.
    We need 535 new members of Congress and send a message to quit spending money where there is none and get rid of the pork.

    November 11, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  24. P.G

    Maybe in theory your article may be correct. But, where's the viable candidate? Pawlenty? Jindal? Palin? ......pffffft.
    Sorry, but the majority is still sick of christian fundamentalism, trickle down economics, and global warming denial.

    November 11, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  25. Jim in New Mexico

    Maybe it's real Americans getting energized and not Democrats or Republicans who have both sold America down the river.

    November 11, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
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