November 11th, 2009
05:57 PM ET
4 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. Bill

    Well as a lifelong Republican I don't plan
    on voting for one.
    They just got us into this BIG MESS!!!
    And it may take a genie to get us out.
    A US Navy Vet

    November 11, 2009 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  2. Ant

    Oh yeah? And just what are they all so pumped-up about? Palin? Boehner? Bachman...who, by the way, was lionized in a recent CNN article as displaying a bracing lack of equivocation on moral issues. Great, a pack of extremist liars with their heels dug in. What an ideal alternative they offer America. Hey, thoughtful leadership goes too slow for us, so let's try anarchy.

    November 11, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  3. Chris

    Wow, I guess the American public has short term memory: we seem to have forgotten how, for the last 8 years, the Republicans mucked things up for us.

    November 11, 2009 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  4. John G

    Hey this is what happens when you don't back your promises up with anything of note.

    This President and Congress are squandering a golden opportunity to pass legislation that they feel will strengthen this nation by playing partisan games and worrying more about public image than they do about doing their jobs.

    They lose credibility every time they pass something along party lines in spite of their promises to work across the aisle.

    They lose credibility every time they suggest using an underhanded tactic like reconciliation to pass health care ( and yes reconciliation is underhanded when Republicans do it too).

    They lose credibility when they spend days slapping Joe Wilson on the wrist for speaking his mind but go on vacation in stead of debating health care.

    It is not surprising that nobody wants these clowns in office anymore.

    November 11, 2009 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  5. Olu Ola

    CNN please come off this republican failed poll.The Grand Old Party pushed the nation to a halt for 8 years and we are still grappling with that.
    These polls are unreasonable.

    November 11, 2009 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  6. Tom in VA

    The GOP takes 2 governorships in 2 states that have a LONG history of swapping parties for governor....

    ... Yet they LOSE a House seat that have been republican for a HUNDRED years...

    .Oh yeah...the GOP is back alright.

    Please.

    November 11, 2009 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  7. Tony T

    Term Limits are the only way to stop these lobbyists and special interests. The age of some of these represnetatives makes them so out of touch with the real world. If people aren't smart enough to vote them out, with they aren't obviously, TERM LIMITS IS A MUST. But the same people who need to pass it would be affected. I applaud the GOP for bringing it up. If the president has a term limit, never understood why these stuffed shirts get to stay as long as people are acting like sheep.

    November 11, 2009 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  8. fortydammer

    My My My, how short our memories are! It will take decades to undue the damage inflicted on this country by Bush. He left us in two wars, economy unlike anything seen since the great depression, and the entire world hating us. Palin, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and the Antichrist Rush Limbaugh have solidified this countries hatred. These talk show folks are the new terrorist in our country.

    November 11, 2009 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  9. tenjets

    Folks need to remember the state the country degraded to by only three sessions of republican majorities before they start clammoring to throw out to democrats.

    November 11, 2009 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  10. Paul H

    I'm as sick as anyone is with our so called Representatives. I can't stand the political agenda this administration would like to take us in.
    But the Republicans still haven't proved they will stand up for the people either.
    We need to really find the politicians that will really work for the people, and our constitution, protect our borders, stand up to our enemies.
    This needs to be about real working politicians, and less about the two party system we have let our country lull itself into.

    November 11, 2009 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  11. jay in denver

    Ooooh, big worries! (NOT!) The lowest re-election rates for House incumbents in the last 10 years was 94 percent. For the Senate it goes all the way down to 79 percent.

    Nobody in their right mind would think that the American public will send Democrats packing wholesale in '10 and go back to the ineptitude of the last eight years. Just won't happen. Especially as the far-right faction of the GOP tries to teabag its own party in the interests of ideological purity.

    Pundits are forgetting that the largest voting bloc in American history just registered last year. If they exercise and eat their veggies, this group will be voting against the failed policies of George W. Bush for the next 60 years. Buh-bye, GOP.

    November 11, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  12. Jube

    OMG! I HOPE the Republicans don't control congress!

    November 11, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  13. Dennis

    I feel like nobody in Congress 'gets it'...and I say we wake the slugs up by voting out EVERY incumbent, period! Their benefits & salary increase while the rest of us are suffering out here...but the most important thing we need to get through to the new legislators we elect is to change the culture of thinking that allows the United States to be for sale to the richest & most 'generous' lobbyist. People don't try to get elected because the pay is so good...its all the 'perks' they recieve from special interests that is the big draw. Why don't we have citizens serve in Congress like they do in the Armed Forces? That way there isn't time to form 'good 'ol boy' networks that hurt the rest of us. Crazy? Yeah...maybe crazy enough to work! The way it is now is a mess!

    November 11, 2009 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  14. Dave

    The more the Dems push a left wing agenda; the quicker they will be out side looking in. Can't wait for election day 2010.

    November 11, 2009 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  15. Bpin

    My take, and I voted for BHO. BHO came to us with great promise. He talked about change and being different. I am not affiliated with any political party, but I try to vote for the best that I see, and he was the best. Since taking office, BHO has failed me. He has not lived up to a single promise that he made, and he is now waffeling on some of them. Right now, he in no way reflects any type of change. I did not vote for GWB and he is the worst President in history. BHO, unlike he Promised, is no better than GWB and as a matter of fact he is worse. People are not stupid. The leader of them DC is BHO, and he is far from the leader he promised to be. So, you have what you have.

    November 11, 2009 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  16. valwayne

    Democrats have controlled Congress for 3 years and the entire Government for almost a year. What do we have to show for it? 10.2% UNEMPLOYMENT! More corrupt spending, debt, and printed money than in the history of the world. And are they working on fixing any of it? NO! Their priority isn't jobs or getting spending under control its the largest most massive increase in spending in U.S. history with the complete takeover of our healthcare system. A program they may bankrupt the nation and the costs and taxes will kill millions more jobs! And while domestic policy is a disaster foreign policy is even worse. We hear every day that the Iranians have hidden a vast nuclear program and may have a nuclear arsenal in 2010. One they can share with terrorists and Hugo Chavez. What we are seeing is the corruption of power. If we don't restore balance in our Government in 2010 we may not recover for generations!

    November 11, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  17. chenna_benna

    I don't think it is an anti-incumbent sentiment. I think that it is more of an anti-do-nothing sentiment. During this recession, the American people want to see that their elected officials are getting things done that will directly help the average American. Americans want to see action out of Washington right now, but they feel that those in office, both Dems and Repubs, are really getting things done or moving fast enough. Repubs and Dems will claim victory in 2010 based on whether or not their constituents feel that their elected officials are working hard for them.

    November 11, 2009 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  18. Chris

    Back and forth, back and forth.

    November 11, 2009 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  19. zuq

    Stop it. We don't care about these cheesy local elections. The mayors have no power.

    November 11, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  20. Danny J

    This is a good thing, when you have 2 branches, and the majority of Americans fall in the middle, its best to have two different parties control them.

    November 11, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  21. Red Ted

    As a Republican this is good news but not for the reasons one may think – I hope that Democrats see the writing on the wall and actually try to change things for the good of the country. But if they fail to, then at least we have a chance to vote them out in less than a year now.

    November 11, 2009 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  22. Corey

    Yes please vote republican. So they can finish wrecking the country. If you think our government is in deadlock now wait and put those bums back in control.

    Nothing matters, people blame Obama for everything. The stuff I hear is so disrespectful it's sad. Obama descreated the tomb of the unknowns, Obama should have apologized to the soldiers at Ft Hood for a fellow muslim for shooting them. These people need to get a grip on reality first then think about governing our country.

    I for one can not wait for next CEO President. Just warn me so I can protect my assets this time.

    November 11, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  23. Lon, Richland, Wa

    i see voters are starting to wake up!!

    November 11, 2009 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  24. Life Long Democrat

    Democrats deserve it, once again they have squandered their opportunity. Do your job or get fired. Have fun looking for work in this economy, maybe that will be the lesson you needed to learn. What a joke.

    November 11, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  25. Reaganomics Leads To Feudalism

    Yeah...yeah...yeah...Go ahead...

    Put the right-wing extremists back in power. You think that things are a mess now?

    Just wait until we have a congressional majority who absolutely hate, despise, and detest our President so much that they will make his impeachment and removal from office their NUMBER ONE priority.

    For the "good of the country" of course...

    (Even if they have to FABRICATE an excuse to do it.)

    November 11, 2009 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
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