Poll: Majority of Americans feel their representative is part of the problem
August 5th, 2014
09:14 AM ET
5 months ago

Poll: Majority of Americans feel their representative is part of the problem

Washington (CNN) - Note to Congress: Your constituents are turning on you.

For the first time, a majority of Americans said they disapproved of their representative and thought they were part of the problem in Washington, according to a Washington Post-ABC poll out Tuesday. The poll found that 51% of Americans disapprove of the way their own member of Congress is handling his or her job, while 41% approve.

For decades, most Americans approved of the way their member of Congress was handling his or her job, but disapproved of the legislative body as a whole.

The idea: Congress is broken, but my representative isn't part of the problem.

A 2013 Gallup poll that found despite only 16% of Americans approving of the job Congress was doing, 46% of Americans approved of their representative's job performance.

That sentiment has long helped incumbents stay in office despite record low approval ratings for Congress. In 2012, for example, 90% of House incumbents were reelected despite congressional approval ratings falling to 10% that year, according to Gallup.

But Tuesday's numbers – and other recent polls – show that sentiment is changing.

A Pew poll from earlier this year found that 40% approved of their own member of Congress, while 47% disapproved. And in 2013, a similar Pew poll found that 38% wanted their own representative to lose his or her job in the 2014 elections.

And in June 2014, a NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll found that 57% of registered voters did not think their congressperson deserves reelection. Thirty-two percent said their member deserved reelection.

- CNN's Paul Steinhauser and Keating Holland contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2014 • Congress • Polls
soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. Dead Bear

    I'm completely dissatisfied with mine. And I can't do anything about it because he's running unopposed. Probably because the last time they re-drew the district they included areas that will reliably vote GOP. Oh well. I'll write myself in before I vote for a Republican.

    August 5, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  2. Sniffit

    "We do not have a leader that is interested in uniting"

    Yawn. When half the country refuses to be united at any cost because they don't like that leader and swore to destroy him from the get-go because he had the audacity to win the election in the first place, it's generally not an efficient or effective use of his time to bother trying once it become clear that they are 100% entrenched and intractable. Of course, Obama kept trying for longer than most of us think was necessary or even worthwhile, but that was partly to give you guys the opportunity to provide all that much more evidence of your recalcitrance and outright refusal to negotiate or compromise about anything. I know it's hard for you living in the bubble or RWNJ fairy tales and tinfoil hatted refusal to accept reality, but the fact is everyone saw what happened beginning in November 2008, everyone's watched your behavior and radicalization for the past 6 years, we're not fooled by your constant screaming of facts contrary to the reality we all witnessed and live in and you have, despite all your denial, only managed to do immense damage to the GOP/Teatrolls and conservative movement for the foreseeable future. The electoral law changes, voter suppression, and all the rest are nothing but temporary "fixes" for you and they have a short shelf life, so enjoy misinterpreting election results while you can.

    August 5, 2014 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  3. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Another useless poll. Thanks to the SC, they will continue to be reelected and do their masters bidding. They could be polling 98% disapprove and they'll still be reelected. Money talks.... Loudly.

    August 5, 2014 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  4. Chipster

    @Rick McDaniel
    Boehner hasn't wasted time bringing dozens of DOA bills to the floor. The GOP/TP have a nasty habit of slipping items into nearly every bill that they know will ensure it will either not pass the Senate or get vetoed by the President. The GOP/TP, however, seems to delight in wasting time and money on foolishness. Their recent dog and pony show was a lawsuit against the President for using Executive Orders, something GWB and many previous presidents did far more frequently. Waste of time, waste of money.....GOP = waste of space.

    August 5, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  5. rs

    Rick McDaniel

    That is political nonsense.

    The Congress is not working, because of 2 people........Harry Reid, and Obama, who together, are succeeding in shutting down the Congress completely. The House has sent the Senate, over 300 bills, none of which have been brought to the Senate floor for discussion. They have all been trash canned, by Reid, under orders from Obama.

    Until Reid is removed from leadership, nothing will change. Absolutely nothing. He has given control of Congress, to Obama, who simply uses it for his political whipping boy.
    ________________________________

    Hey Rick- How about McConnell? 541 filibusters, 37 ambassadors- on hold- you think THAT's progress?
    What about "no votes" Boehner?

    August 5, 2014 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  6. rs

    Fair is Fair

    "The poll found that 51% of Americans disapprove of the way their own member of Congress is handling his or her job, while 41% approve."
    ---
    Which flies in the face of the fact that at least 95% of them will be re-elected. Stupid voters get what you deserve.
    ________________
    And stupid parties running stupid candidates. Think about it- we tend to vote for the lesser of two evils.

    August 5, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  7. it must be said

    MaryM
    Nope, my Congress women Knows how to compromise, She is Nancy Pelosi And she is the person told Democrats to "embrace the suck part of the Budget" that means compromise to get the job done.
    You TP republicans have No idea what the word compromise means!
    --

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!! Talk about DELUSIONAL!!! The same lunatic Nancy Pelosi that jammed Obamacare down our throats without a single Republican vote and told us they had to pass it before we could see what was in it? THAT "compromising" Pelosi??? The one that was then thrown out of the speakership by the American people as a result of her insanity??? Seek help for your delusion problem, reality is slipping away fast on you.

    August 5, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  8. Minnie Mouse

    It can't all be blamed on Congress. We several groups of people who just don't want to cooperate, don't want to compromise, people who can't meet deadlines and a president who's always off on a campaign events when he's already an elected official. We have no leadership. If we had better leadership then things would be getting done by means of compromising during the little times that congress is even in session.

    August 5, 2014 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  9. Sniffit

    "The one that was then thrown out of the speakership by the American people as a result of her insanity???"

    The one that was then thrown out of the speakership by the American people as a result of GOP/Teatroll gerrymandering creating a situation where the Dems could get 1.3 Million more votes than GOP/Teatroll candidates, but the GOP/Teatrolls could still win a majority in the House.

    FIFY

    August 5, 2014 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  10. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Sniffit says:
    August 5, 2014 11:21 am at 11:21 am
    “We do not have a leader that is interested in uniting”

    Yawn. When half the country refuses to be united at any cost because they don’t like that leader and swore to destroy him from the get-go because he had the audacity to win the election in the first place, it’s generally not an efficient or effective use of his time to bother trying once it become clear that they are 100% entrenched and intractable. Of course, Obama kept trying for longer than most of us think was necessary or even worthwhile, but that was partly to give you guys the opportunity to provide all that much more evidence of your recalcitrance and outright refusal to negotiate or compromise about anything. I know it’s hard for you living in the bubble or RWNJ fairy tales and tinfoil hatted refusal to accept reality, but the fact is everyone saw what happened beginning in November 2008, everyone’s watched your behavior and radicalization for the past 6 years, we’re not fooled by your constant screaming of facts contrary to the reality we all witnessed and live in and you have, despite all your denial, only managed to do immense damage to the GOP/Teatrolls and conservative movement for the foreseeable future. The electoral law changes, voter suppression, and all the rest are nothing but temporary “fixes” for you and they have a short shelf life, so enjoy misinterpreting election results while you can.

    As usual very well said!!!👏👏👏👏

    August 5, 2014 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  11. old age voter

    “Majority of Americans feel their representative is part of the problem”

    Term limits would fix that problem and while we are at it we can eliminate their lucrative pensions; cadillac health care plans; all the paid vacations and trips abroad on our money they give themselves. Eliminate the entire Senate as it is and move it back to the body the founders of this country started it as; a body that polices the legislation to ensure the legislation follows the Constitution.

    August 5, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  12. sonny chapman

    Question: Do voters disapprove because they feel their C'Men are TOO or LESS prone to Compromise ?

    August 5, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  13. it must be said

    Sniffit
    -–
    "The one that was then thrown out of the speakership by the American people as a result of her insanity???"
    -–
    The one that was then thrown out of the speakership by the American people as a result of GOP/Teatroll gerrymandering creating a situation where the Dems could get 1.3 Million more votes than GOP/Teatroll candidates, but the GOP/Teatrolls could still win a majority in the House.
    --
    FIFY
    --

    Always, always, always making excuses, spewing lies and denying reality. It is the lefty way. You know how elections work. The fact is most of our country's districts are not leftist Democrat friendly. Winning only urban areas makes the Democrats not very representative of the entire country.

    I wonder, what are you going to blame the coming slaughter in November on? You know it is because of Obama's massive Obamacare lies and his disastrous, failed administration. But I am just curious what canned lies and excuses you have at the ready? I need a good laugh.

    August 5, 2014 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  14. vikingwoman

    Yep, my reps are John Cornyn & Ted Cruz! They don't care about my elderly mother & support Citizens United! They often talk about 'serving' the people of their state, they mean their base, who agree w/everything they say & do! Many in their base are poor, elderly who vote against their self interest! Most are rich, who know what it takes to keep 'their man' on the inside track! Term Limits: the only answer to this dilemma!!

    August 5, 2014 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    Gunderson

    Aw, So, How quickly we forget.
    The democrats had the congress for 40 years.
    -------------------------
    How desperately conservatives try to re-write history. Over the last 20 years since 1995, Republicans have controlled the House for all but 4 years, from 2007 to 2011. Republicans controlled the Senate for 10 of the 12 years between 1995 and 2007, which was when Democrats won the majority. The year 2007 also happens to be the year when the Great Recession began.

    August 5, 2014 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  16. The Real Tom Paine

    @Rudy NYC, Gundy also forgot to mention the number of times during those 40 years the Democrats ran the house that the GOP had control of the Senate numerous times. Like you said, how quickly they forget and try to rewrite history.

    August 5, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  17. Dumbas[R]ocks

    It must be acknowledged that there is little but utter hypocrisy and stupidity on constant display by the rightwingers that mindlessly post on these threads.

    For example, take this hypocrisy : "Always, always, always making excuses, spewing lies and denying reality. It is the lefty way."

    Yet the latest public displays of that malady are purely [R].....let's take the nonsensical [R] "polls" leading up to the 2012 election that left Rove massaging his rectum with his thumb in public on FoxNews.

    Or likewise, how about the endless nonsensical spews about Benghazi!! this, Benghazi!! that, and by god Benghazi!! everything no matter what the subject at hand was.....this constant, baseless, deflectionary harangue is now foiled BY THEIR OWN House committee that had to admit there was NO EVIDENCE OF ANY WRONGDOING by the administration concerning Benghazi.

    No matter what the subject, when these [R] monkeys run out of their own excrement to throw, you can count on them to blame others for excrement throwing.

    It seems HYPOCRISY is the normal state of [R] consciousness.

    August 5, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  18. Dumbas[R]ocks

    Voting for a [R] today would be like a German voting for a Nazi in 1934........sentient people can already see the writing on the wall.....why expose yourself to such embarrassment and your country to such known FAILURE?

    August 5, 2014 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. luke, AZ

    Do Nothing Republicans particularly tea party republicans are the problem with the dysfunction in congress. President Obama is doing an outstanding job for our nation, why can't the republican led house stop obstructing our nation's progress. When will moderate Republicans kick out the tea party. If the tea party had any guts they would start their own party.

    August 5, 2014 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    "Always, always, always making excuses, spewing lies and denying reality. It is the lefty way. You know how elections work. The fact is most of our country's districts are not leftist Democrat friendly. Winning only urban areas makes the Democrats not very representative of the entire country."
    ------------------------------–
    So what you're saying is that most of the country's districts are conservative, but were not gerrymandered? You're saying that winning only urban areas is not representative of the country, but winning all of the nun-urban areas IS representative of the country?

    Republicans running the Congress are a proven danger to our economy. They had control of the House and the Senate for the entire decade leading up to the onset of the Great Depression. Did I mention that there had been a Republican camped out in the White House, too?

    Except for two glitch in the House from 2001 to 2003, Republicans had control of the House and the Senate for the decade leading up to the Great Recession. Did I mention that once again there had been a Republican camped out in the White House?

    Republicans are not the party of fiscal responsibility. It's just a smoke screen to tilt the playing field in favor of big money, which wipes out the little guys like you and me. It's unfortunate that so many of the "issues" voters cannot see that.

    August 5, 2014 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    "Always, always, always making excuses, spewing lies and denying reality. It is the lefty way. You know how elections work. The fact is most of our country's districts are not leftist Democrat friendly. Winning only urban areas makes the Democrats not very representative of the entire country."

    Moronic. You claimed the election spoke with the voice of the American people. I cited facts showing it quite plainly did not, because the majority of the votes were cast for Dems. Republicans deliberately gerrymandering districts to collect all the Dem voters in just a few districts and leave themselves the rest of the state is precisely why the majority's will was not represented. Not by a longshot. And yet you want to claim that it spoke the will of the American people despite it being the voice of the minority of voters that won? You're so full of ish that it peaks out the back of your throat when you open your mouth. Besides, stay on point...whether elections involve gerrymandering or not is not the point. You claimed it spoke for the American people as if it was the majority...it wasn't...and all that matters in that respect is the fact that gerrymandering allowed the minority to overrule the majority, not whether it was permissible.

    And BTW, check out FL which now has to fix its districts...or all the TX lawsuits finding their redistricting was all race-based and designed to screw minorities...you want to talk about gerrymandering just being fine and dandy, well, I've got facts that beg to differ.

    August 5, 2014 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    The Real Tom Paine

    @Rudy NYC, Gundy also forgot to mention the number of times during those 40 years the Democrats ran the house that the GOP had control of the Senate numerous times. Like you said, how quickly they forget and try to rewrite history.
    ---------------------------
    There's an excellent chart at Wikipedia. It shows party control of each chamber, side by side. "United States Senate"

    August 5, 2014 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    "I wonder, what are you going to blame the coming slaughter in November on? You know it is because of Obama's massive Obamacare lies and his disastrous, failed administration. But I am just curious what canned lies and excuses you have at the ready? I need a good laugh."

    No lies. It will be the usual result of low Dem turnout in a mid-term if anything goes horribly wrong. You said and predicted all the same nonsense for 2012 and, because it was a POTUS election year, you were proven horribly wrong...Obama won, Dems maintained the Senate and the GOP even lost a few of its majority seats in the House. To the extent we see a predictable GOP advantage this year, it's primarily a result of turnout expectations and your constant, delusional efforts to attribute it to the entire country adopting your tinfoil hatted Faux news alternate reality are just pathetic confirmation bias. Besides, aren't you going to light your hair on fire and run around screaming "voter fraud" if your predictions don't come true...again? Don't talk to me about excuses. I just gave you reasons. Imaginary voter fraud and wild imagings of illegals voting en masse are "excuses.'

    August 5, 2014 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  24. salty dog

    Must be said, Eric Cantor was your 3a.m. call, care to answer? It's painfully obvious, you have to scrap the bottom for more votes, you will never get the mature, intelligent vote, there is simply no logical reason for the working class, and less fortunate to vote for Republicans. You know that only 20-30%, are Republicans, enjoy the slaughter this year, and skip the autopsy, we know your problem.

    August 5, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Minnie Mouse

    It can't all be blamed on Congress. We several groups of people who just don't want to cooperate, don't want to compromise, people who can't meet deadlines and a president who's always off on a campaign events when he's already an elected official. We have no leadership. If we had better leadership then things would be getting done by means of compromising during the little times that congress is even in session.
    ---------------------------------–
    One of the president's main duties is to sign bills into law. Since the arrival of the "Tax Evading Americans" Party back in 2011, not a whole lot has been coming his way. If we had better Republican leadership in the House, a Speaker with some backbone, then we wouldn't let a group of 30-40, mostly freshman, representatives call all of the shots.

    August 5, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
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