June 8th, 2010
09:19 AM ET
12 years ago

Poll: Voters give Congress thumbs down


A new national poll suggests that Americans' support for their member of Congress is at an all time low. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images/File)

Washington (CNN) - As voters in 12 states cast ballots today, a new national poll suggests that Americans' support for their member of Congress is at an all time low.

According to an ABC News/Washington Post survey released Tuesday, only 29 percent of the public says they are inclined to vote for their member of the House of Representatives in November's midterm elections. That level is even lower than in 1994, when voters swept the Democrats out of power in both the House and Senate.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted late last month also indicated that this is shaping up to be an anti-incumbent year. Forty-seven percent of registered voters questioned in the survey said they were more likely to vote for a challenger than an incumbent, with only three in ten saying they'd back the incumbent.

The ABC News/Washington Post poll indicates that 26 percent approve of the job Congress is doing, with more than seven in ten saying they disapprove of how federal lawmakers are performing. Congressional approval stood at 34 percent in June of 1994, and at 33 percent in May of 2006, the year that Democrats won back control of the House and the Senate from the GOP.

The anti-incumbent sentiment hurts Democrats more than Republicans, since there are more Democratic than Republican lawmakers fighting for re-election this year. But the survey does have a silver lining for the Democrats: They have a double-digit advantage over the GOP as the party that people trust to deal with the country's major problems. And six in ten people questioned say they have a negative view of the polices pushed by Congressional Republicans.

The ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted June 3-6, with 1,005 national adults questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

Filed under: 2010 • Congress • Poll
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. phoenix86

    Remember voters, the country was doing fine until Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid took over the House and Senate in 2006. Look at the charts and history and you will see it.

    Vote democrat or re-elect your democrat and keep Nancy and Harry running the US to the ground.

    June 8, 2010 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  2. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    It's not necessarily the people sitting in Congress, it's the system that doesn't work.... too much time is wasted on endless debate, filibustering, ridiculous rules that allow one person to hold up legislation or appointments, and votes other than simple majorities to enact.....

    June 8, 2010 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  3. Chipster

    It does seem as if everyone these days wants to be angry about practically everything. I wouldn't want to be a public servant because the public is ungrateful. Now that the Internet is available, people almost feed on each others anger and fear. Add to that all the misleading and false information that an angry and lazy public is willing to accept as fact, without question, and you've got a public national breakdown. People will believe the most outrageous things if it feeds their anger.

    The media is watching their ratings and laughing all the way to the bank!

    June 8, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  4. gt

    the 29 % must be there employess and familty members...

    June 8, 2010 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  5. haren

    I don't know what this voters who are polled think but this congress achieved more than any other congress to help middle class.
    They should take separate poll for senate, Congress, republican and democrats.
    I am sure in poll congress and democrats will do better than senate and republicans.
    Nancy pelosi achieved more than any other speakers.

    June 8, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Is it any wonder that approval ratings for Congress are at an all-time low? You have one side of the aisle, {R}, sitting around doing nothing but collecting a paycheck FRAUDULENTLY. The right wing has offered NO solutions, AND blocks ANY SOLUTIONS OFFERED!?!

    The Left wing just sits there.......every once in a while they show signs of gumption, purpose, and life.....but not often enough to justify the office space they occupy.

    Between the two of them they are working my President into the ground.

    June 8, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  7. Angus McDugan

    No surprise here except that people keep electing the same people to office over and over again. Maybe we should stop complaining unless we have the guts as Americans to put the right people in Congress. We the American people are so easily lead around by the nose. We believe anything that we hear and have given up our right to form an idea of our own.

    People, you have a brain and I grant you the right to use it.

    June 8, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  8. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    I do not care who is going to step up to the plate and begin to bring our government back to representing the people.
    As long as those who have failed in the past do not get re-elected again. The performance of those who have been in congress over the last forty years is a disgrace and not one incumbent should be re-elected it doesn't matter if they are liberal or conservative, democrat or republican, there has been too much representation of the party first followed by the representation of the too big to fail business and their armies of lobbyists.
    This fall in Nov. 2010 send a message to Washington and Fire those who brought this country down in 2006,2007,2008, 2009 and now the first half of 2010.
    Tell Congress "You ARE Fired!"

    June 8, 2010 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  9. Sniffit

    Not suprising. GOPercons hate the current Congress because they don't own it. Dems and liberals hate Congress because the Dems are a bunch of spineless capitulators who aim low and then concede even more without even putting up an effective fight against the lying, misinformation and rhetorical diarrhea spewed by the GOPercons. Pretty simple. I'm still waiting for the day we finally elect a liberal with real ballz instead of one of these simpering p-ssyfooters...one who shouts the facts loudly, carries a big stick and isn't afraid to knock some heads together to get what he wants. Let's see how the pantwetting GOPers like that.

    June 8, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  10. thor

    Anytime Congressmen don't listen to the people they are supposed to represent and vote against what the majority want they are going to be in trouble.You can bribe only so many voters before the money starts to run out.

    June 8, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  11. alicia

    Get rid of ALL of them!

    These people are NOT working in the interest of the American taxpayer!

    All they are doing is spending more and more and getting this country deeper into debt!

    I've casting my vote against every incumbent I can!

    June 8, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  12. Four and The Door

    American voters have seen the administration and Democratic congress enact completely partisan legislation such as the stimulus bill, auto company bailouts, financial company bailouts, and a hugely expensive health insurance bill, but very little of it has worked and we are in a worse position going forward because of the huge government debt than we would have been with none of this activity. Yes, we remember this stuff and yes, this is what we are fixing at the polls.

    June 8, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  13. Goofs in Office

    The leadership of this congress is apalling. Arrogance, inept thinking processes, bullheadedness and the inability to grasp even the smallest concept of simple economics is laughable. All they seem to be worried about is pushing through their idiotic agenda, no matter if it breaks the country or not.Just goes to show it does not take a lot of gray matter to be a politician.

    June 8, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  14. Dave

    How can a poll of 1,005 adults reflect anything like a realistic sample of American adults? Where do these 1,005 people live? Are they all city-dwellers? All in a particular region? All of them obviously are willing participants in a telephonic poll, which automatically puts them into a unique category. How many phone calls did it take to get 1,005 respondents willing to participate? I'm betting it was at least twice as many calls as respondents, unless you called people who have responded previously, which again introduces bias.

    Bottom line, these polls are meaningless, and the media should stop using them as headlines.

    June 8, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  15. Moby

    A lot of new faces would be a good start. Terms limits is a must. We were never set up for people to make Congresss their entire career and those that have stayed over 10 years generally have not served us well. The purpose is to serve and go back home.

    June 8, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  16. all time low

    they are actually getting a lot done, DESPITE the GOPers

    I hope the public remembers the GOP inaction when voting time comes

    their lack of values, ideas and their determination to make what ever is suggested fail, regardless of what it is before they even see it, simply because it didn't come from them

    they are the boy with hurt feelings that says 'if you don't do it my way I'm taking my football and going home, so NAH!!!'

    absolutely what brought the country to its knees and delayed any chance of recovery for a bit, but it is beginning to get better DESPITE the GOP

    June 8, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  17. Jeff

    These polls are pointless. When was the last time that the Congress had a positive rating? Never.

    June 8, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |