Poll: Anti-incumbent feelings at all time high
March 4th, 2014
09:38 AM ET
9 years ago

Poll: Anti-incumbent feelings at all time high

Washington (CNN) - Eight months to the day before Election Day 2014, anti-incumbent sentiments are at a record high, according to a new national poll.

And an ABC News/Washington Post survey also indicates that with control of the U.S. Senate up for grabs this November, Republicans have a slight advantage over Democrats in the states holding Senate elections.

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Just 22% of those questioned in the poll say they're "inclined to vote to re-elect" their representative in the U.S. House. That's down five percentage points from January, and it's the lowest level in the quarter century ABC News/Washington Post surveys have asked that question. Sixty-eight percent say they're "inclined to look around for someone else to vote for"– an all-time high.

The survey, released Tuesday, suggests that those with anti-incumbent feelings favor the Republican candidate in their congressional district by eight points, while pro-incumbents support the Democratic candidate by a 14 point margin.

Democrats need to pick up 17 GOP-held House seats to win back control of the Republican-led chamber, a feat political handicappers say is unlikely considering the shrinking number of competitive congressional districts.

In the battle for the Senate, the poll indicates the GOP has a 50%-42% advantage over Democrats in the 34 states holding contests this November.

Democrats hold a 55-45 majority in the Senate (53 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party), but are defending 21 of the 36 seats up in November, with half of those Democratic-held seats in red or purple states.

The ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted Feb. 27-March 2, with 1,002 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Filed under: 2014 • Congress • House • House of Representatives • Senate
soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. tom l

    @The Real TP,
    "I can't speak for Democrats, but it would seem the GOP preference is for the most extreme whack-job flat earther they can find. Nice recipe for bringing the country together."
    With all due respect, since you have little to no understanding of conservatives I'm not sure you should be speaking for them either. You clearly don't know what is important to them and you are calling them whack jobs so how would you be able to understand them?

    March 4, 2014 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  2. Lizzie

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion?
    A lot went to government workers who got payed for staying home, remember that.

    March 4, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  3. Sarah Palin and Ted Nugent same old mongrels

    Americans really do have short term memory. Why would anyone want to vote for a WHITE, OLD, RICH PARTY?
    A party that constantly putting in policies against women, favours the rich, hates black people, have no RESPECT for the minority, and will NEVER DO IMMIGRATION REFORM AS THEY HATE IMMIGRANTS? Can anyone answer these questions? Wake up America

    March 4, 2014 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  4. Pat

    I just can't understand why people continue to vote against their own interest.
    That's exactly what you do when you vote republican.
    The South is good for that.

    March 4, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  5. just saying

    In the battle for the Senate, the poll indicates the GOP has a 50%-42% advantage over Democrats in the 34 states holding contests this November.
    How soon we forget....

    we haven't forgotten obamacare and the far left agenda of the democrat party. controlled all or most of the federla government for 7 years now going on 8. gave us a huge recession, obamacare, no jobs and a stagnant economy. the american people are sick and tired of all the demorcat failure, lies and finger pointing. obama's failure to lead this country needs to be corrected with mature republican leadership in the congress.

    March 4, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  6. yolanda

    @Frank and @Rudy, I totally agree. Please add to the list the urgent need to curb the lobbying power of ALL interest groups.

    March 4, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  7. yolanda

    And @Tampa, it's so nice to see that you continue to add thoughtful comments.....

    March 4, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  8. Pander Bear

    Sure, right. And then when they get a look at the challengers, it will be the same result. It's always "your" Senator/Congressperson who's the problem, not mine.

    March 4, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  9. Steve, New York City

    Hard to see any "change" making a difference in Washington - it's just going to be more dysfunctional than ever, with the main members of BOTH parties simply taking their cues from their lobbyist overseers.

    Washington is a pitiful joke!

    March 4, 2014 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  10. Smitty

    Its clear Obammy is more flexible after the election. Putin just bent him over !!! LOL

    March 4, 2014 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  11. wendel

    if repos take the senate we will really have a disaster on our hands . Two more years of doing nothing. What a waste of tax payers money

    March 4, 2014 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  12. bcrunner

    I am definitely not voting for anyone who voted for the shutdown. My congressman did. Didn't vote for him the last time, I am not voting for him again...

    March 4, 2014 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  13. Tampa Tim

    I am not sure the Koch brothers have enough money to buy the republicans the senate.

    March 4, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  14. Malory Archer


    Linda/MN, and yet you complain about anything and everyone, call those who don't agree with you names...


    Lizzy, I've been around long enough and read enough of your posts to advise you that people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

    March 4, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  15. The Real Tom Paine

    tom l, with regards to my characterization of the trend in the GOP to go further and further to the right with little regard as whether the country is moving with them as being symptomatic of whack jobs, I think that's fairly accurate. There is a blind lemming mentality that is very prevelant among them at the moment. Yes, the Democrats have more than their fair share of ideologues as well, but we are not the ones purging ranks of anyone who does not adhere to the fad of the day, which is to relexively oppose anything the opposition opposes.

    March 4, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  16. Enough is Enough

    @bcrunner – thanks for enlightening us "Didn't vote for him the last time, I am not voting for him again." – let me guess he is a Republican and you only pull the "D" lever.....

    @therealTP – I take it that you have nothing to offer other than insults. You clearly don't understand what conservatives want and, quite frankly, we are very tired of trying to explain it to progressives. Many progressives still believe that Obama, (AKA I was busy Saturday and couldn't attend the National Security Council Meeting), is doing a fine job. It just shows that some people are hopeless and will keep pulling the "D" lever when it comes time to vote....after all...it's easier than having to think.....

    March 4, 2014 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  17. rs


    I am definitely not voting for anyone who voted for the shutdown. My congressman did. Didn't vote for him the last time, I am not voting for him again...
    Agreed- voting for people trying to wreck the government is like voting for the enemy.

    March 4, 2014 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC


    @Timmy, you're the reason people will vote repub, geez talk about stupid, you win !!!
    The people that you're would vote Republican, anyway. That's why Republicans have lost the popular vote in 5 out of the last 6 general elections. The conservative voter base is shrinking, and has been for decades.

    March 4, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  19. chrissy

    So WHO did they poll? The GOTP family members? Their friends?

    March 4, 2014 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  20. Boomer in Mo

    They are all bought and paid for, and voters know it. When the lottery got up to $400 million plus a few weeks ago my sister joked, sort of, that if she won she was going to buy herself a couple of congressmen. I told her she could probably get several dozen as they seem to sell out pretty cheaply. We need 527 NEW folks in D.C. ASAP, preferably people who have never before held elected office.

    March 4, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  21. Boomer in Mo

    Sorry. 537 new folks

    March 4, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  22. Smitty

    If the dems and and Oblunder have their way the USA is done, now Obammy and the dems offer Ukraine a billion, which Putin will end up with, Idiots. It goes to show and cannot buy your way out of stupid.

    March 4, 2014 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  23. Dean

    Once again, it's up to the GOP to clean up the mess left by a Democrat-controlled federal government. History does repeat.

    March 4, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  24. salty dog

    Mature Republican leadership, where do you suggest we find that? Your implying Obama is responsible for the recession that occurred before he was even elected? Get a grip already. I've voted Republican before, not gonna happen again. Your failure to recognize the fact that all the progress we made, which we did, dad absent of gop help, as a matter of fact, with the obstruction he faced, more filibusters than the last 238 years, he did a bang up job, and that's what really gets your racist little heart all aflutter, love it! Just think how good it will be when Hillary gets there. Come on saying, give us your best, "madam president", lmao.

    March 4, 2014 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    @Smitty– if you love Putin so much move to Russia we will not miss your kind.

    March 4, 2014 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
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