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

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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. rs

    Not mine, she is a moderate Democrat.

    August 5, 2014 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  2. Gurgyl

    -remove these nasty belt of thugs of Congress immediately. This for the sake of this great big nation, USA.

    August 5, 2014 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  3. g

    the government works for corporations and investors,the rest are just customers

    August 5, 2014 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  4. quinLee

    Wonder how this will actually translate at the polls.

    August 5, 2014 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  5. 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.

    August 5, 2014 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  6. Sniffit

    GOP/Teatrolls...breaking gov't to "prove" it's broken..."Mission Accomplished."

    August 5, 2014 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  7. MaryM

    Sorry folks, the only people putting on the dog and pony shows are the GOP/TP in Congress. The most resent examples are Ted Cruz and the repubs on CSpan last Thursday night. You see, GOP/TP, all your crap is on video,
    even when you shut down the government and said you were Happy you shut down the government on National TV !!

    August 5, 2014 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  8. Chipster

    Another big part of the problem is the political corruption in what is now called "entertainment news." Networks compete to see how many viewers that can get by competing with the most outrageous stories that they can distort or completely fabricate in their quests to anger, scare, and outrage viewers into boosting their ratings. The simple truth is lost in the fierce quest for ratings and perhaps blatant attempts at political influence. There apparently are no laws governing truth in media and full advantage has been taken by politically motivated networks.

    August 5, 2014 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  9. ja

    As they are the problem, GOP (Grand Obstruction Party) DNC (Dam Neel Committee), all self serving sobs

    August 5, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  10. ChrisM

    Never forget America, it was the Tea party republicans in Congress that got Americas credit rating downgraded because of their talk of Defaulting on Americas debt. As per of S&P themselves !!

    August 5, 2014 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  11. Sniffit

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

    What the GOP/Teatrolls just heard: "It's working...IT'S WORKING!!!!!"

    August 5, 2014 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  12. 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.

    August 5, 2014 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  13. Ron

    It is next to impossible to unseat an incombent. The money flows into the politicians reelection campaign immediately after they take office from lobbyist and special interest groups. This government is and has been for sale for a long time.

    August 5, 2014 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  14. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    My Representative, Rodney Frelinghuysen is just another Republican who does what Boehner tells him to do. Unfortunately, I live in a Republican district and he keeps getting re elected.

    August 5, 2014 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  15. 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!

    August 5, 2014 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  16. yolanda

    @MaryM, interesting that you posted about "ugly hateful people...." on the illegal immigrant article, and then turn around and spew about Repubs/TP. Perhaps you will suffer the same fate as you wished upon the others......but I guess it's differenrt since the evil GOP is worse than those dear immigrants.

    August 5, 2014 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  17. Randy, San Francisco

    Place blame on Speaker Boehner and his leadership team for allowing obstructionist Tea Party insurgents to take over. Speaker Boehner is so weak that Sen Ted Cruz was abled to dictate Tea Party votes in Congress.

    August 5, 2014 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  18. Gunderson

    Aw, So, How quickly we forget.
    The democrats had the congress for 40 years. And things got better, right? For over 100 years the Liberal's lied , conned and schemed the public. and you bought it! Have you learned Spanish yet? Better Brush up. You are going to need it. The Tacos are coming! It used to be the Redcoats but that Ship has sailed. Golly, I think the Corporations also have Sailed. Geronimo !!!

    August 5, 2014 11:02 am at 11:02 am |

    I think they read a lot into that poll. Unfortunately America is divided and its staying that way. We do not have a leader that is interested in uniting and much to the contrary he much prefers alienating and castigating other leaders.

    August 5, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  20. will

    Fire all the bums

    August 5, 2014 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  21. HenryMiller

    "Majority of Americans feel their representative is part of the problem."

    That's because a majority of Americans don't understand that "their" representatives aren't there to represent them, they're there to represent their Parties. Which, in turn, are there to represent their loudest donors. Follow the money.

    August 5, 2014 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  22. Hillary Inathong

    I want a secure border so that we can properly address the immigration problems. However my government wants to grant criminals Amnesty and spend MY tax dollars to aid and abet these criminals.
    Our "representatives" need to be removed come Midterms.

    August 5, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  23. Are you kidding me?

    Time for the ultra-right wingers to enjoy their last days. Common sense and true leadership is needed. No more obstruction, lawsuit talk, or impeachment talk – time to step up or step step down and let someone else take the reigns.

    August 5, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  24. salty dog

    Struggling with history again I see

    August 5, 2014 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    He also grabbed her wrist while angrily pointing at her face and told her "you're very good at English."
    Didn't know you could be good "at" English.
    One can be good at lying and bulls hitting, but I did not know that one could be good "at" English.
    Oy vey.

    August 5, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
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