It’s the old adage in political science: Americans hate Congress but like their congressman. But that might be changing.
According to a new Gallup Poll, a record low of people say their member of Congress deserves reelection. Among registered voters, just 46 percent say the member from their congressional district should get reelected.
This trend shows that voters no longer see their member as strictly a local representative fighting for that district but as a participant in the broader Congress, who is not necessarily working in their best interests.
Now, the first part of the old equation is still true: Americans really don’t like the rest of Congress. Along with overall support of Congress being incredibly low, the poll, conducted between Jan. 5 and 8, shows that only 17 percent of registered voters think that most members of Congress deserve reelection. The historical average of voters who think the majority of members deserve reelection hovered around 39 percent but has dropped sharply since early 2008, around the time of the economic crisis.
Overall, this poll is significant in that it shows public frustrations with the divisiveness and unproductiveness of Congress continue to seep into individual races. However — and this will be where this poll matters — the way some districts have been redrawn in recent years might not even allow a change in incumbents because the parties are so set in stone.
This factor only accounts for the general elections, though. The strong sentiment among voters might translate into primary challenges. That’s where the opportunity is for many of these voters, and that’s where a lot of the movement has taken place. The poll shows that an equal number (18 percent) of registered Democratic voters and Republican voters say most members deserve reelection. This frustration is not aimed at parties but at individual members.
Will there be a huge party turnover in Congress during the midterms? Not likely. But are some members at risk of getting a serious primary challenge? Quite possibly, and that’s why members should pay attention to this poll.
What We're Following See More »
"The United States is preparing to shelter as many as 20,000 migrant children on four American military bases" in Texas and Arkansas, "as federal officials struggled to carry out President Trump’s order to keep immigrant families together after they are apprehended at the border."
"House Republican leaders are further delaying a vote on a compromise immigration bill, planning to make changes to the legislation for a vote next week. The news comes after a two-hour Republican Conference meeting Thursday, in which authors of the bill walked through its contents and members raised concerns about issues the bill doesn’t address, multiple GOP lawmakers said. Many members requested the addition of a provision to require employers to use the E-Verify database to cheek the legal status of their employees."
After a conservative-backed immigration bill failed in the House, 193-231, leaders "postponed a vote on a 'compromise' immigration proposal until Friday. ... GOP leaders, however, are under no impression that they'll be able to secure the 218 votes needed in the next 24 hours to pass the text. Rather, the delay is to give members more time to read the bill."