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Today’s number: 51 percent

Tuesday, Aug 5, 2014

* Sun-Times

How much worse could things get for Congress? Not only do Americans say the best way to fix Congress is to fire everyone (but it rarely happens), a new poll reveals just how fed up voters are with Congress. Specifically, they’re pointing the finger directly at their own member like never before.

The Washington Post-ABC poll shows that 51 percent of voters disapprove of their own member of Congress. In the quarter-century that the Post-ABC has been asking the question, this is the first time it’s ever eclipsed the 50-percent mark. Only 41 percent approve of their own member.

That poll is here.

* But

A recent Pew poll, for instance, showed 69 percent of people wanted to unseat most members of Congress, but just 36 percent said the same of their own member.

Even so, that 36 percent is significantly higher than the 29 percent who said the same about their own members in 1994 and two points above the rate in 2010.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


16 Comments
  1. - A guy... - Tuesday, Aug 5, 14 @ 9:53 am:

    I disapprove of my member, but that’s because of redistricting. 4 years ago I approved. I didn’t change, my approved member didn’t change. We were realigned away from one another. I suspect this is the case for many. A lot of people were switched from Roskam to Quigley or Roskam to Duckworth. All three still in Congress.


  2. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Aug 5, 14 @ 9:59 am:

    Generational change coming. Anyone elected before 2008 needs to be removed in November.


  3. - train111 - Tuesday, Aug 5, 14 @ 10:05 am:

    I went from Hultgren to Roskam. Doesn’t matter a hill of beans what I think anyways. It’s a GOP vote dump district and Roskam would get reelected with 65% of the vote even if the Dems nominated Jesus Christ himself.
    I am dissapointed however that the Dems candidate against Roskam has no campaign whatsoever and is only a name on the ballot. At least their candidate 2 years ago put some effort into it.


  4. - cover - Tuesday, Aug 5, 14 @ 10:28 am:

    Rich, since 2 of the first 3 comments are related to redistricting, it is possible that the dissatisfaction with respondents’ own members is due to “improved” gerrymandering. If, say, you are a Democrat placed in a 55% GOP district, you’re likely to be unhappy with your representative.


  5. - walker - Tuesday, Aug 5, 14 @ 10:28 am:

    Significant change.

    It used to always be “those people” not “our person.” I even see it at different levels of government, when wasteful, and borderline-corrupt practices are claimed for the state and federal levels, or “those pols in Chicago,” but the same exact same behavior goes unnoticed at local school boards and villages around the state.”

    Maybe breaking down that illusion is a good thing.


  6. - Sir Reel - Tuesday, Aug 5, 14 @ 10:36 am:

    Maybe there’s hope yet but the effects of years of gerrymandering districts are hard to overcome. My Congressional District is Republican by design. My Congressman gets more and more conservative as he seeks power in the House which is under the influence of the Tea Party. I like him less and less.


  7. - One of the 35 - Tuesday, Aug 5, 14 @ 10:37 am:

    Many others have made this argument before me, but the founding fathers really never intended for elected representatives to be career politicians. You were elected to serve for a limited period of time and then return to your regular occupation.


  8. - Federalist - Tuesday, Aug 5, 14 @ 10:50 am:

    I agree that gerrymandering districts is a real issue.

    My rep in Congress is Democrat in a relatively safe district. Will not answer emails or letters. If you want any real response other than a pro forma letter you had better be part of a big organization or make a big contribution.

    But the larger question is how does this dissatisfaction on a national level line up in terms of Democratic vs. Republican held districts.


  9. - Six Degrees of Separation - Tuesday, Aug 5, 14 @ 10:59 am:

    If we were truly f a “throw the bums out” mindset like we say we are, gerrymandering wouldn’t influence much of anything, and we’d have a new set of critters every few years to be dissatisfied with. Methinks we doth protest too much.


  10. - Team Sleep - Tuesday, Aug 5, 14 @ 11:09 am:

    Illinois will be a Congressional campaign battleground for at least the duration of the current map and likely the duration of the next map. IL-10, IL-11, IL-12, IL-13 and IL-17 will be toss-ups during the next several cycle. And, if Congresswoman Duckworth ever decides to run for statewide office or if she is nominated to become VA Secretary, then IL-8 will be in play as well.


  11. - BMAN - Tuesday, Aug 5, 14 @ 11:18 am:

    If voting the members of congress is what it takes to get a representative government, I’m all for it. This partisan politics is one of the biggest detriments of our country.


  12. - Roadypig - Tuesday, Aug 5, 14 @ 12:26 pm:

    - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Aug 5, 14 @ 9:59 am:

    Generational change coming. Anyone elected before 2008 needs to be removed in November.

    From your previous posts, I am guessing you are part of the younger generation of those who are of voting age. Considering the vast majority of people who actually make to the polls and vote aren’t in your demographics, what will it take to get more of your peers to vote for change? I am not being snarky- after every election the pundits complain about the falling percentages of Gen X and Y (or whatever you want to call those under 40) who just don’t vote in large enough numbers to get their concerns met by politicians. I’m sure those in your inner circle are politically active, but my son is in his late 20’s and he tells me he can’t even get his friends and coworkers to even discuss politics (and he has a white collar IT job). Apathy by all voters is bad for the country, but the level of participation of the under 40 crowd continues to drop. Unless they start getting involved enough to join in, the age 65+ crowd will continue to vote for their best interests, and that generational change you mention won’t happen.


  13. - Anonymoiis - Tuesday, Aug 5, 14 @ 1:19 pm:

    ==Unless they start getting involved enough to join in, the age 65+ crowd will continue to vote for their best interests, and that generational change you mention won’t happen.==

    That’s been said for decades, back to when the current 65+ crowd voted less as youngsters, maybe before that. It’s nothing new, has been discussed and analyzed to death in poli-sci classes and journals…. and won’t be changing anytime soon.


  14. - Anonymoiis - Tuesday, Aug 5, 14 @ 1:22 pm:

    To add, I took “generational change” to mean a changing of the guard, so to speak, in terms of who’s sitting in office. That’s not a voter age issue, it’s a voter tolerance for the status quo issue, that occasionally reaches it’s tipping point across all demographics.


  15. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Aug 5, 14 @ 1:25 pm:

    People are honked, but the great majority of incumbent Senators and 90%+ of incumbent House members will be re-elected. Same with incumbent GA members. Hardly generational change.

    In Congress, the job is not to govern, but to raise money and duck tough votes to protect your right or left flank, depending on your party affiliation. As part of that, you spend much of your day feeding the 24-hour cable TV infotainment elephant with blah, blah, blah.

    Once you’re sick of that, you take your pension and cash out for K Street. Good work, if you can get it, and stomach it.


  16. - Geronimo - Tuesday, Aug 5, 14 @ 8:30 pm:

    I disapprove of my member. His stance on a subject important to me was why I voted for him. He flip-flopped. Too bad I have to wait for the next election to fire him with my vote. Do any of them have backbones or memories of what they say? So I get pretty annoyed with people who say they get what they deserve when they vote people into office. That’s assuming they never ever, ever change their fickle minds about what they stand for in a flash.


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