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53% Say Elections Are Rigged To Help Incumbents in Congress

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Voters are still wary of the congressional election process but just over half believe elections are fair to voters.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 53% of Likely U.S. Voters think most members of Congress get reelected because election rules are rigged to benefit incumbents. Only 17% believe most congressmen get reelected because of the good job they do representing their constituents. A sizable 30% aren’t sure which is the case. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

These findings have changed little over the past two years, highlighting voters' continuing distrust of the process. After all, the word “rigged” is a strong term to include in a survey question, and yet half the nation’s voters believe it applies to election rules for members of Congress.

The number of voters who believe the election process is fair also continues to hover around the halfway mark. Just 54% of voters now think American elections are fair to voters. Thirty-one percent (31%) say they’re not fair, and another 15% are undecided.

Favorables for the new Congress have fallen to the lowest levels since late 2008, and one-out-of-three voters (33%) now think a group selected randomly from the phone book would do a better job than the current Congress. Forty-five percent (45%) disagree and express more confidence in those currently in the Congress. Twenty-two percent (22%) are undecided.

These results are broadly similar to attitudes found a year ago and in 2008

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on May 9-10, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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