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Congressional Performance

New Low: Only 25% Think Their Member of Congress Deserves Reelection

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

There’s more bad news for congressional incumbents this month: Fewer voters than ever think their local member of Congress deserves reelection.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that eight percent (8%) of Likely U.S. Voters believe Congress is doing a good or excellent job. Sixty-four percent (64%) rate its job performance as poor. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

This marks little change from a month ago and is consistent with attitudes about Congress for the past three years.

But more troubling for incumbents is the continuing downward trend on two other questions. Just 20% now think their representative in Congress is the best person for the job. That’s down only slightly from 22% in March, but it’s the lowest finding in surveys since November 2009 when 33% felt this way. A plurality (47%) believes their local representative is not the best person for the job, while 33% are not sure.

Similarly, only 25% of voters think their representative in Congress deserves reelection, down from 29% three months ago and also a new low. In November 2009, 42% thought their representative deserved reelection. Forty-one percent (41%) now say that representative does not deserve to be reelected, but 34% are undecided.

The good news for incumbents is that 70% think most of them get reelected because election rules are rigged in their favor, not because they do a good job representing their constituents.

In fact, only 14% of voters think most members of Congress care what their constituents think, and only slightly more (21%) believe their congressional representative cares what they think. These numbers, too, have been trending down over the last four-and-a-half years and are now at new lows.

Sixty-nine percent (69%) think most members of Congress don’t care what their constituents think, while 17% are not sure. Fifty-three percent (53%) say their representative doesn’t care what they think, but 26% are undecided.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on June 22-23, 2014 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.

More voters than ever (72%) think it would be better for the country if most members of Congress were defeated this November.

But it’s important to note that most Republican voters think their representatives in Congress have lost touch with the party’s base over the last several years, while most Democrats believe their Congress members have done a good job representing what their party stands for.

Still, there’s little difference of opinion between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to Congress’ overall job performance and whether their local representative deserves reelection. Perhaps not surprisingly, voters not affiliated with either major party are the most critical.

Generally speaking, the older the voter, the more likely they are to feel that their representative is the best person for the job and deserves reelection.

Blacks are more supportive of their local representative in Congress than whites and other minority voters are. They also believes more strongly that their representative cares what they think.

While pluralities of Mainstream voters think their local member of Congress is not the best person for the job and doesn’t deserve reelection, half of those in the Political Class are undecided.

Among voters who don’t think their congressional representative is the best person for the job, 75% think that member does not deserve reelection.

House Speaker John Boehner is now the overall most unpopular leader in Congress, surpassing even House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi who has long held that title.

The economy continues to be the top issue on voters’ minds going into the November congressional elections, but government spending has now worked its way into the top three on the list of 15 major issues regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports.

Fifty-six percent (56%) think thoughtful spending cuts should be considered in every program of the federal government, but just 26% think it’s even somewhat likely that government spending will be significantly reduced over the next few years.

Republicans still hold the advantage in terms of voter trust on most major issues regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports, including the number one concern, the economy.

However, Democrats have held a narrow lead over Republicans most weeks this year on the Generic Congressional Ballot

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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