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Congress and Economy: Anti Incumbent Views:Pew

Congress and Economy: Anti Incumbent Views:Pew

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Published by Patricia Dillon
Pew 12-15-11
Pew 12-15-11

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Patricia Dillon on Dec 15, 2011
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 www.people-press.orgTHURSDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2011
GOP Base Critical of Party’s Washington Leadership
Frustration with Congress Could HurtRepublican Incumbents
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:Andrew Kohut
President, Pew Research Center
Carroll Doherty and Michael Dimock
Associate Directors
Scott Keeter
Director of Survey Research1615 L St, N.W., Suite 700Washington, D.C. 20036Tel (202) 419-4350Fax (202) 419-4399www.people-press.org 
 
www.people-press.org
 
GOP Base Critical of Party’s Washington Leadership
Frustration with Congress Could Hurt RepublicanIncumbents
Public discontent with Congress has reachedrecord levels, and the implications forincumbents in next year’s elections could bestark. Two-in-three voters say most membersof Congress should be voted out of office in2012 – the highest on record. And the number who say their own member should be replacedmatches the all-time high recorded in 2010, when fully 58 members of Congress lostreelection bids – the most in any election since1948.The Republican Party is taking more of the blame than the Democrats for a do-nothingCongress. A record-high 50% say that thecurrent Congress has accomplished less thanother recent Congresses, and by nearly two-to-one (40% to 23%) more blame Republicanleaders than Democratic leaders for this. By  wide margins, the GOP is seen as the party thatis more extreme in its positions, less willing to work with the other side to get things done,and less honest and ethical in the way itgoverns. And for the first time in over two years, the Democratic Party has gained theedge as the party better able to manage thefederal government.To be sure, neither party’s leadership is viewedpositively right now. Just 31% approve of how Democratic congressional leaders haveperformed. But even fewer (21%) approve of the job Republican leaders have done. And a
Record Anti-Incumbent Sentiment
Want to see…
Most membersreelected
 
Feb2006Feb2008Feb2010Dec2011
% % % %Yes 36 36 32 20No 49 49 53 67Don’t know 15 15 15 13100 100 100 100
Your representativereelected
Yes 59 60 49 50No 28 22 31 33Other/Don’t know 13 18 19 17100 100 100 100
# of incumbents wholost reelection bids
24 23 58 --
GOP Leaders Blamed For “Do-Nothing” Congress
Compared toothers, thisCongress hasaccomplished…
 
More Less Same DK
% % % %8 50 37 5=100
If “less”…
 Who’s more toblame for this?
RepleadersDemleadersBoth(vol.)Other/DK
40 23 32 4=100
Republican Party Seen as Extremeand Uncompromising
Which party…
RepPartyDemPartyNeither(vol.)Other/DK
Is more extremein its positions%53%33%1%13=100Is more willing towork with theother side 25 51 12 13=100Can bettermanage gov’t35 41 13 12=100Is more honestand ethical 28 45 16 11=100
PEW RESEARCH CENTER Dec. 7-11, 2011. Incumbentreelection questions based on registered voters. Otherquestions based on general public.
 
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www.people-press.org
good deal of this criticism is coming from within the GOP base. While Democratsapprove of the job their party’s leaders are doing by a 60% to 31% margin, only 49% of Republicans approve of the GOP leaders in Congress are doing, while 44% disapprove.The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press,conducted Dec. 7-11, 2011 among 1,521 adults, finds that Republicans are as eager to see big changes in Congress as they were two years ago. Despite their party’s majority statusin the House of Representatives, seven-in-ten Republicans say most members of Congress should be replaced,as do 73% of independentsand 60% of Democrats. Thisstands in stark contrast tothe last several electioncycles, when voters from theparty with a House majority have said most membersshould keep their jobs.In fact, one of the few areasof bipartisan agreement when it comes to views of Congress is that the problem with the institution is themembers themselves, not the political system. In assessing Congress, 55% of the publicsays they think the system can work fine, it’s the members that are the problem. Just32% say they think most members have good intentions but the political system is broken. The balance of opinion is virtually identical across party lines.Independents, who have expressed great frustration with Washington gridlock over thecourse of the past year, are particularly critical of the Republican Party. By a 54% to 30%margin they say the Republican Party, not the Democratic Party, is more extreme in itspositions, and they are twice as likely to label the Republicans than the Democrats as theless honest and ethical party (42% vs. 21%). Yet independents have few positive things to say about the Democratic Party either. Bothparties’ leaders get poor approval ratings from independents (14% approve of GOPleaders in Congress, 23% of Democratic leaders). And when independents are asked which party can best handle the most important problem facing the nation, as many  volunteer “neither” as say the Democrats or the Republicans.
Public Sees Members of Congress, Not thePolitical System, as the Problem
Which comes closer to your view of Congress these days?
 
Total Rep Dem Ind
% % % %The political system can work fine, it’sthe members that are the problem 55 58 56 53Most members have good intentions,it’s the political system that is broken 32 31 32 33Other/Don’t know14 11 12 14100 100 100 100
PEW RESEARCH CENTER Dec. 7-11, 2011. Q43. Based on general public. Figuresmay not add to 100% because of rounding.

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