WASHINGTON -- Nearly half of Americans believe their own member of Congress unworthy of reelection, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. But safe congressional districts may shield many politicians from voter anger, the poll suggests.
According to the poll, 48 percent of Americans said they think their own member of Congress does not deserve reelection, while only 25 percent said their member of Congress does deserve reelection. By a 70 percent to 9 percent margin, Americans said most members of Congress do not deserve reelection.
The poll shows anger at Congress, which peaked after October's government shutdown, isn't going away. A HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted during the shutdown had results nearly the same as the new poll, with 25 percent saying their own member of Congress deserved reelection and 47 percent said saying he or she did not. Another HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted in November had similar findings.
The new poll isn't the only one to show members of Congress in trouble with their own constituents. A Gallup poll released Friday found that the share of Americans saying their own member of Congress deserves reelection (46 percent) and that most members of Congress deserve reelection (17 percent) were both at record lows since Gallup began tracking the measure in 1992. Thirty-six percent of respondents to that poll said their member of Congress did not deserve reelection.
An Associated Press survey released earlier this month found that only 33 percent of respondents said they'd like their own member of Congress reelected, while 64 percent said they would like to see someone else win their district.
Of course, just because many Americans say they want their member of Congress replaced doesn't mean they will vote to do so in districts that are solidly in the grip of a single party.
The new HuffPost/YouGov poll shows that safe districts may indeed protect members of Congress from constituents' anger. Much of that anger was concentrated among those who reported a partisan mismatch between themselves and their members of Congress, more than three quarters of whom said the member of Congress did not deserve reelection. But with most congressional seats firmly in the grip of one party or the other, that sentiment may make little difference.
On the other hand, among Americans who believe their member of Congress belongs to their own party, about half said that member of Congress did deserve reelection. Twenty-five percent of Democrats who said their representative was a Democrat and 29 percent of Republicans who said their representative was a Republican wanted to kick that member of Congress to the curb.
That support may seem relatively tepid, except that a partisan already represented by a member of their own party and desiring a change in representation is unlikely to get a chance to act on that impulse, unless there's a viable primary challenger.
Leaving aside anyone who may have incorrectly reported being represented by a Republican or a Democrat, 26 percent said either that they weren't sure of their current representative's party (21 percent) or that they thought they were represented by "something else" (5 percent). But that confusion didn't stop many of them from saying their member of Congress shouldn't be reelected, while few of those respondents said their member of Congress does deserve reelection.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted Jan. 15 and Jan. 16 among 1,000 U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.