A Record Number Of Americans Don't Like Their Own Member Of Congress

Most Americans aren't going to miss Congress while it's on summer break.

A majority 51 percent of Americans disapprove of their own congressional representative, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Tuesday. That's the first time in the quarter-century history of the poll that the disapproval rating has risen above 50 percent, outstripping even the 47 percent who disapproved during last year's government shutdown.

Terrible ratings for Congress, which has an average approval rating of under 12 percent, are nothing new (a recent survey asking Americans how they'd fix Congress prompted such helpful suggestions as "lock them in a room together until they get along" and "well placed dynamite").

In the past, though, Americans have tended to feel more warmly toward their own district's representative than toward the legislative branch as a whole. Lately, however, that number too has taken a dive in national polling.

That still doesn't mean that most incumbents' jobs are at risk. In the June before Republicans took back the House in 2010, 40 percent of Americans told Gallup their representative didn't deserve to be re-elected, yet 85 percent of members seeking re-election held onto their seats anyhow.

The Post/ABC News poll, which surveyed 1,029 adults by phone between July 30 and Aug. 3, also found that Democrats and Republicans disapproved of their representatives in about equal measure -- 46 and 44 percent, respectively. That differs from the past two midterms, when polls found higher anti-incumbent sentiment among the party that would go on to win the House.



Distinguishable Members Of Congress