An Anti-Incumbent Mood

Gallup is reporting that Americans have a strong anti-incumbent mood these days:

PRINCETON, NJ — The environment for congressional incumbents seeking re-election may be more challenging in 2014. With six months to go before the midterms, 22% of U.S. registered voters say most members of Congress deserve re-election, and 72% say they do not. The “deserve re-election” figure is on pace to be the lowest Gallup has measured in an election year.

Support for their own Congressmen points to the possibility of many incumbents losing their seats:

U.S. voters as a whole are more positive about their own member of Congress than about most members of Congress, as they have been since Gallup first asked these items in 1992. Currently, 50% of voters say their own member deserves re-election. This, too, is slightly more positive than in January (46%), but is similar to levels observed at the time of the elections in 1992, 1994, 2006, and 2010. Most of these years saw relatively high turnover in Congress.

This election will turn on who can bring out their voters. Negative advertising, the tool of choice these days, is not a particularly good one for energizing turnout.

5 comments… add one
  • steve

    Will be surprised if things change a lot. Most people will vote for their own team no matter what. Takes the right kind of catastrophe to change.


  • PD Shaw

    Agree w/ steve. The ’92 election had a 9 seat shift; which sounds about right.

  • I think what “anti-incumbent” means in the present context is even more polarized. The Republicans have a modest lead in the House; the Democrats have a small majority in the Senate. The most likely result of the general election is that the Republicans will gain a few seats in the House and add a few seats in the Senate. I don’t think they’ll get enough seats to take control but YMMV.

    However, who the freshmen are will be important. I think they’ll replace more moderate predecessors.

  • ...

    I don’t think it’s about energizing turnout as much as it is hoping to not lose too much turnout. The Republicans look to be set to make certain to drive their voters home with their push for Mexican voting rights, though.

  • jan

    I don’t even know if it will come down to individual choices anymore. Maybe it will simply be how great the “fed up” quotient has gotten to be? Do people really like or embrace the path we are on? Or, do they want to get off of it and try an opposite direction? When people are weary, I think they don’t necessarily over-analyze how up and down the other path used to be, as their most immediate memory is how bad the current one is.

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