A bipartisan public wants to throw both parties' reps out, poll shows

Breakdown of political party representation in...

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Can incumbents up for re-election this fall raise  money fast enough to buy another term?

Judging from a new CNN poll, their chances could boil down to that question.  The cable network reports that just over one in three U.S. voters think that most members of Congress deserve another term in office.

OK, so their representatives fare somewhat better. By a margin of 51-44, those polled said they still backed their own representative. But that’s no reason for our elected officials to celebrate.

CNN reports that both the generic “throw the bums out” response and the marginal “I like my rep” response represent the lowest level of support it has ever recorded to these questions.

“The numbers on both questions are even lower than in 1994, when an anti-incumbent fever helped Republicans win back control of both the House and the Senate from Democrats,” CNN reports.

Voter anger is bipartisan, according to the poll. But since Democrats control Congress, their party would likely take the bigger hit.

If the Democrats can find any silver lining in the poll it’s that President Obama isn’t up for re-election. Only 44 percent of those polled said they think he deserves another term.

Maybe more Democrats should be listening to four senators who sent Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a letter calling for passage of a health care bill with a public option through reconciliation, a controversial process that would require only a simple majority vote and bypass  the paralyzing filibuster (which requires a 60-vote supermajority). CBS News identified the four as  Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Co., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio,  and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.  I give them an A for effort anyway.

Perhaps they realize that doing nothing isn’t looking much like a winning strategy for their party in November  (though it seems to work just fine for the Republicans).  So a novel suggestion: Maybe Democrats should instead try doing something — something other than whining about filibusters or other members of  their own party.  Something, in other words, that convinces the American people that Democrats are capable of governing, not just talking about it.

Postscript: A thank you to politicalwire.com for pointing me toward these two network news stories.


About jerrylanson

I teach, write, coach and sing, though you're not required to listen to the latter. I'm a journalism professor at Emerson College in Boston. My third book, "Writing for Others, Writing for Ourselves," was published in November by Rowman & Littlefield Publishing. You can read a sample chapter at www.jerrylanson.com. My passions are politics (generally liberal in outlook), music, mountains, golden retrievers and my grandchildren, though not in that order. Please stop by and mix it up with me. I always answer those who post.
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8 Responses to A bipartisan public wants to throw both parties' reps out, poll shows

  1. jcalton says:

    I like the article, but not the last paragraph. I’m not sure that “whining about filibusters” is really a very thorough response to where the blame lies for what is [not] happening on the hill.

    The one thing I would *really* like to see is the democrats forcing the GOP to actually filibuster 24/7 for as long as possible, preferably until the midterm elections. The soundbytes would be priceless, and the right might even give up. At the least the GOP would look petulant and ridiculous. I think it would be win/win.

    Plus, I hate the fact that our Constitution has been co-opted from a majority rules system to a clear minority rules that they never wanted.

    • Jerry Lanson says:

      Perhaps whining is a bit strong. But Democrats seem to spend an inordinate amount of time saying that their hands are tied. That’s simply not true. If the party had the will to push through health care, various mechanisms have existed. The House could have simply passed the Senate version and fixed it later. The Senate should have tried reconciliation. And you’re absolutely right, the Democrats could many times over have forced Republicans to filibuster and lobbied the American people much more fiercely and effectively than they have. I think Democrats have to face up to the fact that their party has not shown leadership. The Republicans are the party of no. They stand for next to nothing except fear and tax cuts. That Democrats have been unable to expose that shows their own ineffectiveness.

      • jcalton says:

        Sometimes I think the left can never win because it is not monolithic. It is much easier for the GOP to “group think” or hive mind, if you prefer, and they are very good at it.

        For the most part Congress is doing nothing, which is still an improvement over what I saw 2000-2006 and mostly parallels 2006-2008.

        I really think I would prefer the French system of lots of pluralities forced to cooperate to accomplish anything. It would also force Corporations to spend a lot more thoughtfully when buying candidates. The current system only causes them to bifurcate their spending (assuming they don’t just pay both sides proportionally, which the really big ones do).

      • Jerry Lanson says:

        I agree on all your points.

  2. Michael Middleton says:

    Interesting poll, thanks for sharing. I definitely see a lot of frustration among my friends across the spectrum, and a lot of them, as you indicate here, seem to think their reps are just fine. Funny how that works.

  3. presidentsuit says:

    The amazing thing about this story is that CNN is reporting it at all! For months, Rasmussen has been reporting the President’s negative ratings amongst likely voters, but CNN, MSLSD and the majors like ABC,NBC,CBS have all but ignored the resilts as some sort of right wing propaganda. Visit http://presidentsuit.com for intentionally offensive political satire.

    • Jerry Lanson says:

      Polls and polling techniques vary. That’s why it’s always important to look at a cross-section of results. I don’t believe for a moment that any of these news organizations are covering up results. Rasmussen’s finding always slant right, others left. I would presume that has something to do with poll design and questions.

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