In a sign of the political hangover congressional Republicans are suffering in the wake of the government shutdown, three-quarters of Americans in a new national poll say that most GOP members of Congress don't deserve to be re-elected.Now, this question was asked of all Americans, and NOT of registered voters (and obviously not of likely voters). The CNN poll did ask it of registered voters as well, and from the smaller sample, registered voters were slightly more angry at both parties. Here, I've put it in chart form.
A CNN/ORC International survey released Monday also found a majority saying that the Republicans' policies are too extreme. And according to the poll, Democrats have an 8-point advantage over the Republicans in an early indicator in the battle for control of Congress. But with more than a year to go until the 2014 midterm elections, there's plenty of time for these numbers to change.
More than seven in 10 questioned in the survey said that most members of Congress don't deserve to be re-elected, with nearly four in 10 saying even their own representative doesn't deserve a return ticket to Washington next year. Both figures are hovering around all-time highs in CNN polling.
"Although incumbent members of Congress of both parties are not very popular, the shutdown seems to have only affected views of GOP incumbents," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.
Three-fourths of people questioned in the survey said that most congressional Republicans don't deserved to be re-elected, 21 percentage points higher than the 54% who say most Democrats don't deserve another term in office. Only one in five say most Republicans deserve to be re-elected; 42% say the same thing about Democrats on Capitol Hill.
Deserve re-election?Of note, that 40% for Democrats among registered voters is actually not the worst we've seen in recent history. The August 2010 numbers had only 36% of registered voters saying Democrats deserved re-election to Congress. However, that 20% for the GOP is the lowest in the poll's history by far, surpassing the previous low of just 31%, taken back in August 2011 during the last debt ceiling fight.
Dem 40% 56%
GOP 20% 76%
This is now spilling over into the generic ballot question as well.
Fifty percent of registered voters questioned said they would vote for the Democrat in their district, with 42% backing the Republican. The 8-point Democratic margin in the CNN poll is the same as in a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey and close to the 9-point advantage for the Democrats in the generic ballot in a recent Quinnipiac University poll.So again, while the signs look good now, they looked good for Democrats as well in 2010, and we all know the misery that followed. The generic ballot question almost always overestimates how well Democrats will do an entire year out from the actual election. Notice in 2006, a good year for Democrats, it only overestimated by a tiny bit. But in the midterm years good for the GOP, like 2002 and 2010, anyone thinking we were going to do OK because of the generic ballot question was in for a rude awakening. So recent history tells us that even if 2014 turns out to be a good year for Democrats, the generic ballot question STILL overestimates how well we're going to do a year ahead, but only by a little.
"We're a long way away from saying that the Democrats have a chance to regain control of the House," Holland cautioned. "There is more than a year to go before any votes are actually cast and the 'generic ballot' question is not necessarily a good predictor of the actual outcome of 435 separate elections. A year before the 2010 midterms, for example, the Democrats held a 6-point lead on the generic ballot."
The Republicans eventually won back control of the House in 2010, thanks to a historic 63-seat pickup.
Notice in the 2010 average of the polls, on October 21, 2009 (exactly 4 years ago), Democrats held a 45%-39.5% advantage on the generic ballot question. And then a year later, a massive 63-seat loss in the House, with Republicans actually getting 51.6% of the vote, and Democrats only getting 44.8% of the vote.
So, while this poll is good news, don't you dare take anything for granted just yet.