3/31: Voters to Congress, “Watch Your Back!”

45% of registered voters nationwide are not satisfied with their elected officials in the U.S. Congress.  This is the proportion of the electorate who say if this fall’s elections were held today, they would not support their current elected official in Congress and would vote for someone new.  41% would vote for the incumbent, and 14% are unsure.

capitol-building-290Click Here for Complete March 31, 2010 Poll Release and Tables

Little has changed on this question since Marist last asked it in February.  At that time, 44% said they would elect someone new, 42% wanted their current elected official to remain in office, and 14% were unsure.

“There is plenty of grumbling about Congress, and the winds of change are blowing,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, “Many voters think both the Democrats and Republicans in Congress are acting inappropriately.  Will they remember this feeling come November?  That’s still very much in doubt.”

Republicans and independents are particularly dissatisfied.  Half of Republicans say they would support someone other than their current elected official while 37% report they would support the incumbent.  13% are unsure.  When it comes to independents, a majority — 53% — would choose to oust their current member of Congress while one-third would vote for that person.  15% are unsure.  A majority of Democrats, however, are satisfied with their current elected official.  54% want their current member of Congress to stick around while 31% would like someone different.  15% are unsure.

While there is little difference among Democrats and independents since Marist’s previous survey in February, fewer members of the GOP now want to re-elect their current elected official.  At that time, Republicans were more divided.  48% wanted someone else, and 45% said they would support the incumbent.  8% were unsure.

Table: U.S. Congress — Incumbent or Other?

Congress: Breaking the Rules?

Are members of Congress bending the rules to get their way?  52% of the electorate think congressional Republicans have been mostly acting inappropriately while 38% believe they are mostly playing by the rules.  The American electorate divides about the Democrats.  49% of voters think the Democrats in Congress have been crossing the line while 43% say they have been playing by the rules.  When asked about members of the Tea Party movement, 41% say they are stepping out of bounds while 35% believe they are mostly playing by the rules.  A notable 24% are unsure.

Table: Congressional Republicans — Playing By the Rules?
Table: Congressional Democrats — Playing By the Rules?
Table: Tea Party Members — Playing By the Rules?

Country Moving Along the Wrong Path

53% of U.S. residents report the country is heading in the wrong direction while 43% say it is moving along the right course.  4% are unsure.

More Americans, however, do see the nation moving in the correct direction compared with Marist’s February survey.  At that time, 54% said the country needed a new road map while only 38% thought it was moving down the proper path.  8% were unsure.

Table: Right or Wrong Direction of the Country

Marist Poll Methodology

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3/31: Handling of Health Care Gets “Thumbs-Down” From Majority of Voters