7/6: Electoral Danger for Congressional Incumbents

Members of the U.S. Congress up for re-election this year are walking a tightrope with voters.  If November’s elections were held today, voters divide about whether they would support their current elected official or if they would vote for someone else.  43% report they would support someone else while 42% think they would cast their ballot for the incumbent.  15% are unsure.

capitol-building-290“The big question for this election cycle is whether voters’ dissatisfaction will result in wholesale turnover of incumbents,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.

There has been little change on this question from when Marist last asked it in its March survey.  At that time, 45% reported said they would like a fresh face representing them while 41% wanted their current member of Congress to stick around.  14% were unsure.

Opinions run along party lines.  While a majority of Democrats — 55% — believe they will support the incumbent, a majority of Republicans — 52% — say they will vote for someone else.  Independent voters more closely side with the GOP here.  Nearly half — 49% — of Independents report they will cast their ballot for someone new.  Similar proportions of Democrats and Republicans held these views in March when 54% of Democrats thought they would support their current elected official and half of Republicans — 50% — said they would look for an alternative.  However, there has been a slight drop among the proportion independents who say they will vote for a Congressional challenger.  53% of independent voters held this view in March.

Table: U.S. Congress — Incumbent or Other?
Table: U.S. Congress – Incumbent or Other?  (Over Time)

Graph of whom voters support -- incumbent or other.

Click on the graph to enlarge the image.

“Find a New Path for the Nation,” Says Majority

When thinking about the way things are going in the country, 56% of U.S. residents say the nation is headed in the wrong direction while 37% believe it is moving along the right track.  7% are unsure.  In Marist’s March survey, 53% reported the nation needed a new course while 43% felt it was on the right path.  4%, at the time, were unsure.

Table: Right or Wrong Direction of the Country

Marist Poll Methodology