Washington (CNN) – Need more evidence that Americans are extremely angry at Congress?
Well, here you go: According to a new national survey, for the first time ever most Americans don’t believe their own member of Congress deserves re-election.
Read full results (pdf).
And the CNN/ORC International Poll released Tuesday also indicates that while Republicans may have had the upper hand in the recent battle over raising the debt ceiling, they appear to have lost a lot of ground with the public and the party’s unfavorable rating is now at an all time high.
Only 41 percent of people questioned say the lawmaker in their district in the U.S. House of Representatives deserves to be re-elected – the first time ever in CNN polling that that figure has dropped below 50 percent. Forty-nine percent say their representative doesn’t deserve to be re-elected in 2012. And with ten percent unsure, it’s the first time that a majority has indicated that they would boot their representative out of office if they had the chance today.
“That 41 percent, in the polling world, is an amazing figure. Throughout the past two decades, in good times and bad, Americans have always liked their own member of Congress despite abysmal ratings for Congress in general,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Now anti-incumbent sentiment is so strong that most Americans are no longer willing to give their own representative the benefit of the doubt. If that holds up, it could be an early warning of an electorate that is angrier than any time in living memory.”
As for all members of Congress, the poll indicates only a quarter of the public says most members of Congress deserve to be re-elected.
A lot of that anger seems directed toward the GOP. According to the survey, favorable views of the Republican party dropped eight points over the past month, to 33 percent. Fifty-nine percent say they have an unfavorable view of the Republican party, an all-time high dating back to 1992 when the question was first asked.
The poll indicates that views of the Democratic party, by contrast, have remained fairly steady, with 47 percent saying they have a favorable view of the Democrats and an equal amount saying they hold an unfavorable view.
“The Democratic party, which had a favorable rating just a couple of points higher than the GOP in July, now has a 14-point advantage over the Republican party,” adds Holland.
The same pattern holds for the parties’ leaders in Congress. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the top Democrat in the chamber, have never had great numbers, but the public’s view of them have remained essentially unchanged in the wake of the debt ceiling debate. But House Speaker John Boehner’s favorable rating has dropped 10 points, and his unfavorable rating is up to 40 percent, a new high for him. On the Senate side, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell isn’t faring much better – his unfavorable rating is 39 percent, a seven-point increase since July.
The poll indicates that Americans’ views of the tea party movement have also turned more negative, with 51 percent saying they have a negative view of the two-year-old limited government and anti-tax grassroots movement, with favorable ratings dropping from 37 percent down to 31 percent. Freshman House Republicans elected with major support from tea party activists were instrumental in keeping any tax increases out of the agreement to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.
The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International on August 5-7, with 1,008 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey was conducted both before and after Friday night’s downgrading of the country’s credit rating by Standard and Poor’s. The poll’s overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.
– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.