Republicans tend to be happier with their representative than Democrats, but GOP voters are much less keen on their party leaders
Americans don’t like Congress, and even their own representative is suspect. In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, a majority of registered voters don’t even think their own congressman deserves to be reelected. But that finding masks a partisan difference when it comes to the person who represents their district and their party’s leadership in Congress.
Just 9% of registered voters approve of how Congress is handling its job – and three in four Republican and Democrats agree that they don’t like the way Congress is working. But ask them about their own representatives and Republicans become much happier. More than half of them approve of the way their own representative is handling his or her job, while Democrats are generally unhappy with their representatives.
Nearly half of registered voters who think of themselves as Republicans say their Representative deserves re-election, but only a third of Democratic registered voters agree. Most GOP registered voters (66%) support the Tea Party and its goals, and nearly half live in the South. They are very likely to be represented in the House by Republicans, which is probably why they feel better about the representation they are getting. In fact, 72% of registered voters who are Republican live in districts represented by someone of their own party.
On the other hand, Democrats in this poll are more likely to live in districts where the other party dominates. Half of Democratic registered voters live in Democratic-represented districts and half do not. But even Democrats in Democratic districts are conflicted and they are evenly divided on whether their Democratic representative deserves re-election.
But Republicans, too, do not give their House members overwhelming support. More than a third disapprove of how their Representative is handling his or her job and nearly a third say they won’t vote for them this year.
Democrats make a distinction between their Congressional party and the party as a whole. More Democratic voters have a favorable view of the party in general than of the Congressional party specifically.
Republicans make less of a distinction between the Congressional arm of their party and the party overall, though the party overall still fares better than the party in Congress.
What bothers Republicans more than bothers Democrats is their Congressional party’s leadership: Republicans are more negative view towards them. Although one in four Democrats have unfavorable opinions about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, even more Republicans are negative towards the two individuals in their party’s Congressional leadership. More than a third of Republicans hold negative opinions of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner.
For McConnell in particular, there are nearly as many GOP registered voters who hold unfavorable views as favorable ones.
Whatever they think, nearly all Republican and Democratic voters say they will stick with their party – if they vote this fall. Even some who think their congressman doesn’t deserve re-election may still vote for them. But registered voters without a party – political independents – mostly dislike everyone. By 51% to 26%, they think their Representative does not deserve re-election, and a quarter or less have favorable views of each Congressional party.
Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here.