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Most say Congress members don’t deserve new terms, poll finds

By Michael A. Memoli, Tribune Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — Americans’ hostility toward members of Congress is at a record high, a new Gallup poll finds.

Seventy-six percent of those surveyed said most representatives do not deserve to be reelected, the highest number in the 19 years Gallup has asked the question and six points higher than August, just after the debt-ceiling debacle.

That sentiment was higher among independents (82 percent) than Republicans (75 percent) and Democrats (68 percent).

Only 20 percent said most members should be re-elected, itself a record low.

“If voters’ current sentiments toward Congress prevail through next November’s election, it is possible that control of the House would flip back to the Democrats,” Gallup editor in chief Frank Newport wrote.

It’s just the latest negative metric for federal legislators. A Gallup poll conducted in November put Congress’ job approval at 13 percent, tying an all-time low.

Still, 53 percent of respondents said they would re-elect their own representative, while 39 percent said they would not. Gallup said those numbers are historically low, but not record lows.

President Barack Obama is also in a precarious position, the poll shows, though not nearly as precarious as Congress. Forty-three percent said he deserves reelection, while 55 percent said he does not. Obama’s low-water mark was 37 percent in October 2010.

The survey of 903 registered voters was conducted from Nov. 28 to Dec. 1, and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

©2011 Tribune Co.

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