For the first time ever, a majority of Americans disapprove of their own House representative, a Washington Post-ABC News poll revealed Tuesday.
A full 51% of Americans said they disapproved of the work their own member of Congress was doing, the first time more than 50% of respondents have said that in the 25 years the survey has asked the same question.
The results signal a new level of dissatisfaction, one that should trouble incumbents heading into the midterm elections. Historically, as congressional approval ratings have suffered, most people saw their own member of Congress differently. (To whit: just 36% of respondents in a recent Pew poll said they wanted to unseat their own member of Congress, while 69% said they wanted to unseat most members.)
But the new survey indicates that view may be changing, particularly in Republican-held districts.
The Democratic brand fared better than Republicans’ in the poll, with Democrats earning 49% favorability ratings, while the GOP enjoyed just 35% of Americans’ approval. Among those who identified themselves as partisan, 85% of Democrats favored their party representatives, while 79% of Republicans felt the same. Independents also voiced more opposition toward Republicans than Democrats.
Just 41% of Americans say they approve of their representatives, down 2 points from last October, after the 16-day government shutdown plummeted congressional approval, and another new low for the survey.
Americans’ frustration with Congress is reflected in other polls, too: just 3% said they thought Congress had been “very productive” this year in a recent NBC News/Marist poll.
Still, while frustration and disapproval may be growing, it's not expected to largely affect the midterm elections, as Republicans are expected to hang on to their majority in the House and other polls signal that they may even have a shot at retaking the Senate in 2014.