Polling Down

A bizarre occurrence in the world of politics this week: for the first time in the history of the Washington Post/ABC News “Approve of Your Congress Member” poll (also called the “Swear into the Phone Receiver in a Problematically Jingoistic Tirade about your Congress Member’s Lack of Patriotism” poll), the majority of respondents disapproved of their representative’s performance.

This is a dichotomy that has always amused and/or puzzled me.  Congress’ approval rating is usually awful, and yet often 90% of it is reelected every two years — meaning people think their specific representative is not to blame. Everyone thinks that the member representing their district is fighting the good fight, hamstrung by those a) liberal apologist flag-burners, or b) neocon redneck bible-thumpers, or c) lizard people.  But this poll is almost a reversal of that trend — blame being applied at the individual level, rather than to the gestalt entity of Congress with a capital C.

Does it mean anything for 2014’s midterms?  Probably not.  But I am curious to see if the trend continues, because at some point having enough people dislike you must erase incumbent advantage.  That’s a democracy.  Right?

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