Non-Voters are Anti-Incumbent and Angry, Stupid Poll Finds
A new CNN/Opinion Research poll shows deep-seated anger toward incumbents–moreso than in 1994.
Most Americans are angry about “something” when it comes to how the country is run, and they are more likely than in previous years to vote for a challenger this November, a new poll suggests.
A majority of Americans surveyed — and a higher percentage than recorded during the same time last year — said things in the United States are going “badly.” Among this year’s respondents, 29 percent said “pretty badly” and 25 percent — up from 15 percent a month ago — answered “very badly.” By comparison, 37 percent described the way things are going as “fairly well,” and 9 percent answered “very well.” Of these people, 76 percent said there was “something” to be angry about in the country today. By comparison, 59 percent felt that way when polled in February. Only 21 percent said they were “generally content” in the latest poll.
A majority — 55 percent — said they are more likely to back a challenger in races on this year’s ballot. Such anti-incumbent sentiment is higher than the 48 percent recorded as “pro-challenger” in a similar survey in 1994, when the GOP took control of both houses of Congress.
Nonetheless, 48 percent said that, if most of the present members of Congress were replaced with new members, there would be no difference. By contrast, 42 percent said such a scenario would change Congress for the better, and 7 percent said it would change Congress for the worse.
Disturbing news for incumbents, right? Probably so. Then again, we have known that for at least a year.
This poll, however, does not shed any useful light on the subject:
The results, based on a half-sample of 1,004 adult Americans polled by Opinion Research Corporation for CNN Wednesday through Saturday have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.
Adult Americans? Not even registered voters. Let alone likely voters, which is what real pollsters look at this close to election day. You might as well consult a Magic 8-Ball as poll “adults.” The results would be nearly as accurate and a whole lot cheaper.
UPDATE: Rob Autry, a colleague of my wife’s at POS, agrees: “With 63 freakin’ days to go, you would think the media types would realize that it might be time to start focusing on the voters.” In a previous post, he put it quite succinctly: “If you are doing a poll about the ‘06 elections, make sure you do it among those who can actually vote in the ‘06 elections.”
Disclaimer: My wife is a VP at Public Opinion Strategies, a political polling firm.