Cumberland Times-News

October 29, 2013

No love lost

Voters may use 2014 election to replace those in Congress

Cumberland Times-News

— If ever the public has been in the mood to use the ballot box to throw out the bums in Washington, it may be in the 2014 election.

After a 16-day shutdown of the government and the debacle known as Obamacare, few voters are feeling love for Congress.

A USA Today/Princeton Survey Research Poll shows that a near-majority of people believe Congress would be more effective if every single member was defeated for re-election. Forty-seven percent of those asked said Congress would benefit from a wholesale change.

Twice in recent memory — 1994 and 2006 — in-fighting and gridlock frustrated voters enough that they turned Congress leadership upside down. In 1994, Democrats lost their majority in the House and in 2006, Republicans were unseated from power. In both instances, advance polls indicated voters had lost confidence in congressional leadership.

In the aftermath of this year’s shutdown, Republicans clearly are bearing the brunt of the blame. Twenty-nine percent blame Republicans for the deadlock, 12 percent blame Democrats, and 56 percent blame both parties. Five percent did not know who to blame or had no response.

The survey of 1,001 adults, taken Thursday through Sunday, has a margin of error is +/-4 percentage points.

“This is a real warning about the GOP pursuing this strategy in 2014,” Steven Schier, a political scientist at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., and co-author of American Government and Popular Discontent, told USA Today. “The telling moment will come in January and February, when we face another debt limit and a possible shutdown.”

Maybe the two sides will finally find some common ground once the new year begins. If they don’t, there are likely to be plenty of political causalities when voters go to voting booth in the November 2014 general election.