Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey

Poll: 53% of Americans Satisfied with House and Senate Candidates; Independent and Independent-Leaning Republicans Least Satisfied

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While 73 percent of Americans say most members of Congress do not deserve to be reelected this November, Reason-Rupe finds that 53 percent are yet still satisfied with the candidates running for Congress in their own districts. However, only 9 percent report being "very satisfied" while 44 percent are "somewhat satisfied." Thirty-four percent are unsatisfied (20% somewhat, 14% very), while 12 percent don't have an opinion.

In keeping with America's federalist tradition, Americans are more supportive of candidates closer to home. Fifty-seven percent say they are satisfied with candidates for state level offices, and a third are dissatisfied. Slightly more, 62 percent, are satisfied with candidates for local level offices, and a quarter are dissatisfied.

Strong Democratic (60%) and Republican (56%) partisan voters are about equally likely to report satisfaction for their districts' House and Senate candidates for the upcoming midterm elections. Only 3 in 10 report dissatisfaction with state-level candidates.

However, independent and independent-leaning Republican voters are least likely to be happy with candidates running in their districts. Instead, 53 percent of non-partisan independents and 48 percent of independent-leaning Republican voters say they are dissatisfied with the House and Senate candidates running in their districts. Independent-leaning Democrats are similar to strong Democrats with only 30 percent dissatisfied.  

Similarly at the state-level, pluralities of Independents and independent leaning-Republicans are dissatisfied (roughly 46%) with state level candidate options, while about 4 in 10 are satisfied. Conversely, majorities (6 in 10) of strong partisans are satisfied with state-level candidate choices, and 27 percent are dissatisfied.

Independents are more supportive of local-level candidates. Both partisan and independent leaners are satisfied with candidates for local level offices—roughly 60 to 70 percent. About a quarter are dissatisfied.

Only at the local level do a plurality (48%) of non-partisan independents report satisfaction with candidate options, with a third dissatisfied.

Taking a closer look at who these dissatisfied voters are reveals they tend to come disproportionately from independent and independent-leaning Republican voters, are more male (57%), and are more likely to favor smaller government and free market solutions to complex economic problems.

These results comport with oft-found survey results that Americans dislike Congress but like their own member of Congress. They also demonstrate that candidates running closer to home receive higher marks than federal-level candidates.

These data also suggest that Republican candidates must deal with more unpredictable voters, as independent-leaning Republicans are considerably less happy with their candidates than independent-leaning Democrats and partisan voters.

The Reason-Rupe national telephone poll, executed by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, conducted live interviews with 1004 adults on cell phones (503) and landlines (501) October 1-6, 2014. The poll's margin of error is +/-3.8%. Full poll results can be found here including poll toplines (pdf)  and crosstabs (xls).