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Poll: Record number of Americans unhappy with Congress

  • Story Highlights
  • Fifty-three percent of those surveyed say most lawmakers don't deserve re-election
  • Democrats got higher marks than Republicans in the poll
  • Democrats lead both Senate and House after 12 years of GOP control
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A record number of Americans say that most members of Congress do not deserve to be re-elected, according to new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll.

Next year could be rocky for incumbents as a new poll shows dissatisfaction with Congress.

Democrats fared better than Republicans, according to the poll released Friday. If the elections for Congress were held today, Democratic candidates would get 53 percent of the vote and Republicans would get 42 percent, according to the results.

Party affiliation aside, 2008 could be a rocky year for incumbents.

While overshadowed now by the race for the White House, the battle for control of Congress will heat up next year.

Fifty-three percent of those surveyed said that most members of Congress do not deserve re-election -- the highest figure since the question was first asked in 1991. Except for one downturn in October 2004, those numbers have been rising since April 2002.

Americans think more highly of the lawmaker representing them, but 39 percent say their own member of Congress does not deserve re-election. That view is also a record high since polling began on that question in 1991. See the results »

Broken down by party, GOP lawmakers received less support for re-election from the public than Democrats.

"The public seems to be concentrating its wrath on the GOP. Only 38 percent believe that most Republican members of Congress deserve re-election. But 50 percent say that most Democrats in Congress deserve to be re-elected," said Keating Holland, CNN's polling director.

Last year voters gave the Democrats control of both houses of Congress for the first time since 1994. But their lead is tenuous.

The Senate is split 49-49 between Democrats and Republicans. But thanks to the support of two independent senators who ally themselves with Democrats, the party holds a razor thin 51-49 advantage in the Senate.


In the House of Representatives, the lead is slightly larger, with the Democrats holding a 30-seat margin.

The CNN/Opinion Research telephone poll of 1,024 American adults was carried out November 2 through Sunday. The sampling error for the full sample was plus or minus 3 percentage points; some questions were asked of a half sample of about 500 respondents. That sample carries a sampling error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Keating Holland, Katy Byron and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

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