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Pew Poll: A Warning Sign for Incumbents

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
A new Pew Research poll found that only 21 percent of respondents approved of the job GOP Congressional leaders are doing.

The American public’s unhappiness with Congress has reached historical heights according to a Pew Research poll released today.

The survey doesn't bode well for incumbents seeking another term next year. Two-thirds of the voters surveyed said most Members of Congress should not be re-elected in 2012. A Pew memo described those figures as “the highest on record” for that response.

Anger at respondents’ own Representative “matches the all-time high recorded,” which was set in 2010.

Neither Republican or Democratic leadership fair well in the survey, but Republicans are less popular. Thirty-one percent of those polled approved of Democratic Congressional leaders' performance, while only 21 percent approved of Republican leadership.

Part of the Republican unpopularity comes from its own base, as 44 percent of Republicans disapproved of GOP Congressional leaders. As for rank-and-file Members, 70 percent of Republican respondents said most Members of Congress should be replaced.

Independents “are particularly critical of the Republican Party,” the survey found. Independents said Republicans are “more extreme” in their positions by a 24-point margin, and “they are twice as likely to label the Republicans than the Democrats as the less honest and ethical party.”

The poll of 1,521 adults was conducted Dec. 7-11 on landline and cellphones.

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