Record percent of voters want members of Congress replaced

In the wake of an unpopular government shutdown, approval ratings for Congress are nearing an all-time low.

A Pew Research poll shows 74 percent of voters think most members of Congress should not be re-elected.

But historically, incumbents have had a more than 90 percent re-election rate.

So is the dysfunction in Washington enough to change voters’ habits at the poll?

Limping along at an 11 percent approval rate, Congress is not on the best terms with the voting public.

“I think obviously some people are frustrated,” said La Crosse resident Jacob Welti.


But despite the frustration, Welti said he doesn’t think it’s enough to change people’s vote come the next election.

“When I think it gets back to the voting on Election Day they’re going to go back to being Republicans and Democrats and stuff like that,” said Welti.

“In the past, it’s always been, ‘We hate the body but we like our own senator or congressman.’ But this year, I’m seeing polls that show the majority want to throw their own congressman or senator out, and that should cause them worry,” said UW-La Crosse political science professor Joe Heim.

Pew Research polling data show 38 percent of voters say their own member of Congress should be replaced.

That’s the highest it’s been in two decades.

But Heim says that doesn’t guarantee people will be changing their vote.

“Polls are a snapshot in time and they change, so as they get closer to 2014 and November, if those numbers change, and they will presumably change in a positive direction, if Congress starts performing better in the next six months, that will bode well for the next election,” said Heim.

“The memory is pretty short-term with people,” said Welti.

And if people don’t change their vote, Welti’s not sure how the problems in Congress will be fixed.

“That’s a pretty complex group of people over there and they all have agendas and motivations and yeah, they get pretty crazy over there in D.C.,” said Welti.

Heim said this Congress has accomplished less in terms of the number of bills passed than any other Congress in the history of the country.

Pew Research data also show only 14 percent of Americans say they are generally satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S.