If you were happy to see establishment Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor booted from his seat by underdog conservative David Brat, you’re going to love the predictions made in new polling data out from Gallup.
The polling agency predicts that voter frustration over lackluster performance from Congress combined with widespread dissatisfaction with the Obama Administration is going to cause problems for incumbents during the midterms this fall.
Gallup’s data show that fewer than one in four Americans are satisfied with the current state of affairs in the U.S. Based on the approval ratings recorded for President Barack Obama, 44 percent, and Congress, 16 percent, it’s clear who Americans are blaming for their dissatisfaction.
The polling agency notes that when Congressional approval is low during election cycles, incumbents tend to be sent packing. And Obama’s unpopularity spells particular danger for Democrats hoping to hold on to their districts.
“Although the president is not a candidate in midterm election years, his standing with voters is usually a significant predictor of election outcomes. When presidents are unpopular, their party typically loses a substantial number of seats in the House of Representatives,” Gallup says. “Conversely, in the 1998 and 2002 elections, when Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush had approval ratings above 60%, their parties gained House seats, providing rare exceptions to the historical trend of midterm seat losses for the president’s party.”
Noting that President Obama’s approval numbers are more reflective of George W. Bush in 2006 and Ronald Reagan in 1982, Gallup suggests that the midterms could bring big losses for Democrats.
“In those years, the president’s party lost more than 20 seats,” the polling agency reports.
Gallup’s analysts predict that the chances of Obama, the Democrats and the overall Congressional incumbency turning the tide before this fall are low, adding that it’s more likely that approval ratings will plummet further.