Incumbents beware: Approval of Congress on pace for record low in midterm year

Just 16 percent of the American public approves of the job Congress is doing, according to a new Gallup poll. If that figure doesn't  tick up by the fall election, it will mark a record low in Gallup polling on the eve of a midterm.

The finding gives congressional incumbents running for reelection more reason to worry. Other polls have shown an anti-incumbent sentiment running high.

As the following chart shows, even in the Republican midterm wave election years of 2010 and 1994, congressional approval as measured by Gallup just before the election was in the low 20s, higher than it is right now.

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There is cause for Democratic concern in the survey. President Obama's approval rating currently stands at just 44 percent, which is where it was in Gallup's polling just before the 2010 election. A cornerstone of the GOP's 2014 campaign strategy is to tie Democratic incumbents to the Obama and his policies.

The new Gallup poll, conducted from June 5-8, also shows low satisfaction with the the direction of the country. Just 23 percent say they are satisfied with the way things are going -- roughly on par with 2010 (22 percent) but lower than 1994 (30 percent)

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Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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