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Poll: Four in Five Want New Blood in Congress

CBS News Poll analysis by the CBS News Polling Unit: Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus and Anthony Salvanto.


Here's more evidence that it is a dire year to be an incumbent running for re-election: A new CBS News/New York Times poll taken shortly before the midterm elections finds that 80 percent of likely voters say that most members of Congress should be replaced with someone new.

Just 8 percent say most members deserve re-election.

While Congress has long been unpopular, the numbers are worse for incumbents than they were in the 2006 midterm elections. Then, 16 percent said members deserved re-election while 69 percent wanted someone new.

Voters are somewhat more positive about their own member of Congress - but perceptions are still negative. Just 34 percent say their representative deserves re-election, while 58 percent say their representative does not deserve two more years in office.

In 2006, by contrast, roughly one in two said their member deserved to keep his or her job, while 42 percent said it was time for a replacement.

In a troubling sign for Democrats, it is Republican voters who appear to be paying more attention to the campaign. Sixty-four percent of Republican likely voters say they are paying "a lot" of attention, compared to 47 percent of Democrats (and 51 percent of independents).

Overall, 54 percent of likely voters say they are paying a lot of attention to the campaign. Thirty-four percent say they are paying some attention, and 11 percent say they are paying little or no attention.

This is an early release of a portion of the poll of 1,173* (note: this number has been corrected from 1,189) adults nationwide, which was taken between October 22nd and 26th. The full survey will be released at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

This poll was conducted among a random sample of 1,173 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone October 22-26, 2010, including 1086 registered voters, and 1055 likely voters. The effective number of likely voters is 463. Phone numbers were dialed from RDD samples of both standard land-lines and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups is higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.
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