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Field Poll: Views of Congress remain in the doldrums

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California voters continue to harbor exceedingly negative views of Congress and have turned sour on their own House representative, according to the latest Field Poll.

With eight weeks to go before the Nov. 4 election, the survey found 75 percent of voters disapprove and 13 percent approve of Congress’ job performance. Golden State voters’ overall assessment differs little from the previous dozen polls dating back to 2010, and is consistent with national measures showing congressional representatives being viewed in low esteem.

However, voters’ opinions of their own representative have undergone a dramatic shift for the worse in the last few months: 40 percent disapprove and 36 percent approve. That’s down from an April poll that found 44 percent approved and 33 percent disapproved.

“This is a historic development,” said said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll. “What you are seeing is the negativity toward Congress is starting to infect voters assessment of job performance of their own representative.”

That could be bad news for incumbents.

California Democrats are defending a handful of seats in the upcoming election, including districts held by Reps. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, in suburban Sacramento, Scott Peters, D-San Diego, Raul Ruiz, D-Palm Desert, and Julia Brownley, D-Westlake Village.

Bera said he shares the frustrations many people have with the dysfunction in Washington. “People want representatives who will make Congress a place for service, and put the people they represent before politics,” Bera said.

To that end, he pointed to his efforts in cosponsoring a measure that withholds pay to lawmakers unless they pass a budget and his leadership of the bipartisan No Labels Problem Solvers coalition.

“It's no wonder approval ratings are at an all time low, Congressman Bera went to Washington, D.C. and became a politician,” Ose said. He criticized Bera as having “nothing to say about our lagging economy and poor housing market.”

Bera “has no proposals for dealing with our dwindling water supply, avoids discussing the president's foreign policy misjudgments, and supports increased regulations” Ose added. “In the real world, such behavior would get you fired.”

The poll found 46 percent of likely voterss are inclined to support the Democratic candidate and 38 percent say they’ll back the GOP candidate in November.

Clay McAmis, a Democrat who participated in the poll, said he’s unhappy with the work federal representatives are doing on Capitol Hall.

“They spend too much time messing around,” said the 58-year-old Carmichael resident. “They don’t come in when they need to and they spend too much time generating money for themselves and their campaigns. They always wait until the last minute to act and a lot of them just (take) knee-jerk votes.”

McAmis, a custodian who is represented by Bera, told the poll he disapproves of his job performance, but nonetheless said he’s leaning toward voting for him.

Considering his status as a freshman Democrat, Bera is doing “as good as he can,” McAmis said. However, “all of our representatives are not doing what they should do.”

This is only the second time the Field Poll has asked voters to give their assessments of their own members. The Public Policy Institute of California has been gauging voter approval or their own representatives since May 2005, and never have more people disapproved than approved. A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll found that for the first time in 25 years more Americans disapprove of the job their own member of Congress is doing.

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