Politics & Government

Field Poll: Views of Congress remain in the doldrums

California voters continue to harbor exceedingly negative views of the work conducted by Congress and, in a major development, feelings about their own House representatives have turned sour, according to the latest Field Poll.

With eight weeks to go before the general 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 representatives appear to have undergone a dramatic shift for the worse in the last few months, dropping to 40 percent disapproval, 36 percent approval and 24 percent no opinion. That’s down from an April poll that found 44 percent approved and 33 percent disapproved.

While the last measure was the first of its kind by the Field Poll, the Public Policy Institute of California has been gauging voter approval for their own representatives since May 2005, and never have more people disapproved than approved. Nationally, 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. Approval stood at just 41 percent.

“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.”

The assessments of individual House members were significantly lower among those in the state’s 15 Republican-held districts than in its 38 Democratic seats.

Poor ratings of the body are widespread, and greater than seven in 10 among Democrats, Republicans and nonpartisans. The poll also found among likely voters, 46 percent plan to choose the Democrat, 38 percent will pick the Republican and 16 percent are undecided about their House selection in November.

California Democrats are defending a handful of seats in the upcoming election, including districts held by Ami Bera of Elk Grove, Scott Peters of San Diego, Raul Ruiz of Palm Desert in Riverside County and Julia Brownley of Westlake Village in Los Angeles County.

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