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Will we just throw all the bums out?

March 5, 2014, at 11:13 AM
 

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that just 22 percent of Americans want to re-elect their representative in Congress — the lowest percentage since the question was first asked in 1989. A stunning 68 percent want someone new.

Does that mean we're about to see a wholesale turnover of our lawmakers in Congress?

Unfortunately, elections are more often than not choices between the lesser of two evils. And given the choice, Americans almost always stick with the incumbent.

In fact, the incumbent re-election rate since 1989 has been over 90 percent in every election year but two: In 2010 it was 84.9 percent and in 1992 it was 87.6 percent.

ABC News did a little math — a linear regression comparing the poll numbers with the actual incumbent election rate — and projects a re-election rate for incumbents this year of about 75 percent.

That's an amazing figure considering how many Americans say they want a new congressman.

 

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

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