Sunday, September 6, 2009

Lawmakers Seek Political Survival

Political survival will be high on lawmakers' minds when the Democratic-led U.S. Congress returns to work on Tuesday amid widespread voter dissatisfaction with its performance.

While the debates over healthcare reform, global warming and banking legislation and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will dominate the airwaves, many incumbents, both Democrats and Republicans, are beginning to worry about holding on to their seats in November 2010 elections.

Polls show only about one-third of Americans approve of how lawmakers are doing, less than a year after President Barack Obama led Democrats to big gains in Congress.

Surveys find voters have a dim view of both parties, but history suggests Obama's Democrats face greater risks because they control Congress and the White House.

"There's a lot of discontent out there and when that's the case the party in power pretty inevitably gets the blame," said Dean Debnam of Public Policy Polling, a private firm.

A recent survey Public Policy Polling underscored the anti-incumbent mood.

It found that only 47 percent of voters say they would vote to reelect their member of Congress. Incumbents have long received upward of 60 percent of the vote.

The poor poll figures frustrate Democrats who have touted the major legislation they passed with Obama's help.

- Reuters

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