A new CNN poll shows that 44 percent of Americans do not think their own representative deserves reelection in 2010. Compared to only 31 percent in 2006, and a paltry 15 percent in 2000, this new number represents a significant transformation in the way we assess our legislators.
Americans have always been quick to crucify "Congress" as an abstract collective of bickering, megalomaniacal fatcats incapable of getting real governing done. But when asked to evaluate individual congressmen from their home districts, they have usually changed their tune entirely.
During the 2008 elections, 94 percent of House incumbents and 83 percent of Senate incumbents were reelected, despite the fact that 58 percent of Americans believed most members of Congress did not deserve another chance, according to a CNN poll. Rep. Mike Quigley has called this trend "the schizophrenia of the American people... They hate Congress, but they love their congressmen." Recent data, however, suggest the disease may be in remission.