American Voters Make Me Sad

Categories: Elections, Politics
Comments: No Comments
Published on: 2014.10.12

According to a Gallup poll released in September, only 36 percent of U.S. adults could correctly name which political party controls each of the two houses of Congress. Another 23 percent got the answer correct for just one house.

Perhaps I should be encouraged that only 14% of respondents got both wrong. Or should I be saddened that a full 22% said they were “unsure” of either both or one of the houses of Congress?

The answers didn’t change significantly by party. Those leaning Democrat were just as likely to get it wrong as those who identified as Republican. (Republicans were more likely to get one house’s controlling party correct, while Democrats were slightly more likely to be “unsure”.)

For me, the only bright spot in this poll is that people who said they’re registered to vote were much more likely to get both correct than those who said they weren’t registered to vote. But it was still only 41%.

That’s right. Only 41% of registered voters in the U.S. can correctly identify the controlling party of both houses of Congress. (59% were wrong on at least one house, or unsure.)

In case one of those 59% stumbles across this blog entry before the next election, here you go:

As of October 2014:

* the Democratic Party controls the Senate by a slender majority of 53-45 (there are 2 independents)

* the Republican Party controls the House of Representatives by a 233-199 majority (there are 3 vacant seats)

In less than a month, many of us will vote on our congressional representatives. All 435 seats in the House are up for election (all terms end every two years), and 36 Senate seats will be voted on.

Veteran statistics site 538 predicts Republicans will gain control of the Senate for the first time since 2006, though there’s no chance they’ll obtain a “supermajority” (60 or more Senators).

No one is predicting Democrats will regain control of the House, which they lost in the 2010 midterm elections, despite more voters casting ballots for Democratic candidates. (You might remember this happened in 2012 — more people voted Democrat, but Republicans won more seats.)

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