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How Will Congress’s Low Popularity Affect Indiana Voters?

"We’re obviously at a point where there has been a tremendous dysfunction in the House and the Senate."

Congress

Photo: Cliff1066

Congress's popularity is the lowest it's been since the 1930s, says a Purdue political scientist.

According to a Purdue University researcher, Congress’s popularity is the lowest it’s been in 80 years.

“From the 1930s on, this is one of the lowest points that it’s ever reached,” political scientist Glenn Parker said. “Part of it is the economy—and some of it is attributed to the presidency. It’s the conflict between Congress and the President that, I think, lowers Congressional esteem—and I think probably also Presidential popularity, too.”

At the beginning of August, Gallup polls reported President Obama’s approval rating at 42 percent, with his standing among independents during debt negotiations falling nine points in four weeks.

But what does Congress’s low popularity mean for Indiana representatives, this coming election?

Indiana University political science professor Marjorie Hershey says at this point, it’s hard to say how voters will behave.

“Even a month can be a lifetime in politics,” she said. “We’re obviously at a point where there has been a tremendous dysfunction in the House and the Senate, and there’s going to be a response to that, but the question is what the response is. The nature of that response is going to make a big difference in what voters decide to do in 2012.”

Purdue’s Glenn Parker believes Indiana’s congressmen are safe, though.

“I don’t see any of them at this point losing their jobs,” he said. “I mean, most of the Indiana delegation is Republican, and the state is largely Republican, and I suspect it will remain so. People may not vote. I think that’s most likely what will happen: A lot less people going out to vote.”

Only municipal elections, which regularly produce small turnouts, will be decided in November.

Rachel Lyon

A native of Brooklyn, NY, Rachel Lyon came to Bloomington in 2009 to pursue her MFA in Creative Writing at IU. At WFIU, she is an announcer for All Things Considered and classical music, and she produces features for Artworks. Rachel's glad to be working in radio again after a long drought since her undergraduate years, when she was a DJ for WPRB, the independent station in Princeton, NJ.

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