The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

December 11, 2013

AP-GfK poll: Public admiration of Obama drops

(Continued)

Obama isn't running for office again. But all 435 House seats and one-third of the Senate's 100 seats are on the ballot next year.

The low opinions of Congress don't necessarily signal major power shifts after that election in the Republican-controlled House and Democratic-run Senate.

House Democrats need to gain at least 17 net seats to claim the majority. But many House districts are so solidly liberal or conservative that incumbents can withstand notable drops in popularity and keep their seats.

Republicans hope to gain six Senate seats overall to retake control for the final two years of Obama's presidency.

On one major issue, most Americans continue to favor providing a path to legal status for millions of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. Fifty-five percent support it, and 43 percent oppose.

The Senate passed a major immigration bill that would provide a legalization path, which Obama supports. But the House has sidelined the issue so far.

Despite the relatively low opinions of Congress and Obama, the national mood is not quite as bleak as it was in October, when partisan stalemate led to a 16-day partial government shutdown and fears of a possible default.

More Americans now say things are heading in the right direction and the economy is improving, the AP-GfK poll found. But those figures are still fairly anemic, below 40 percent.

Democrats have a slim edge as the party Americans would prefer to control Congress, 39 percent to 33 percent. But a sizable 27 percent say it doesn't matter who's in charge.

In a sign of public discontent, 62 percent of registered voters say they'd like someone new to win their congressional district next year, while 37 percent support their incumbent's re-election. That's a worrisome trend for incumbents' campaigns.

Four years ago, polls by NBC News/Wall Street Journal and Marist found fewer than half of Americans wanting their own representative ousted.

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