Field Poll: DiFi drawing flack

The latest statewide Field Poll examines how California voters view the U.S. Congress, their inclination to re-elect their current congressional representative, and their assessments of the job performance of U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.

Highlights from the survey include the following:

–Just 11% of California voters approve of the job the U.S. Congress is doing overall, while 84% disapprove, very close to a record low.

–While Californians view the job performance of both congressional Democrats and Republicans in a negative light, more voters are critical of the job being done by congressional Republicans than Democrats.

–Significantly fewer voters in GOP districts than those in Democratic districts across the state are inclined to support the re-election of their congressional representative in next year’s election.

–Voter assessments of the state’s two U.S. Senators are now quite similar, with slightly more approving than disapproving of the job each is doing. However, each Senator’s ratings are moving in opposite directions, with an increasing proportion of voters critical of Feinstein, and a growing number viewing Boxer in a favorable light.

The complete survey, with a description  of the questions and methodology, can be viewed here

Californians’ view of the job performance of the U.S. Congress nears record low
Currently just 11% of California voters approve of the job performance of the U.S. Congress, while 84% disapprove. This is close to the record low appraisal of the Congress set in September 2011 when just 9% of Californians rated the Congress positively and 86% offered a negative assessment. This highly unfavorable view of the Congress is shared by virtually identical proportions of by the state’s rank-and-file Democrats, Republicans and independents.

Californians more critical of the performance of congressional Republicans than Democrats
While majorities of voters view both congressional Democrats and Republicans negatively, they offer a more critical assessment of the job performance of congressional Republicans than Democrats. Just one in five voters (20%) approves of the job being done by Republicans in Congress, while 72% disapprove. When asked about the performance of congressional Democrats 34% approve and 55% disapprove.

Not surprisingly, views about each party’s congressional representatives are highly partisan, with voters from each party extremely critical of the performance of the other party’s representatives. However, while rank-and-file Democrats are more likely to approve than disapprove of the job performance of their own party’s representatives in Congress, among rank-and-file Republicans more view their party’s congressional representatives negatively than positively.

Fewer voters in the state’s GOP-held congressional districts than Democratic districts are inclined to re-elect their representative next year
California has fifty-three members in the U.S. House of Representatives, of whom 38 are Democrats and 15 Republicans. There will be an election next fall in each of these districts. In its latest survey The Field Poll asked voters statewide whether they were inclined or not inclined to re-elect their incumbent representative should he or she run again next year. The results show that by a 47% to 36% margin voters living in congressional districts represented by Democratic officeholders currently support the re-election of their representative next year. However, in districts held by Republicans, just 36% are inclined to support their incumbent’s re-election, while 43% are not.

Decline in voter assessments of Feinstein’s performance as U.S. Senator
The current survey also finds more voters approving (43%) than disapproving (36%) of the job being done by Feinstein. However, this represents a decline from past measures and is now among the poorest ratings that Feinstein has received during her twenty years in office. As recently as September 2012 nearly twice as many voters held a positive view of her performance in office (53%) as a negative view (28%). Views about Feinstein are now more partisan than previously, with Democrats viewing her positively 64% to 18% and Republicans rating her negatively 68% to 12%.

Boxer job ratings up and are now comparable to those of Feinstein
Throughout most of her tenure Boxer has typically received somewhat lower job approval ratings than her Democratic colleague Feinstein. That is no longer the case. The latest Field Poll finds 44% of voters statewide approving of the job Boxer is doing, while 37% disapprove, a very similar assessment as given Feinstein. In addition, Boxer’s current ratings are more positive than those she’s received in Field Poll surveys conducted over the past three years.

Boxer’s ratings have always been highly partisan and remain so in the current survey. Among Democrats 67% approve, while 15% disapprove of her performance. By contrast, nearly three in four Republicans (74%) view her performance negatively, and just 13% rate her positively.

Ed’s Note: The findings in this report are based on a Field Poll completed November 14-December 5, 2013 among1,002 registered voters in California. Interviewing was conducted by telephone using live interviewers workingfrom Field Research Corporation’s central location telephone interviewing facilities in San Diego. The maximum sampling error for results from the overallsample is +/- 3.2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, while findings from the random subsamples have a sampling error of approximately +/- 4.5 percentage points.


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