WASHINGTON -- A poll by a Democratic firm reveals the precarious situation facing incumbents of both parties heading into the 2012 election.
The poll, conducted by Democracy Corps, sampled 60 battleground U.S. House districts represented by Republicans and found the President is losing to Rick Perry by 4 points and Mitt Romney by 6 points.
However, by a 51-40 margin, the more that voters in those districts learn about their incumbent Republican Congressman, the less they like him or her, which is down from a 44-42 margin in March.
Dissatisfaction with the current political climate is setting up an unpredictable electoral dynamic heading into the 2012 elections.
With a divided government and some polls showing that between 70 percent and 80 percent of voters believe the country is on the wrong track, it is possible that the elections could turn the political landscape in Washington upside-down.
While President Obama faces sagging poll numbers, Congress faces approval ratings near historic lows. At this early juncture, it is plausible that the nation could end up with a Republican President and a Democratic House in 2013.
This could signal that voter discontent will be directed at their incumbent representatives, even those who were previously popular.
A poll conducted by Public Policy Polling, another Democratic group, found that Senator Scott Brown's (R-Mass.) job approval rating had dropped from a 48-36 to 44-45.
Additionally, while voters tend to give poor ratings to Congress as a whole and rate their own representatives highly, this may no longer be the case. The percentage of voters who strongly disapprove of their incumbent congressman has gone up 7 points, from 25 percent to 32 percent, since March.
The Democracy Corps poll was unusual in that it surveyed respondents from House districts carried by President Obama in 2008 but that have incumbent Republican representatives; voters were asked whether they would vote to reelect their current congressman, by name. Seventy-five percent of Democrats, 54 percent of Independents and 20 percent of Republicans said they "can't vote to reelect [the House incumbent]."