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Many U.S. voters say scandals will affect their vote in November congressional elections

Many U.S. voters say scandals will affect their vote in November congressional elections

Scandals that have dogged Congress for the past year are prominent in the minds of many voters in November who say corruption will influence their vote significantly, yet another hurdle for the ruling but embattled Republican Party.
With congressional elections less than five weeks away, the latest Associated Press-Ipsos poll found that about half of likely voters say disclosures of corruption and scandal in Congress will be very or extremely important when they enter the voting booth.
About two out of three of those voters said they would cast their ballots for Democrats in races for the 435 House of Representatives seats, further complicating the political landscape for Republicans already struggling against negative public perceptions.
In addition to the House, the Nov. 7 elections will decide 33 Senate seats and 36 of the 50 state governorships.
The poll was conducted this week as House Republican leaders came under increasing pressure to explain what they knew of sexually explicit messages from former Rep. Mark Foley to teenage pages in the House. Last month, another Republican, Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio, admitted that he accepted trips, meals and other gifts in exchange for legislative favors.
In that roiling environment, the poll found that, by a margin of nearly 2-to-1, likely voters say Democrats would better combat corruption than Republicans. More troubling to Republicans, likely voters in some crucial Republican groups were split on whether to trust Democrats or Republicans to clean up corruption.
Voter perceptions about corruption underscore a strong sense of dissatisfaction, if not outright anger, toward Congress. And they help explain the pessimism with which some Republicans in and outside Congress now view their chances on Election Day.
Among likely voters, 28 percent said they are angry at Republican leaders in Congress and 35 percent said they were dissatisfied but not angry.
Rep. Mike Simpson told the Associated Press that Republicans had been somewhat upbeat in early September, believing they would lose only a handful of House seats and still retain their majority. But after Foley's electronic exchanges with teenage boys became public on Friday, Simpson said he now is "not confident" they can keep control of the House.
"From Thursday it went (from) fairly confident we were going to keep the majority to a real tossup," he said.
The Foley scandal, with its proximity to the elections and its simple set of facts, has sent Republican leaders and GOP candidates on a political detour just as they were preparing their final offensive against Democrats to save control of Congress. Since Friday, the Foley affair has broadened amid questions about who in the GOP leadership had been warned about his behavior.
Like other Democrats, Joe Courtney, who is challenging Republican Rep. Rob Simmons, has demanded the resignation of House Speaker Dennis Hastert over the Foley matter. But he said voters raised the subject without prompting during campaign stops last weekend.
"This Congress wasn't exactly held in high regard before this incident," he said. "It has a life of its own."
Whether they live in the suburbs or cities or rural areas, likely voters tended to trust Democrats more than Republicans to handle corruption. That did not necessarily mean they would vote for Democratic candidates, but the results highlighted a vulnerability for Republicans. Even suburban men, traditionally a strong Republican voting bloc, were divided about which party could deal with the problem of corruption better.
Overall, Democrats maintained a 10-percentage point lead over Republicans in House races. Fifty-one percent of likely voters said they would vote for the Democrat in their congressional district; 41 percent said they would vote for the Republican. That is essentially unchanged from last month.
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AP Manager of News Surveys Trevor Tompson and Associated Press Writers Philip Elliott and Kasie Hunt contributed to this report.
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On the Net:
http://www.ap-ipsosresults.com


Updated : 2021-04-12 12:27 GMT+08:00