Poll suggests 2012 change in power in Washington

Rachel Rose Hartman
The Ticket

Prior to the elections of 1994, 2006 and 2010 when party control changed hands in the House or Senate, many Americans said incumbents didn't deserve re-election.

Now, we're seeing the highest number of Americans in two decades who agree with that sentiment, spelling another potential "wave" election for 2012, USA Today reports.

Only 24 percent of all adults surveyed in the USA Today/Gallup poll said most members of Congress deserve re-election "the lowest percentage since Gallup began asking the question in 1991" the newspaper reports.  USA Today notes this is similar to the level of support polled prior to the 1994, 2006 and 2010 elections. In 1994, Republicans won control of both the House and Senate. In 2006, Democrats won control of both the House and Senate. And last fall, Republicans won control of the House.

However, the poll shows that 56 percent of adults believe their own representative deserves re-election.

So how does this affect President Obama's support?

The poll shows the president is on shaky ground.

A majority of Americans--51 percent--believe he doesn't deserve re-election. Forty-seven percent said he does. When pitted against an unnamed Republican, President Obama narrowly leads 49 to 45 percent. But Obama still remains below the crucial 50 percent mark in that scenario.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leads the potential GOP field in this poll--as he has in many national polls-- with 24 percent support. He's followed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry who received 17 percent support. Perry has yet to declare his intention to run, but is expected to do so this Saturday-- the same day as the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa.

Perry is followed in the survey by Texas Rep. Ron Paul with 14 percent support and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann with 13 percent.