Poll: Incumbents face tough midterm landscape

Members of Congress running for reelection are facing one of the toughest landscapes in recent history with a poll showing congressional approval and overall satisfaction near record lows.

According to a Gallup poll released Monday, only 16 percent of people approve of Congress's job performance. While its approval rating has remained near record lows for the past few years, the 16 percent approval represents the lowest rating heading into a midterm election since 1974. 

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The previous low came in 2010, when 21 percent of people approved of Congress heading into the election that saw Republicans retake the House. 

"The political environment in which the 2014 elections are being contested promises to be difficult for congressional incumbents, as public attitudes on key indicators that predict election outcomes are comparatively worse than in prior midterm election years," Gallup wrote in an analysis. 

Only 23 percent of people are satisfied with the way things are going in the country — a single point above the previous record low in 2010. 

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) lost his primary last Tuesday to an underfunded candidate, Dave Brat — highlighting the difficulty for some incumbents.

"Cantor's defeat last Tuesday can serve as a pointed reminder for incumbents seeking re-election of just how vulnerable they may be this year," Gallup wrote. 

Democrats are also vulnerable as President Obama's approval rating stands in the low 40s.

Obama's approval rating heading into the midterm elections is 44 percent, the same level it was heading into 2010. The president's approval rating heading into a midterm election has been lower only twice before in the last 30 years — once in 1982 when Ronald Reagan's hit 42 percent and in 2006 when George W. Bush's fell to 38 percent. 

Forty-four percent of people say economic issues are the most important issue facing the country. 

That is down from 2010, when 69 percent rated the economy as the top concern. It still above the average heading into the midterms.

The poll surveyed 1,027 people from June 5-8 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.