Elections rigged toward incumbents?

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A majority of Americans believe that incumbents almost always get re-elected “because the election rules are rigged to benefit Members of Congress,” according to a survey released Sunday.

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Some 68 percent of respondents in the new Rasmussen survey say the high retention rate in Congress is because lawmakers are able to exploit favorable election rules, not because they do a good job representing their constituents.

And 48 percent of likely voters believe that American elections are not fair to voters — the highest percentage since 2004. By contrast, 39 percent of voters say elections are fair. Of the likely voters surveyed, 14 percent say they’re not sure.

In 2012, 90 percent of House members and 91 percent of senators who sought reelection were successful. During the Tea Party wave in 2010, 85 percent of House members and 84 percent of senators seeking reelection still won their seats.

That’s the most significant wave in the House since 1970, when 85 percent also retained their seat. The Senate, where no more than 34 lawmakers are up for reelection each cycle, can prove more volatile, but at least three-quarters of incumbents seeking reelection have retained their seats in every election since 1982.

The Rasmussen survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted on July 9 and 10, and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.

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