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Rangel Still Popular in NY

February 26, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

It’s sort of common knowledge that members of Congress are more popular in their own district or state than they are nationally. They look out for local industry, focus on issues affecting their constituents and secure earmarks that bring disproportionate federal money to their area. Good stuff if you’re benefiting from it.

The powerful House Ways and Rep. Charles Rangel [D, NY-15] is a great example. For the past year or so, he’s been tied up in some really ugly ethics investigations. Yesterday, he was found to have violated House ethics rules by accepting paid vacations from corporations that employ lobbyists. But look at his approval numbers — only 12.9% nationally approve of the job he’s doing, while a full 67% of New Yorkers approve.

The 2010 election is expected to be dominated by anti-incumbency, anti-establishment sentiment, and it is expected to straddle both the Republicans and the Democrats. In fact, speculation is that this year it might actual be better to get rid of your party’s incumbent in the primaries and run a fresh candidate.

But I suspect this difference in local vs. national support like we can see with Rangel will have a bigger impact than is generally assumed. In November, the “throw the bums out …but not my Rep., she’s alright” feeling might help keep a few more current members of Congres around than most are expecting.

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