What does this mean for Congress? In seven weeks, 435 U.S. House seats and 33 U.S. Senate seats will be determined. When approval ratings are low, there is usually a higher turnover rate come Election Day (see 2010 as an example). Add to that this is an election cycle after redistricting, meaning incumbents are being paired in the same district, they are retiring, or they are losing elections after being drawn into less favorable districts.
In 1992, a similar electoral environment, more than 100 new members of Congress were elected. Currently we are guaranteed to see 62 new faces in the House and 11 new faces in the Senate. After November 6th it’s possible that number could be as high as 90 new faces. Given the high turnover rates in past cycles, over 230 of the 435 members in the House will have begun serving following the 2008 election. And when the winners of the 33 U.S. Senate elections are sworn into office next January at least 45 of the 100 Senators will be serving their first term.
The makeup of the 113th Congress will play a critical role in whether the country is able to make any legislative progress. Members will have significant pressure to take on very serious issues like tax reform, reducing the debt and aiding job creation. But if control is split among the parties and there is inability to work with whoever wins the Presidency, expect to see that 13% to stay right where it is, if not go lower.