Pew has the results of a fascinating poll out. They offered respondents a list of factors about a candidate and asked whether it would make them more or less likely to vote for that person. Expressing their broad dissatisfaction, voters reliably said just about everything would make them less likely to vote for a candidate than more likely. (A pox on all their houses!) Those things that were net negatives included this laundry list:
-33% - Voted for TARP
-27% - Supported by Sarah Palin
-14% - Is an incumbent
-11% - Supported by Tea Party
-9% - Supported by Barack Obama
-6% - Has never held office
So you're damned if you're supported by pretty much anyone, damned if you're a newbie, and damned if you're an incumbent. (Interestingly, though voters were almost exactly divided on health care, a one-point plurality said voting for it was a net positive.)
But it's that incumbent number to which I really want to draw your attention. It confirms everything we know, right? Just a terrible time for office holders. Ah, but wait! There was one overwhelmingly positive characteristic a candidate can have coming into this election. Care to guess? I'll put it below the jump so you can ruminate on it for a moment.
You figured it out, right? Candidates with a record of bringing government projects and money to the home district enjoyed a massive, 42% favorable rating. Pork, schmork--we elected you to bring home the bacon, man!
(Psst, incumbent Dems, take note.)