Root canals, head lice, cockroaches, Donald Trump, Ghengis Khan, Nickelback--they're all terrible things, but in the eyes of Americans, none of those things is worse than the United States Congress. People really disapprove of our nation's elected leaders, according to the most creative poll in recent memory, which was released today.
The folks at Public Policy Polling, a well-respected public opinion tracker, have long known that Congress is not viewed favorably, explained Dustin Ingalls, assistant to the director at PPP. This was a lighthearted attempt to put it in perspective.
"The whole fiscal cliff brouhaha sort of drove home how unpopular Congress was, at least anecdotally," Ingalls said. "So we decided to test Congress against these things we thought would be unpopular as well, and see what voters would think was better--unpopular things which no one seems to like, and Congress, which also no one seems to like."
Staffers at PPP thought of some things they personally found distasteful, and director Tom Jensen put out a request through Twitter. So it was not necessarily scientific, but still--the group was flooded with creative suggestions for universally detested things with which to contrast our Senate and House of Representatives. Then the team narrowed down the list to 26 things, from the Kardashians to colonoscopies.
The poll asked 830 registered voters whether they have favorable or unfavorable opinions of Congress. Just 9 percent of the electorate has a positive opinion, and 85 percent disapprove. Then the following questions asked voters which was better, Congress or another loathsome thing.
For his part, Ingalls said he was particularly intrigued by how well the NFL's replacement referees fared against our 535 national officeholders. The refs and their mistakes, as you recall, elicited passionate vitriol from local bars all the way to the White House.
"They got so much flak, but apparently they were far more popular than Congress," Ingalls said bemusedly. Replacement refs 56, Congress 29.
Not everything on Earth is worse than those we have chosen to represent us, however. Congress fared better than telemarketers; meth labs; playground bullies; ebola and gonorrhea; Lindsay Lohan and the Kardashians; Fidel Castro, North Korea and communism generally; and apparently the worst former member of Congress himself, John Edwards.
You can read the full list on PPP's blog.
As for the result? It probably won't mean much, Ingalls admitted. "I don't know how seriously anyone in Congress is going to take this," he said. "But it's certainly time for reflection, I'd say."
Nickelback is AWESOME!
It's not Congress that we hate. We hate what our country has become, BECAUSE of Congress.
"Motivation and dedication are the tools that drive the engine of excellence" - Me
Robot, haha. Anyone remember a speech Obama gave about a year or so ago where he talked about streamlining Congress and a few other key changes to the government? Nobody ever does, but he's got the right idea!
It such a knee-jerk feeling to say or think our government leaders are all screwed up; slander just comes out easy.
But the reality is these government leaders are highly educated people and the length of this delay, causes me to think they actually want something to fail and cause perhaps a new type of economic system or governmental system. I am suspicious of the whole situation, simply because these people are NOT idiots and much as we like to believe or say they are.
I am very much always for our USA government as the system is written down. I am just so disappointed with the current lack of leadership or the direction they are taking our country.
Robot, I believe you hit the nail on the head. Congress didn't want to fix the tax hike because they want the money. We are in so much debt that without the hike we'd never see the surface again, but they know that if they raise taxes intentionally it looks bad, so they play the blame game. Keep Americans fighting amongst themselves over party affiliations just like rooting for their favorite football teams.
And I agree, they may have other motives as well. As you said, they aren't stupid.
Congress' approval rating is lower than it's ever been since we started measuring...
Yet in November, the people re-elected 85% of congressional incumbents.
Is the public education system in America THAT bad?
Well, the education system isn't the same across the entire United States. If every person in the U.S. got a really great education, perhaps things might be a bit different...but that isn't the case. Each state is different, so you're stuck with a bunch of stupid people who keep breeding.
I guess it was Congress' blunder to wait 'till the last minute that turned some people off. That's my job! I'm supposed to be the one thats lazy and wait until the last minute to write a report.
More like the inability to agree swiftly for the good of many.
I reject your reality, and substitute my own.
No worries (sarcasm), it is written into the legal system that without a vote, all of congress does get automatic pay increases, great retirement and a wonderful medical package!
It's completely understandable that most Americans think poorly of our Congress members. Think about some of the recent members of the US Senate: Sen. Obama, Sen. Clinton, Sen. Kerry, Sen. Edwards, Sen. Biden, Sen. Gore, etc. It gives me the creeps just thinking about them having authority over how we live our lives.
On fixing (or not fixing) the looming financial crisis;
“We all know what to do, we just don’t know how to get re-elected after we have done it.”
--Jean-Claude Junker, prime minister of Luxembourg