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Poll: Vote Congress Out, But Trust Congress Over Obama

July 26, 2013 by  

Poll: Vote Congress Out, But Trust Congress Over Obama

If there’s anything to the results of a new voter poll, the 2014 midterm elections will see the entirety of today’s House of Representatives, along with every Senator who’s up for re-election, kicked out of office.

A nationwide poll conducted by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal shows 57 percent of Americans would choose to throw the “bums” out, including their own elected representatives.

A staggering 83 percent of respondents said they aren’t satisfied with the job Congress is doing. That’s far fewer than those who’ve tired of President Barack Obama, whose numbers — 50 percent disapprove; 45 percent approve — still continue to reflect a steady decline from a high of 53 percent approval in December.

The poll asked voters a follow-up question:

If there were a place on your ballot that allowed you to vote to defeat and replace every single member of Congress, including your own representative, would you do this, or not?

And 57 percent said “yes.” That’s the highest number of dissatisfied respondents the poll has seen over the course of seven iterations since March of 2010.

Of course, that’s not going to happen. Voters have demonstrated that they are often willing to break with personal ideology in order to return to Washington a local representative who’s amassed some clout that benefits their own districts, while simultaneously begrudging Congressmen with similar views who hail from other districts and other States.

But Americans’ disgust with partisan gridlock in Congress is far and away the biggest reason people say they’re disappointed with Washington politics. Asked to rank eight reasons for their dissatisfaction in order from most to least important, 44 percent ranked Congressional ineffectiveness either first or second. By contrast, cuts to programs “that help the poor” were ranked among the top two reasons by only 20 percent.

As a strange statistic shows, people may be fed up with Congress as a whole, but they still — at least in theory — would rather Congress take the lead in setting national policy than allow the President to do it. Of those surveyed, 48 percent said Congress should set the tone on shaping policies, while only 38 percent said Obama should continue to take point. And of those who prefer Congress over Obama, an overwhelming majority said they want the House Republican majority to lead the way, rather than the Democratic majority in the Senate.

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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