I laughed so hard that I nearly ran off the road when I heard the results of the latest Public Policy Polling (PPP) national survey on the popularity of our US Congress. The lead was that the 112th Congress’s overall approval rating, already the lowest in history, had dropped to single digits. Now only 9% of Americans still approve of Congress, while 85% disapprove of it. The survey goes on to rate people’s opinion of Congress as compared to a long list of odious contenders for public opinion. If you have already heard about this on the news then you know that ‘We the People’, or at least a statistical representation of ourselves, hold head lice in a significantly higher opinion than we do our legislature.
As I said, I laughed when I first heard about this story. It is a great gag, although, I must quibble with a few findings. I find it hard to believe that The Donald outscored Congress, but I would rate him on a par with cockroaches, so maybe I shouldn’t complain. I think Anne would take exception with the rating for Brussel sprouts, that’s just a matter of taste.
The ratings on the following Daily Kos created chart (used with attribution) indicate the percentage of people who hold that item in a higher opinion than Congress for positive numbers/blue bars. Items people hold in lower opinion than Congress have negative numbers/red bars. It should also be noted that Congress denotes both the House and the Senate.
Congress’s overall approval rating has been a polling question for some time, but I suspect that comparing Congress to a list of items that are generally disliked only serves to elicit the expected outcome. Public Policy is a reputable polling outfit, albeit a left leaning one. It did garner the honor of most accurately predicting last year’s elections of all the polling outfits, Nate Silver’s aggregation aside. Public Policy offered no explanation for this poll in their press release, except for the following brief quote:
“We all know Congress is unpopular,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “But the fact that voters like it even less than cockroaches, lice, and Genghis Khan really shows how far its esteem has fallen with the American public over the last few weeks.”
Winston Churchill once said, “Democracy is the worse form of government, until you compare it with all of the rest.” The PPP survey seems to bear this out. Only beating out Meth labs is Communism and North Korea. Wait, wasn’t Genghis Khan a form of government?