Survey shows Democrats and Republicans agree on Congress

By Newsroom America Staff at 28 Feb 2018

(Newsroom America) -- Democrats and Republicans disapprove of Congress because members are paying attention to the wrong people and groups when casting votes, according to a recently released survey conducted by researchers from Stanford University, in collaboration with The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, and the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Many Americans, regardless of political party, want lawmakers to vote on an issue by paying most attention to the preferences of the entire American public and those of their constituents. Few Americans want lawmakers to pay a lot of attention to elites, donors, political party leaders, or the president.

Americans do not believe that members of Congress are taking into enough account the opinions of the public, instead voting based on the preferences of campaign donors, wealthy Americans, and lobbyists.

"These results illustrate striking agreement between Republicans and Democrats about how they want government leaders to make decisions and how they believe government has gone off the rails," said Jon Krosnick, professor of communication, political science, and psychology at Stanford University and co-director of the study.

Americans agree that Congress has paid little attention to the president when making decisions, both under President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama, and approve.

"We have known for some time that the public is not happy with Congress, and we wanted to explore why, going beyond generic explanations such as, 'they are not getting anything done,' said Trevor Tompson, director of The AP-NORC Center. "Large majorities in both parties report lawmakers should pay attention to the majority of Americans but believe lawmakers actually pay attention to donors and elites. Rare in 2018, both self-identified Republicans and Democrats agree."

Key findings include:

More than 6 in 10 Americans said members of Congress should pay a lot of attention to their constituents and the general public, while only 1 in 10 said they should pay a lot of attention to donors and lobbyists.

However, 6 in 10 adults reported that representatives pay a lot of attention to people who donate money to their campaign, while only 2 in 10 believed that representatives pay such attention to the majority of Americans.

Fifty-eight percent of Americans said members of Congress pay a lot of attention to party leaders, but only 18 percent said representatives should pay such attention to party leaders.

The third of Americans most dissatisfied with the congressional decision-making process are more likely to disapprove of Congress (93 percent) than the third of Americans who are less dissatisfied with the process (72 percent).


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