One needs to take polls from Rasmussen with a smidge of salt, since Rasmussen is the preferred pollster for the right wing. But the way to goose survey results is to ask questions that are leading, but “leading” can be done in very subtle ways. For instance, saying “What do you think of the job Obama is doing” will elicit lower approval scores than “What do you think of the job Obama is doing as President?” The addition of “as President” enhances his stature and emphasizes the difficulty of the role.
If you read the Rasmussen survey instrument, the money question comes after two questions which imply strong skepticism of government. Nevertheless, Rasmussen has been conducting this sort of poll over time, so changes in sentiment are still germane. Pollster Pat Caddell said via-email “unprecedented…pre-revolutionary.” The poll was taken August 1-2, before the US debt downgrade. The results:
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 17% of Likely U.S. Voters think the federal government today has the consent of the governed. Sixty-nine percent (69%) believe the government does not have that consent. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided.
The number of voters who feel the government has the consent of the governed – a foundational principle, contained in the Declaration of Independence – is down from 23% in early May and has fallen to its lowest level measured yet.
Perhaps it’s no surprise voters feel this way since only eight percent (8%) believe the average member of Congress listens to his or her constituents more than to their party leaders. That, too, is the lowest level measured to date. Eighty-four percent (84%) think the average congressman listens to party leaders more than the voters they represent.
Voter approval of the job Congress is doing has fallen to a new low – for the second month in a row. Only six percent (6%) now rate Congress’ performance as good or excellent.
One intriguing finding in another recent is how much voters disapprove of their own Congressmen:
Most voters still lack confidence even in their own local Congress member . Given a choice between keeping the entire Congress or picking a new one and starting over, most voters want to dump all the incumbents.
In that survey, the question about their local representative was worded in a pretty neutral manner and came first. And this is significant because voters often say they hate Congress generally but like their own representatives.
Caddell has often highlighted another finding: the yawning gap between the perceptions of the political elite and the rest of the country:
Fifty-five percent (55%) of the Political Class , on the other hand, feel the government does have the consent of the governed. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of Mainstream voters disagree.
Most voters across the demographic board believe the average congressman listens to their party leaders more than the people they represent.
Those voters apparently didn’t need to read Tom Ferguson explain how the pay to play system increases the control of party leaders; they can see the results themselves. What a concept, that the public can actually figure out that it is being sold out by its elected officials.