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55% Say Congress More Responsive to Media Than to Voters

Monday, July 24, 2017

Most voters think Congress doesn’t listen to them and is more interested in making the media happy.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 55% of Likely U.S. Voters believe what the media thinks matters more to the average member of Congress than what voters think. Still, that’s an improvement from 62% who felt that way in October 2009 during President Obama’s first year in office.  Just 30% say the average member cares more what voters think. Fifteen percent (15%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

But then only 21% feel that most members of Congress care what their constituents think. This, too, is a slight improvement from the last time Rasmussen Reports asked this question two years ago.  Nearly three times as many (62%), however, say most in Congress don’t care what their voters think, while 16% are not sure.

More (31%) do believe that their own representative in Congress cares what they think. Fifty-one percent (51%) disagree and say even their own elected representative doesn’t care what’s on their minds. Seventeen percent (17%) are undecided.

Generally speaking, these findings are in line with regular surveys going back to 2010.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on July 20 & 23, 2017 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Forty-four percent (44%) of all voters believe most reporters are trying to block President Trump from passing his agenda.  By comparison, 48% said most reporters were trying to help President Obama pass his agenda in 2010.

Republicans traditionally are more suspicious of the media than Democrats are, and that’s clear again in the latest survey. While 62% of GOP voters and 60% of voters not affiliated with either major political party think the average member of Congress cares more about what the media thinks, only 45% of Democrats agree.

But most Democrats (54%) agree with the majority of Republicans (65%) and unaffiliateds (69%) that most members of Congress don’t care what their constituents think. All three groups are a little less critical of their own representatives in Congress but still tend to doubt they are listening.

Voters under 40 are nearly twice as likely as their elders to believe most members of Congress do care what their voters think.

Seventy-three percent (73%) of voters who Strongly Approve of how Trump is doing as president say the average member of Congress cares more about what the media thinks than what voters think. Among those who Strongly Disapprove of the president’s job performance, just 43% feel the average congressman is more interested in pleasing the media.

Two-thirds (66%) of all voters think the news media have too much power and influence over elections.

Just 15% give Congress positive marks for its job performance.  Most voters also have an unfavorable opinion of the top congressional leaders of both major parties.

Fifty-one percent (51%) say the average Republican in Congress is more conservative than they are, while 54% believe the average congressional Democrat is more liberal than they are.

A plurality (44%) of voters also continues to believe the average reporter is more liberal than they are.  Just 17% say that reporter is more conservative, while 24% think the average reporter is about the same as they are ideologically. These perceptions have changed little over the years.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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