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Just 23% Say Federal Government Has Consent of the Governed

Friday, May 13, 2011

Most voters nationwide continue to feel disconnected from their government and overwhelmingly believe that Congress puts party politics ahead of its constituents' concerns.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Voters shows that only 23% believe the federal government today has the consent of the governed. Sixty percent (60%) do not think this is the case, while another 17% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

These views have changed little since Rasmussen Reports first began asking about this foundational U.S. principle in July 2008.

The Political Class, however, strongly disagrees.  Seventy-nine percent (79%) of those in the Political Class believe the government does have the consent of the governed. Seventy-five percent (75%) of Mainstream voters don't share that view.

The latter finding is perhaps not surprising given that only 11% of all voters believe the average member of Congress listens to his or her constituents more than their party leaders. That's the lowest level of confidence measured in the past two years. Eighty percent (80%) believe most congressmen listen to their party leaders more than the voters they represent.

Just 17% believe most congressmen get reelected because of the good job they do representing their constituents. Fifty-three percent (53%) think they're reelected because election rules are rigged to benefit incumbents.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on May 9-10, 2011 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.

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