If it's in the News, it's in our Polls. Public opinion polling since 2003.


Just 28% Say Federal Government Has Consent of Governed

Most voters still feel there’s a disconnect between themselves and Congress, but they appear a bit more confident that members of Congress can outperform the average Joe.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 28% believe the federal government today has the consent of the governed.  But that’s up seven points from this time last year when 21% felt that way.  In the latest survey, 55% say the government does not have the consent of the governed, while 17% are not sure.  (To see survey question wording, click here.)

The founding document of the United States, the Declaration of Independence, states that governments derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Thirty-seven percent (37%) of voters now think a group of people selected at random from the phone book could do a better job addressing the nation’s problems than the current Congress, but 41% disagree. Twenty-two percent (22%) are not sure. 

In October 2008, nearly half (49%) didn’t think a random selection of people could do better than Congress.  But by August 2009, these findings were evenly divided, and in January and May of last year, a plurality of voters trusted a random selection more than Congress.

When the last session of Congress closed its doors in December, just 13% of voters rated its performance as good or excellent, consistent with its ratings for much of the two years it was in existence.  That number had fallen to 10% less than a month after the new session of Congress began. 

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on February 10-11, 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.

Want to read more?

Become a Rasmussen Reader to read the article

Have an account?

Log In

Become a Reader


Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information.

We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence, we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a daily update newsletter and various media outlets across the country.

Some information, including the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll and commentaries are available for free to the general public. Subscriptions are available for $4.95 a month or 34.95 a year that provide subscribers with exclusive access to more than 20 stories per week on upcoming elections, consumer confidence, and issues that affect us all. For those who are really into the numbers, Platinum Members can review demographic crosstabs and a full history of our data.

To learn more about our methodology, click here.