While the nation remains bitterly divided on partisan issues, 75 percent of us all agree on one thing — the people have no influence in Washington.
A new survey from the Associated Press-NORC (National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago) Center for Public Affairs Research shows that a wide consensus of American citizens have no confidence in Washington politicians and various institutions, like Wall Street, large corporations, and beltway lobbyists.
According to the AP, the poll itself was conducted between June 8 and June 11 of this year, and 1,068 adults were surveyed using NORC’s Amerispeak panel, which selects a sample meant to be representative of the entire U.S. population. Adults surveyed were asked whether certain groups had either too much or too little influence in government. For nearly all questions, a vast majority of respondents agreed that each group in the survey had either far too much influence or far too little influence in Washington.
Trump supporter James Pavelka — a 60-year-old man from Hobart, Indiana — told the AP that he felt betrayed by Trump’s picks for his presidential cabinet, given his populist campaign rhetoric.
“[Trump] said he was going to restore the middle class, and I thought he would pick really good people who would do that. But the people he picked seem to be not in touch with the middle class,” Pavelka said. “During the campaign, he said, ‘I’m for the little guy.’ People were angry and he fed on that and he knew how to do that.”
During a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa last month, President Trump appeared to have entirely forgotten his populist talk on the campaign trail. Trump touted his hires of billionaire Wilbur Ross as Secretary of Commerce and Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn as his top economic adviser, saying he didn’t want “a poor person” in charge of making decisions affecting the economy.
“That’s the kind of thinking we want, really,” Trump said. “And you get the president, this is the president of Goldman Sachs. Smart… He went from massive paydays to peanuts… I love all people. Rich or poor. But in those particular positions, I just don’t want a poor person.”
Here's the video.
Trump on wealthy cabinet picks: "In those particular positions, I just don't want a poor person." https://t.co/AwPPgYPkUZ
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 22, 2017
Among the groups said to have too much influence were wealthy individuals (82 percent of respondents), large businesses (69 percent of respondents), political lobbyists (65 percent of respondents), Wall Street (59 percent of respondents), and the news media (47 percent of respondents). Conversely, 76 percent of the survey’s participants agreed that poor people had too little influence in government. 75 percent of respondents agreed that “people like you” didn’t have enough influence with lawmakers. 69 percent agreed that “working people” didn’t hold enough sway with Congress, along with 65 percent of adults who believed that the interests of small business weren’t adequately represented in Washington.
View the full chart of results below, courtesy of the AP:
Jordan Shaw is a New Jersey-based writer and commentator specializing in national and state government issues for Grit Post. When he’s not writing, you can find him volunteering in Camden, New Jersey, or hiking the Wissahickon Valley Park.