Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pew: GOP Base Critical of Party’s Washington Leadership

Public discontent with Congress has reached record levels, and the implications for incumbents in next year's elections could be stark, according to the the latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Dec. 7-11.

Two-in-three voters say most members of Congress should be voted out of office in 2012 - the highest on record.

And the number who say their own member should be replaced matches the all-time high recorded in 2010, when fully 58 members of Congress lost reelection bids - the most in any election since 1948.

The Republican Party is taking more of the blame than the Democrats for a do-nothing Congress.

A record-high 50% say that the current Congress has accomplished less than other recent Congresses, and by nearly two-to-one (40% to 23%) more blame Republican leaders than Democratic leaders for this.

By wide margins, the GOP is seen as the party that is more extreme in its positions, less willing to work with the other side to get things done, and less honest and ethical in the way it governs.

And for the first time in over two years, the Democratic Party has gained the edge as the party better able to manage the federal government.

The poll also found that when asked directly about the belief that sparked the 99 Percent Movement — that the rich have too much power and influence in this country — Americans of all political stripes largely agree.

Wide majorities of Democrats, independents, and even Republicans, in fact, think the rich are too powerful, and a majority also thinks our economic system unfairly favors the wealthy, as the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent highlighted:

Roughly three-quarters of the public (77%) say that they think there is too much power in the hands of a few rich people and large corporations in the United States. In a 1941 Gallup poll, six-in-ten (60%) Americans expressed this view. About nine-in-ten (91%) Democrats and eight-in-ten (80%) of independents assert that power is too concentrated among the rich and large corporations, but this view is shared by a much narrower majority (53%) of Republicans.

Reflecting a parallel sentiment, 61% of Americans now say the economic system in this country unfairly favors the wealthy and just 36% say the system is generally fair to most Americans. About three-quarters (76%) of Democrats and 61% of independents say the economic system is tilted in favor of the wealthy; a majority (58%) of Republicans say that the system is generally fair to most Americans.

In addition, Americans also have a skeptical view of Wall Street. A slim majority — 51 percent — thinks Wall Street hurts the economy more than it helps, including 60 percent of Democrats and 54 percent of independents. Just 36 percent think Wall Street helps more than it hurts.

Read the full report for more details.

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