• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

75% Of Americans Say All Politicians Are Corrupt

United States Capitol Building, Washington, D.C. Aerial

The level of public cynicism about our institutions of government seems to be rising yet again:

Americans don’t paint a pretty picture of their public servants in the new national Reason-Rupe poll. Americans tell Reason-Rupe that 75 percent of all politicians are “corrupted” by campaign donations and lobbyists.  And they say 70 percent of politicians use their political power to help their friends and hurt their enemies.

No wonder just 17 percent approve of the job Congress is doing.  Or that President Obama’s approval rating is just 43 percent, with 51 percent disapproving.

And while the Supreme Court just struck down limits on campaign contributions to federal candidates, the new Reason-Rupe poll finds Americans are actually more concerned about how elected officials misuse their power and taxpayer money once they’re in office than they are worried about campaign contributions.

Asked, which is a “more serious” problem — “special interest groups spending private money on campaigns to elect the politicians they favor” or “elected officials enacting policies and spending taxpayer money that benefit the special interests they favor” — 63 percent of Americans said officials enacting policies and spending taxpayer money for special interests was a more serious problem.

Similarly, Americans say they are “more bothered” by politicians abusing political power than they are by some of the personal issues most often associated with political downfalls.  Seventy percent of Americans say they would be “most bothered” by a politician who used his or her political power to bully someone, while 14 percent would be most bothered by a politician using drugs, and 11 percent would be most bothered by a politician who cheated on his/her spouse.

Given what we see coming out of Washington and our state capitals on a regular basis, I can’t say I blame people for thinking like this.

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. C. Clavin says:

    I dare say that the American people use a far more accurate definition of “corrupt” than Roberts and his Koch-franchise cronies did in yesterdays ruling.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  2. mantis says:

    I’m sure unlimited secret contributions to political campaigns will fix this.

    Asked, which is a “more serious” problem — “special interest groups spending private money on campaigns to elect the politicians they favor” or “elected officials enacting policies and spending taxpayer money that benefit the special interests they favor” — 63 percent of Americans said officials enacting policies and spending taxpayer money for special interests was a more serious problem.

    What a stupid question. Which is worse, the cause or the effect?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  3. wr says:

    And yet, five of the daintiest little flowers in the world would clutch their little pearls and faint dead away if anyone suggested that Americans would see the shoveling of millions of dollars to politicians as “corruption.”

    My God, the contempt Roberts and the rest of them have for the American people is astonishing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  4. Tillman says:

    I would’ve said the former on that question since “special interests” include groups I support the aims of, like the ACLU and the Sierra Club. Special interests aren’t the problem in general; it’s the kind of election money they can use as a carrot to lure a politician to vote the way they want.

    Seventy percent of Americans say they would be “most bothered” by a politician who used his or her political power to bully someone, while 14 percent would be most bothered by a politician using drugs, and 11 percent would be most bothered by a politician who cheated on his/her spouse.

    Ah, some polling vindication for my comments in the Sanford political redemption thread.

    Finally, duh all politicians are corrupt. It’s the amount of corruption that matters. Need some room for honest graft.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  5. Pinky says:

    I have no reason to disbelieve these results, but I’ve never heard of Reason-Rupe polling.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  6. stonetools says:

    Asked, which is a “more serious” problem — “special interest groups spending private money on campaigns to elect the politicians they favor” or “elected officials enacting policies and spending taxpayer money that benefit the special interests they favor” — 63 percent of Americans said officials enacting policies and spending taxpayer money for special interests was a more serious problem.

    Aren’t they two sides of the same coin? Special interest groups use their unlimited campaign contributions to elect the politicians that they think will do their bidding; then when those politicians are elected-they do the bidding of their paymasters.
    I’m amazed that Doug doesn’t see the connection between the two-until I remember that Doug is a libertarian who sees campaign contributions as speech, not as investments for which a return is expected-which is how contributors see it. I would like him to rethink this misguided notion, but I fear that there is none so blind as will not see.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  7. Pinky says:

    @stonetools: Doug didn’t write the survey, just the article.

    It does seem like a “which is worse, quid or quo” question, though.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  8. wr says:

    @stonetools: ” I would like him to rethink this misguided notion, but I fear that there is none so blind as will not see.”

    The hierarchy actually goes:

    1) People who are physically blind.

    2) People who will not see.

    3) Libertarians.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  9. James Pearce says:

    When I got the call a few weeks ago*, I was peeved because I had dripped spaghetti all over my shirt, so I said, Yeah…politicians are corrupt as hell.

    Now that I’ve had a few weeks to think about it, I think I wish that politicians were even more corrupt. Ah, wouldn’t it be nice to drop an envelope under your congressman’s door and find nothing but green lights on the way to work the next morning? Forget McCutcheon and no caps for the PAC. I want to pay the dude directly. And get my money’s worth.

    * I did not actually participate in the survey, but I bet the guy who did dripped spaghetti on his shirt.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  10. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    Gee I dunno, this seem like a story in the vein of “General Franco is still dead.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  11. Dave Schuler says:

    That it’s not 100% proves that Lincoln was right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0