January 10, 2012

Public Sees Members of Congress, Not the System, as the Problem

55%

In assessing Congress, 55% of the public thinks that the political system can work well, but that it’s the members that are the problem.

One of the few areas of bipartisan agreement when it comes to views of Congress is that the problem with the institution is the members themselves, not the political system. In assessing Congress, 55% of the public says they think the system can work fine, but that it’s the members that are the problem. Nearly six-in-ten (58%) Republicans, 56% of Democrats and 53% of independents share this sentiment.

Just 32% of people say they think most members have good intentions but that the political system itself is broken. The balance of opinion is virtually identical across party lines.

About half of those surveyed said the current Congress has accomplished less than previous ones. Just 8% of people think it has accomplished more and 37% say it has accomplished about the same.

These findings come from a survey conducted Dec. 7 through Dec. 11 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. Read More