Congress: Less Popular Than Root Canals, Cockroaches, and Nickelback

Kate Hicks

1/8/2013 1:02:00 PM - Kate Hicks

Congress has a bad reputation for a unique ability to fail the people in potentially life-altering ways (see: fiscal cliff, healthcare, just about any task more arduous than naming a post office). But just how much disdain do Americans have for their legislative branch?

In addition to finding its current approval rating – which sits at a paltry 9% – Public Policy Polling sought to compare it to some of the least popular things imaginable, illustrating just how low Congress has sunk in the eyes of its constituents. According to the survey, Americans prefer colonoscopies, the NFL replacement refs, and even Nickelback – arguably the most reviled band in the country – to Congress. There is some good news, however: Congress is seen more favorably than ebola, meth labs, and the Kardashian clan. More matchups:

When asked if they have a higher opinion of either Congress or a series of unpleasant or disliked things, voters said they had a higher opinion of root canals (32 for Congress and 56 for the dental procedure), NFL replacement refs (29-56), head lice (19-67), the rock band Nickelback (32-39), colonoscopies (31-58), Washington DC political pundits (34-37), carnies (31-39), traffic jams (34-56), cockroaches (43-45), Donald Trump (42-44), France (37-46), Genghis Khan (37-41), used-car salesmen (32-57), and Brussels sprouts (23-69) than Congress.

Congress did manage to beat out telemarketers (45-35), John Edwards (45-29), the Kardashians (49-36), lobbyists (48-30), North Korea (61-26), the ebola virus (53-25), Lindsay Lohan (45-41), Fidel Castro (54-32), playground bullies (43-38), meth labs (60-21), communism (57-23), and gonorrhea (53-28).

(H/t TPM)

On a more serious note, however, Gallup also released a poll revealing that an overwhelming majority of Americans believe politics is severely hurting the country. Given the highly-publicized spats over the fiscal cliff, it’s unsurprising that most people have little faith in the government to adequately handle the crises America faces. And it’s not just those on the Right who feel this way:

Of those surveyed, 77 percent said the way politics works is causing the nation serious harm, versus just 19 percent who say the effects were not serious. Republicans were most pessimistic, with 87 percent arguing federal politics was damaging the country. But support for the sentiment was broad — 79 percent of independents and 68 percent of Democrats responded in the same way.

"The finding that most Americans think politics are hurting the country fits with a number of additional measures showing that Americans hold the federal government in general and Congress in particular — the main instruments of how American politics work — in low regard," said Gallup's Frank Newport in a release.

It could be worse, though, at least if we take the American people’s preferences into account: the Kardashians could be in charge.